Morocco has won the election to head the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), with 30 votes while South Africa obtained 17, the UN body has announced.
Morocco’s ambassador to the UN Omar Zniber could hardly hide his delight at being elected to chair the body.
The seat was devoted to Africa this year.
For the first time in its history, Morocco has taken the presidency of the UN body.
The country expressed the acknowledgement by the international community that the North African kingdom has made remarkable achievements in the field of human rights. It confirmed its commitment and ability to be a model for reconciliation and human rights promotion.
Morocco’s election comes as no surprise as, over the past few decades, the country has undergone phases of human rights consolidation that has helped enshrine its values in Morocco’s political culture and practice.
Far from claiming perfection, Morocco has demonstrated a shining progressive model of human rights on the continent. The country had implemented a major constitutional reform after adopting, in a referendum, a new constitution in 2011. The document enhances protections for fundamental freedoms and giving prominence to the promotion of human rights, with more than 47 articles of the text devoted to the topic.
Equally, steps have been taken to strengthen gender equality and woman’s rights, with the Moroccan monarch, King Mohammed VI, in favour of further empowering Moroccan women in all sectors.
Another topic where Morocco has shown a real commitment to strengthening human rights is on the migration issue. It has put several operations in place to regularise illegal migrants on its soil, thus allowing the migrants to have rights and social advantages. More than 50 000 migrants have been integrated into the socio-economic landscape of Morocco.
The country has launched initiatives to combat and eradicate torture, and made an effort to improve conditions in prisons, which the UN has acknowledged.
All the achievements and others reflect Morocco’s commitment to advance human rights in all its political and social policies.
The score it obtained in the voting process shows that the trust and credibility inspired by Morocco’s external action, especially in Africa, another area where the king is involved, as well as on the international stage and in the multilateral system. The country, is widely recognised as a constructive actor on key subjects, among them interfaith dialogue, tolerance and the fight against racial hatred, the right to a sustainable environment, migrants’ rights and the impact of new technologies.
Morocco was able to crown its achievements in human rights by winning the election for the presidency of the UN’s Human Rights Council through dynamic activism and a steadfast will to showcase its model of human rights development.