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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights and Freedom of Expression in Morocco

Thursday, August 12, 2021 - 2:00pm
Virtual via Zoom Webinar


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a virtual briefing on the current human rights situation in Morocco.

Amid large protests in 2011 and popular uprisings that overthrew governments in other North African countries, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI introduced a new constitution and promised needed reforms. Ten years later, however, civil society and human rights organizations have expressed serious concern about mounting threats to civil liberties.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported that since 2016, Moroccan authorities have arrested and harassed local journalists who covered protests in the northern Rif region, land expropriations, corruption allegations, and other politically sensitive topics—highlighting a pattern of selective criminal prosecutions in apparent retaliation for journalistic work. In recent years, state prosecutors have increasingly charged local journalists with alleged sexual misbehavior or assault, as seen in the convictions of Hajar Raissouni, Afaf Bernani, and Taoufik Bouachrine. Most recently, human rights activists and U.S. officials have expressed concern at the lack of due process for Soulaimane Raissouni and Omar Radi, both prominent journalists who were convicted in July 2021 of seemingly politically motivated sexual assault charges.  Prosecutions of senior editorial staff (including Bouachrine and Raissouni), other legal harassment, and an advertising boycott forced Akhbar al Youm, one of Morocco’s last independent newspapers, to shutter its doors in April 2021.

Moroccan journalists, academics and analysts will provide an update on the human rights situation in the Kingdom and offer recommendations for Congress and the Biden administration.

This virtual briefing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. To attend, please register here. For questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Co-Chair McGovern) or Piero Tozzi (for Co-Chair Smith). For help with registration or technical support, please contact Matt McLaughlin of the TLHRC staff.

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC


Panel I


  • Alexis Arieff, Specialist in African Affairs, Congressional Research Service




    117th Congress