U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez is currently visiting Morocco at the invitation of local authorities at a time the North African country is readying to apply its candidacy for a seat at the UN Human Rights Council.
The international expert started a week-long visit to Morocco on Saturday September 14. The UN official is scheduled to visit prisons and to confer with executives of Morocco-based UN agencies.
He will also meet decision-makers, delegates of human rights organizations and detainees. A network of 18 Moroccan NGOs seized the opportunity of the visit to express concern over the treatment of some prisoners who have reportedly been victim of violence and torture.
The network cited the case of young people who took part in unauthorized demonstrations and who were allegedly unfairly tried and sentenced. Last week, five young demonstrators, member of the February 20 Movement, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from eight to 10 months in prison. The UN rapporteur should check all these allegations during the meetings he is to hold with judicial authorities as well as with the militants and their families.
At the end of his visit, the UN expert is to publish a report assessing Moroccan authorities’ compliance with some international conventions, in particular, the 2006 Protocol against Torture and the UN convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Morocco which has ratified the two UN texts deems that it is respectful of international law. This is why it invited the UN rapporteur to visit the country.