Madam President,
Madam Secretary General of the Conference and United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights,
Distinguished delegates to the World Conference Against Racism,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish first of all to express my deep gratitude for inviting the National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human rights to participate in this World Conference and to take the floor before it.

Although our Council has been elected to chair the International Coordinating Committee of the National Institutions, I am speaking now in my capacity of President of the Human Rights Council of the Kingdom of Morocco.

This Council has now eleven years of existence and has played and is playing a crucial role in the enhancement and protection of human rights in Morocco, from the legislative, implementation and educational viewpoints. Not only all the Council's statements and advices have been approved without any reservations by the late King Hassan 11 and by His Majesty Mohammed VI, but His Majesty has also recently modified the statutes of the Council with a view to extending the Council's competence and the participation of Moroccan civic society in the spirit of the consolidation of the rule of law.

Such modification will undoubtedly enable the Council to play a key role in combating all forms of discrimination.

The Council's main tasks are not only to deal with current issues but also to have a forward looking approach, anticipating problems and solutions in the broad field of human rights, including social, economic and cultural rights as well as children's and women's rights. The goal being to develop and inculcate a culture of human rights.

Our Council has been active at the national and regional level in preparing the participation in this World Conference. We are of course committed to work very hard towards implementing the Plan of Action of the Conference through our role of facilitator and actor on the national scene.

This role is even more facilitated by the fact that Morocco enjoys a long standing and acknowledged situation of tolerance, openness, mutual understanding and respect of cultural diversity. I am not trying to say that we are perfect; there are problems and issues, but their solutions, in the short and the medium term, would be much more difficult if we were not enjoying cultural tolerance and mutual understanding.

The Council, in cooperation with similar National Human Rights Institutions and ombudsmen, and Non Governmental Organisations, is also striving to improve the situation of the Moroccans who have migrated to neighbouring countries, particularly in the European Union member countries, and who are sometimes the victims of xenophobia and discrimination. This is done on the basis of the ratified Human Rights Conventions, but also relying on our collaborative and friendly relationship with the Human Rights National Institutions and NGOs of the countries of immigration.

Finally, within the Mediterranean Basin and among Arab States, the Council is very keen on strengthening its ties of cooperation with a view to combating all kinds of discrimination and enhancing the promotion of human rights.

I thank you.