Morocco on the Move
By H.E. Mr. Ahmed Bourzaim
Moroccan Ambassador to Seoul
Since his accession to the Throne of Morocco in July 1999, King Mohammed VI embarked his nation smoothly yet firmly, on an unprecedented path of reforms destined to achieve more democratization and modernization. These reforms have been well received and encouraged not only in Morocco, but also by the international community, eager to see a nation in the Middle East and Africa, striving to achieve the status of a modern and democratic state, respecting human rights , including women's rights, to an extent unparalleled in the Arab and Muslim world. Prominent among these reforms and initiatives, the creation of "The Equity and Reconciliation commission" destined to identify past human rights abuses, compensate victims and propose new rules to correct legal loopholes to ensure that these breaches are not repeated in the future. The "National Initiative for Human Development" launched by King Mohammed VI, in his address to the Nation on May 18th 2005 is yet another landmark initiative as it defines a large-scale programme meant to speed up socio-economic development in general and in particular help to reintegrate the most marginalized fringes of society in the production fabric and thus alleviate poverty, a scourge at the heart of international concerns. It also seeks to foster solidarity in order to make up for social shortcomings and fight regional disparities, as well as all forms of exclusion. In addition to these accomplishments, a modern legislation adopted recently has confirmed Morocco's commitment to universally recognized human rights, and has made it possible, in particular, to ensure better protection of the rights of children, women and young people. It concerns, above all, the labour law, the electoral legislation (voting age brought down to 18 years for both men and women), positive discrimination in favour of women through the institution of a national women's list to ensure a minimum 10 percent quota in parliament, and the penal code (enhancing guarantees for equitable legal proceedings, and adopting legislation that penalizes torture). The press code is also to be revised in order to be more inclusive of the changes our new era is witnessing. On the international front, Morocco's posture as a politically stable nation, contributing with deeds not words towards peace and security, especially in the region of the Middle East and Africa, its credibility attained over decades as a loyal partner to friends and allies, have undeniably bestowed upon it an aura of respect rarely noticed in the region. Furthermore, Morocco's strategic location at the crossroads of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, overlooking the Straight of Gibraltar and at a stone throw of the European continent, has secured the country a privileged place at the international power game table. All of these attitudes have determined Morocco's important role in fora such as the Barcelona process, the euro-mediterranean dialogue for peace and cooperation between the countries bordering the Mare Nostrum; it is linked to the European Union by an advanced status of association and it has signed with the United States, one of the very first Free Trade Agreements. An active member of the Organization of Islamic States, founded in Rabat in 1969, of the Arab League and various other regional Organizations, Morocco has demonstrated its willingness to work closely with its partners towards achieving an era of peace and security . Its contributions towards peacekeeping, by committing troops, notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Cote d'Ivoire and in Haiti and peacemaking by mediating conflict resolutions such as in the Manu River Union, are recognized and encouraged by member countries of the United Nations. In our own continent of Africa, Morocco's cooperation and its active solidarity reach are highly regarded and sought for. Suffice it to underline that more than 7,000 students from various African nations are at the present completing their education and training in Moroccan Universities and Institutes. Equally significant, Morocco's expertise and know-how is readily available to many sister countries in need. From food security, to combating desertification and locusts invasion, to cloud seeding and fisheries, Morocco's assistance is as varied as crucial to the development efforts undertaken by local Authorities. It is this vision of fighting poverty, eradicating diseases and uplifting socio-economic conditions that guides Morocco's action in our African continent. It is indeed His Majesty King Mohammed VI's vision of true solidarity, concrete action and total commitment so that our continent can recover past glories and live in dignity among the community of nations. This is the reason why we are grateful to the Korean government and people for their new Korean initiative in favour of Africa and we look forward to a beneficial Moroccan-Korean cooperation in this regard.
|H.E.Mr. Ahmed Bourzaim, Moroccan ambassador to Seoul|
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