Rabat Workshop 2007

Media Coverage - Rabat, 18-26 November 2007

NPWJ Press Release:
In the framework of its current program within the MENA region, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), in partnership with its regional partner Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center (KADEM) and in cooperation with the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH) and Freedom House, is organising on 18-27 November 2007 a meeting in Rabat (Morocco) aimed at promoting democratic reform and strengthening the basis for non-state actors' interactions with state bodies by reinforcing their contribution to the democratic process and promoting dialogue with decision- makers.
The event will be aimed at further reinforcing the transfer and learning processes of knowledge and skills concerning democracy transition in the MENA region, with the aim to institutionalise an alliance between civil society organisations, universities and state structures and elaborate democratic transition learning programs, in particular focusing on the issues of transitional justice and nonviolent strategies.
The purpose of the meeting is to offer a venue for exploring non-violent strategies for political dialogue and democratic reform in the MENA region and an opportunity for discussing the establishment of a Transitional Justice Working Group comprised of indigenous human rights organisations. The meeting will also provide a follow-up to the events organised in 2007 by NPWJ in Rabat (March 2007), Doha (May 2007) and Amman (June 2007).
The meeting is funded and supported by the Italian Government, through the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the European Commission and theUnited Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

Kadem Press Release:

At the invitation of Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center, and in partnership with the Arab Institute for Human Rights, No Peace Without Justice, and the Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, a meeting was held in Rabat on 23-24 November 2007, bringing together an elite of Arab human rights activists, researchers, and experts in issues of peaceful settlement of violent conflicts, national reconciliation, Transitional Justice and democratic transition. The meeting brought together participants from Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, Mauritania and Algeria, along with guests from Italy, Australia and Sierra Leone. Participants showed a high sense of confidence and responsibility.
Despite the relative recency of the concept of Transitional Justice, the final quarter of the 20th century witnessed the emergence of significant experiences, including the Moroccan experience which merits to be thoroughly studied, and from which lessons should be drawn.
Participants in the meeting announced the establishment of an Arab working group concerned with the issues of national reconciliation and Transitional Justice within the context of democratic transition; the aim being to meet the needs of many Arab countries which suffer from the effects or persistence of armed conflicts, civil wars, flagrant human rights violations, and democratic transition problems. This in addition to the heritage of old and new colonial hegemony, and the need to provide an additional mechanism that can positively and constructively contribute to programs for establishing peace, healing the wounds of past violations, fighting exclusion and punishment evasion, achieving justice in its transitional and classical forms as a prelude to national reconciliation, and establishing democratic institutions.
Participants in the meeting set the following objectives for the working group :

  • Transferring international expertise, in terms of national reconciliation, Transitional Justice and democratic transition, to the Arab region;
  • Qualifying Arab competent experts in all fields of Transitional Justice;
  • Providing expertise to civil society forces and governments in the Arab countries in terms of strategic planning for national reconciliation processes, using Transitional Justice methods and mechanisms.

Participants in the meeting evoked a number of international and Arab documents to serve as reference documents and broad guidelines. These include the UN General Assembly Resolution on Transitional Justice adopted in 2006, international law on human rights, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998, brought into effect in 2002, and the document adopted by the Conference on Democracy and Reform in the Arab World held in Doha in May 2007.
In the Rabat Declaration, participants stressed that the conditional connection between the issues of sustainable national reconciliation and of democratic transition requires that civil society forces and governments in the Arab region deal with human rights violations from a comprehensive, non-partial perspective. They also stressed that their initiative would be placed at the disposal of governmental and non-governmental actors.
Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center announced its determination to draw, in cooperation with its partners, the final list of the working group members, to formulate its detailed work strategy, and to convene a second meeting in the closest future.