Ambassador: Morocco Remains Committed to Fight Against Racism

Omar Zniber, Morocco’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva. Photo: Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UNOG/Twitter

Rabat – Morocco is firmly committed to the fight against racism, the country’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva said Thursday during the 45th Session of the Human Rights Council. 

Ambassador Omar Zniber reiterated Morocco’s dedication to the Charter of the United Nations and international conventions related to the fight against racism and discrimination. 

He highlighted, in particular, Morocco’s commitment to the 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. The document calls for a national action plan specifically combatting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

Zniber said the country “has explicitly prohibited, in its national legislation, manifestations of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.” He pointed in particular to the labor code, the penal code, and the press and publishing code, according to Morocco’s state media.

At the regional and international level, demonstrations of Morocco’s active opposition to racism include its hosting of the international seminar on the follow-up to the Rabat Plan of Action, which relates to the prohibition of all “calls to hatred.” 

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Morocco is also set to host the next World Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). The initiative seeks to inspire international action against extremism by forging international, intercultural, and interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

Zniber highlighted the UN’s recognition of Morocco’s anti-discrimination efforts. The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism praised Morocco’s progress in upholding international conventions against racism after visiting the country in December 2018.  

To ensure the efficiency of its international commitments against racism, Morocco has always “strived to [give] Moroccan civil society a role of partner in the promotion of respect for human rights, as well as a monitoring role and monitoring concerning possible violations of these fundamental rights,” Zniber said.

Morocco’s national identity is rooted in diversity and pluralism thanks to its rich historical, cultural, religious, and ethnic heritage, the diplomat underlined. 

King Mohammed VI illuminated his embrace of Morocco’s diversity in the preamble of the revised 2011 Constitution, which states: “A sovereign Muslim State, attached to its national unity and to its territorial integrity, the Kingdom of Morocco intends to preserve, in its plentitude and its diversity, its one and indivisible national identity.”

The preamble continues, “[Morocco’s] unity is forged by the convergence of its Arab-Islamist, Berber and Saharan-Hassanic components, nourished and enriched by its African, Andalusian, Hebraic and Mediterranean influences.”

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Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, similarly brought the country’s attachment to tolerance and pluralism to the forefront during his statement to the Group of Friends of the UNAOC on Tuesday. 

Bourita emphasized that Morocco has always adhered to the values ​​and principles of the UNAOC since its establishment in 2005. This commitment, he said, is rooted in Morocco’s own diverse heritage.

“Here in Morocco, diversity is an identity for the nation, coexistence a way of life,” he said. “The values ​​of openness, moderation, tolerance, and mutual respect between all cultures and civilizations are not a simple slogan, but a principle enshrined in the constitution.” 

Like Zniber, the foreign minister emphasized that Morocco’s plans to host the alliance’s ninth World Forum, in 2020, further illustrate its dedication to principles of tolerance. 

“It will be an unprecedented event. For the first time in the history of the organization, the World Forum will be held on the African continent, on Moroccan soil.”