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Morocco wins presidency of the UN Human Rights Council

Date: 10/01/2024

Morocco has reached a historic milestone. On Wednesday, 10 January, the North African country obtained the Presidency of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN) in Geneva for the period 2024, after the representative of the Moroccan kingdom, Omar Zniber, received 30 votes to South Africa's 17.

  1. Morocco's new position
  2. Western Sahara as a relevant issue

Morocco and South Africa disagreed over the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council until today's decisive vote that gave the Moroccan kingdom the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council. The Council is made up of forty-seven member states, which are elected by the General Assembly for a period of three years, and these countries ended up electing Morocco by a majority to the Presidency.

The African Group, which will assume the Presidency of the Council for the year 2024, proposed the names of the candidates for the position: Ambassador Omar Zniber, Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations in Geneva, and Ambassador Mxolisi Sizo Nkosi, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN. In the end, Omar Zniber received the most votes.

Morocco's new position

The UN Human Rights Council is the only global intergovernmental body that protects human rights worldwide, and this UN body can thoroughly review the human rights record of countries and allow investigations.

The UN Human Rights Council serves to further the promotion and protection of human rights around the world and to address situations of human rights violations and make recommendations and investigations into them.

Morocco now holds the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council, which opens up a very important scenario for the investigation of human rights violations in matters as important to the Moroccan kingdom as the Sahrawi refugees in Algerian territory.

For years, various organisations and analysts have denounced the systematic violation of human rights in relation to the Sahrawi population in the refugee camps located in Algeria, which depend on the Algerian state and the Polisario Front, and now Morocco's new status within the United Nations could influence this situation and the treatment of these cases.

Above all, taking into account that South Africa, which was Morocco's great rival for the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council, is one of the Polisario Front's greatest supporters, as it recognises the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), as does Algeria, and unlike the vast majority of nations in the world that do not recognise the SADR, the entity that the Polisario Front represents, as official.

Morocco's appointment as president of the UN Human Rights Council reinforces the international role of the Moroccan kingdom. In recent years, Morocco has positioned itself diplomatically in a substantial way in the world as a reliable and important partner in addressing various relevant issues such as security and economic development.

Morocco collaborates militarily with major powers such as the United States and various European and African countries in different exercises that promote security in the face of international terrorism and organised crime, especially in the North African and Sahel region. It is also actively involved in major operations to arrest Jihadist terrorists in collaboration with different countries, mainly Spain.

On the other hand, Morocco also offers great economic cooperation as an important focus for receiving investments thanks to the great development that the North African nation is experiencing, and also plays an important role as a gateway to the sub-Saharan African market.

Western Sahara as an important issue

Morocco also enjoys the significant support of many important nations for its proposed solution to the Western Sahara conflict, which involves the establishment of broad autonomy for the Sahrawi territory under Moroccan sovereignty, respecting UN resolutions, with the main objective of developing the area as much as possible in all areas. Recognising in this case the important efforts of the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, in promoting talks between the parties involved to reach an agreed political solution.

The Moroccan proposal has the support of nations such as the United States, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Spain, as well as African and other countries. Meanwhile, the Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, Morocco's great political rival in the Maghreb, and South Africa, advocates holding a referendum on independence for the Sahrawi population, which has less support on the international stage and is difficult to achieve due to issues such as the electoral roll, as various analysts have explained.

Thus, Morocco's assumption of the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council signifies another international recognition for Morocco, which continues to strengthen its diplomatic profile in the world and demonstrates that it has many important political supporters on the international stage.

Source: Atalayar

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