Each year, Morocco celebrates October 29 the national day of the disappeared. October 29 is also the date when Moroccan activist Mehdi Ben Barka mysteriously disappeared in Paris in 1969. Since then, neither public opinion nor his family have known the fate of the activist of the National Union of Popular Forces (UNFP) .
To this end, the follow-up committee for the recommendations of the national symposium on serious human rights violations, requested that a truth committee be created. Since, for him, ” the truth has never been revealed on a number of cases of disappearances of activists, in particular that of the disappearance of Mehdi Ben Barka and Houssine El Manouzi“.
” In 2001, a symposium on serious human rights violations in Morocco was held which produced several recommendations, notably on truth, memory, reforms and forgiveness of the state. At the beginning, the committee was composed of the AMDH, the OMDH, and the truth and justice forum“, Remind Hespress Fr, Abdelilah Benabdesselam, coordinator of the monitoring committee.
The activist continued that the follow-up committee for the recommendations of the national symposium on serious human rights violations was set up to monitor their implementation, and included all components of Moroccan society, including political parties, unions, women’s organizations, youth associations but also the authorities.
” The symposium took place before the creation of the Equity and Reconciliation Authority (IER). It is work that has prepared and contributed, among other things, to the creation of this body. When it was created, we took a position which also implied critical support for recommendations“, He explains.
Today, the committee annually celebrates the National Day of the Missing, created at the start of the 21st century, ” which coincides with the date of disappearance of Mehdi Ben Barka (65 years of disappearance), and the kidnapping also of Houssine El Manouzi who disappeared in Tunis in 1972 (48 years)“.
Regarding the call for the creation of a national truth mechanism, our interlocutor explains that this request comes after the observation that ” several recommendations of the IER did not see the light of day“.
“Apart from the individual compensation received by the victims, no other recommendation has been implemented.“, He advances, recalling that” thn April 2018, we held a conference in Marrakech, where we decided to ask for the creation of a truth committee. Because we consider that the truth has never been revealed on a number of files, in particular that of Ben Barka, El Manouzi and others“.
If, according to the follow-up committee, the recommendations of the IER have not been implemented, what guarantees that the recommendations of the truth mechanism will emerge?
Asked on this point, Abdelilah Benabdesselam, underlines that the committee has a rule which says: ” What is not achieved by struggle, is achieved by more struggle“.
” The IER was born precisely thanks to a whole process of struggle that began in the 90s, through the families of victims of torture and disappearances and militant, societal and even political forces. Today we call for the creation of this truth mechanism to complete truth in all its aspects.“, He explains.
Regarding the commemoration of the national day of the disappeared, our interlocutor emphasizes that the monitoring committee celebrates it every year to remind the State that they will not forget or drop the files of the disappeared for whom they are fighting.
” We will fight until the state takes responsibility and puts an end to this. Because the philosophy on which the equity and reconciliation body is based is the non-reproduction of flagrant violations of human rights, which affect activists, journalists and other people active in the human rights scene.“, Concludes Abdelilah Benabdesselam.