« Morocco: negotiating change with the Makhzen » – un nouveau rapport sur le droit d’association au Maroc

La Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) vient du publier un rapport, rédigé par une chercheuse allemande, Kristina Kausch, et intitulé « Morocco: negotiating change with the Makhzen« , rédigé dans le cadre des travaux du Club de Madrid.

Le rapport estime que la réputation de « libéralisme » tout relatif du Maroc par rapport aux autres pays du sud de la Méditerranée est surfaite:

Morocco compares very favourably throughout the region in terms of democratic achievements, and has often been held up as a model of Arab progressive political liberalisation by Moroccan authorities and international observers. Upon closer inspection, however, the picture of Moroccan democratic reform does not appear quite as bright. While King Mohammed VI and the government have implemented a number of very important and valuable reforms, these have remained selective, ad-hoc, and in many cases flawed and superficial. Most importantly, the concentration of all meaningful political power in the palace has remained untouched.

Surprise, surprise, le rapport met en évidence non seulement les failles du dahir de 1958 relatif au droit d’association, mais surtout à sa non-application et aux règles informelles qui continuent d’être appliquées par les autorités – en l’occurence le ministère de l’intérieur, en charge de l’enregistrement des associations:

Firstly, NGOs across the board described a large number of difficulties regarding the process of registration of an association, and its ability to freely develop its activities thereafter. While some of the difficulties were attributed to flaws in the law regulating public liberties, most were said to be rooted in the predominance of informal rules and the lack of practical implementation of legal provisions.

Vient ensuite le manque d’accès aux médias et lieux de rassemblement publics:

Secondly, the limited access of associations to the public sphere, both in terms of public assembly and in terms of access to a wider audience via independent broadcasting media, was harshly criticised. Unnecessary administrative hindrances and informal rules regulating free assembly, the persistent de-facto state control over broadcasting media, and the flawed legal framework for freedom of expression and the press were highlighted in this regard.

L’existence de lois anti-terroristes contestées, qui discriminent indirectement les islamistes et les séparatistes, est mentionnée:

Thirdly, security and anti-terror measures, and in particular the anti-terrorism law adopted in the aftermath of the 2003 Casablanca terrorist bombings, were said to essentially undermine human rights and fundamental liberties, among them freedom of association.The frequent discrimination or exclusion of some constituencies, in particular some Islamist and Saharawi groups, received special mention.

Comme d’habitude, la nullité radicale de la justice marocaine est considérée comme l’obstacle le plus sérieux à des réformes réelles dans le domaine de la liberté d’association:

Fourthly, the lack of independence of the judiciary as a guarantor and safeguard of all codified fundamental liberties was underlined by all interlocutors as an overarching problem, which must be solved before any legal amendments to specific laws can take meaningful effect. Efforts to establish a strong and independent judiciary must therefore be at the forefront of all reforms aimed at strengthening freedom of association.The judiciary, however, cannot be independent without an effective separation of powers in constitution and practice, paired with major efforts to combat the widespread corruption of judges.

On notera la fatuité assez risible de certains responsables marocains, flattés de se comparer favorablement à la Libye, la Tunisie et la Syrie:

According to some high government officials, Morocco’s comparatively advanced democratic reform process, and its modern approach to human development, are the subject of both envy and alarm in some of the less democratic and modern countries in the region, which have criticised Morocco for jeopardising their own internal stability. (…) Asked about the remaining challenges to freedom of association in Morocco, the Minister of the Interior replied he was “not aware of any particular problems”. (pp. 2, 8 )

Commentaire: someone should wake up and smell the coffee – Moroccans certainly do not compare their politics with those of Libya or Tunisia…

L’auteure du rapport en convient:

Especially since 9/11,which focused international attention on the value of democratic governance, foreign actors have seen Morocco as “one of the easy cases” which required comparatively little attention. At the same time, the Moroccan experience has increasingly been held up as a regional model for democratisation, even though political reforms have in fact remained ad-hoc, partly superficial, and have notably failed to establish any accountability of decision-makers vis-à-vis the citizens. (…) While liberalisation under Mohammed VI has partially widened the space for political debate, the mechanisms of democratic governance have hardly been further developed, and popular participation has remained largely superficial.(p. 2)

Elle relève notamment le sempiternel problème de la non-délivrance du recépissé de déclaration d’une association, non-délivrance qui permet aux autorités de court-circuiter le dahir de 1958 en prétendant que le demandeur n’a jamais déposé de déclaration officielle de création d’une association:

In the case that there are no legally founded objections, a definitive receipt must be issued within a maximum of sixty days. Otherwise, after 60 days have expired, the association may freely carry out its activities according to the declared statutes (art. 5). So in theory, if there are no legal grounds for rejection, the association is automatically legally registered. No such automatic legality, however, is provided if the authorities fail to provide the provisional receipt in the first place. In this case, associations remain without proof of having submitted the dossier, and without legal recourse. (…) While the government affirms such irregularities to be the exception rather than the rule, civil society representatives claim the opposite, saying that in the vast majority of cases (estimated at 90 per cent) associations that apply for registration do not get the required receipt upon submission of their dossier. In addition, denials of receipt are often based on grounds of public security, most notably the fight against terrorism, although the anti-terror law adopted after the 2003 Casablanca bombings does not provide any authorisation to do so.19(pp. 4, 9)

Le refus de création sur base idéologique est relevé:

Assessment of a registration dossier by the authorities must have as its sole objective the verification of the formal legality of the declaration. No evaluation on political grounds should take place. While Moroccan association legislation foresees legal assessment only, in practice the administration also revokes the legal status of associations depending on “problematic” activities. According to an official in the Ministry of the Interior, some associations have had their registrations revoked for being “too active or busy”. Again, vague formulations in the law help in justifying such actions. The groups and constituencies most affected by such discrimination are reportedly Islamist and leftist organisations, but also certain Berber and Saharawi groups. (p. 11)

Une fois n’est pas coutume, l’auteure consacre une part substantielle de son rapport au sort fait à al Adl wal ihsan, sans doute l’organisation politique marocaine la plus persécutée des pouvoirs publics à l’eheure actuelle, victime depuis 2006 de rafles et de procès collectifs à répétition, en l’absence cependant de toute violence de sa part:

As the rejection of the group’s status as a legally registered association has never been explicitly confirmed by a court ruling, the group continues to consider itself a legal association. In fact, the organisation was able to keep on developing its activities as usual and without major interference by the authorities until 2000, when the latter initiated measures to inhibit these activities (eg: summer youth camps, which were forbidden by court order). Official discourse by the Moroccan authorities explicitly calls the group an “illegal” and “unrecognised” organisation, and state agents persecute the movement and treat all of its activities (publications, associative activities, assemblies etc.) as illegal. (…) The de-facto illegality of Al Adl Wal Ihsane affects not only the movement’s members but also other organisations, and freedom of association in general, as any link to the group. For example, the participation of a member in an event or activity, almost automatically leads to the suspension of this activity. Human rights activists report cases where a neighbourhood association could not be founded because of a single Justice and Charity member living in the locality; and public roundtables organised by other NGOs being prohibited due to the participation of individuals linked to Al Adl Wal Ihsane. Letters of complaint that human rights associations have sent to the ministry, demanding explanation, received no response.

Une remarque critique sur ce rapport: l’auteure semble confondre la Cour internationale de justice et la Cour pénale internationale, à moins que ce soit ses interlocuteurs marocains (cf. pp. 19-20)…

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