By Dimittrovova Bohdana, Center for European Policy Studies, 2009
To much acclaim, Morocco enshrined the rights of civil society organizations (CSO) in the 1992 Constitution, seen as the basis of modernization and democracy. Yet restrictions on public discourse on sensitive topics such as Western Sahara, Islam and the authority of the king hamper a healthy debate. State funding for governmental NGO’s (GONGO’s) is sowing distrust within the society towards all CSO’s. The author questions whether the right to accept foreign funds enshrined in the 2002 legislation really represents the change promised by the monarchy. The author acknowledges that great strides have been made with regards to human rights especially women rights (moudawana), despite its slow implementation. She further argues that advancing women’s right should be done in the context of religion to avoid losing the majority of women who are religious. Nonetheless, the author calls on the EU and the US to be more consistent in their support for Morocco’s human rights agenda.
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