Hazing at Moroccan Schools Stirs Public Debate after Shocking Photos Gone

Rabat – Moroccan political party the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) has brought the issue of hazing or “bizutage” to the Moroccan parliament.On September 27, the party addressed a question to the Moroccan Minister of Education, Said Amzazi, asking him on the measures in place to avoid internal issues at Moroccan schools and institutions, such as “bizutage.”“Some schools and institutes witness celebrations every new school season to welcome new students. However, some of these celebrations exceed the ordinary custom,” PAM wrote in its  note to Amzazi. The party said that such celebrations have become dangerous as they harm students both physically and psychologically.The party also condemned the intentional defamation that comes with hazing.   PAM said posting photos and videos of new students being subjected to bizutage can cause health complications and psychological disorders for these students.PAM Statement on BizutageThe move comes after several photos of students subject to bizutage went viral on social media, stirring public debate.The party concluded its statements with questions, calling on the minister to clarify whether the ministry would put in place measures to face such internal issues at Moroccan schools.The party also asked the minister to give clarifications about the “reality of behavioral violence within Moroccan schools, measures taken to face these problems, and means taken [by the ministry] to provide a healthy environment for students.”Whether the Ministry of Education will answer PAM’s question remains to be seen. The party’s inquiry addresses the concerns and consequences that “bizutage” might cause for students.Hazing Prevention organization  said that “the media is full of stories reporting one of the worst possible consequences of hazing: death.”The organization added there are other consequences with less severe impact than the loss of lives, but said they are still dangerous as they cause students physical, emotional and mental stability.The issue of hazing also might impact on students’ performances at school. Students in this category are often prone to a high, severe stress level, according to reports. read more

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Rapporteur calls for transparent justice system in Sri Lanka

Pinto notes that building a justice system that all sectors of society will trust and be able to rely on to defend and enforce their rights will take time, but it will also take bold steps as a sign of the authorities’ commitment to address the atrocities of the past and above all the structures that allowed these to happen. In the report, Mónica Pinto says Sri Lanka needs to conduct a strict exercise of introspection, so as to improve the independence, quality and credibility of its judiciary, the Attorney-General’s department and police forces.“A significant change in the attitude and sensitivity of many members of the legal professions, in particular the judiciary, towards reforms and human rights will be necessary. Guidance on how to go about strengthening the independence, impartiality and competence of the administration of justice can be found in this report, but also in an important number of international and regional instruments, including the Latimer House Principles on the Three Branches of Government endorsed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2003,” she says. Pinto says while the democratic gains of the last two years must be welcomed, it is important to recognize that much more could and should have been done to manifest a commitment to genuine reform, in particular in the justice sector, and concretizing the creation of meaningful and participatory transitional justice mechanisms.She also notes more tangible reforms are expected and necessary before the country can be considered to be on a stable and sustainable path towards democracy governed by the rule of law.“It is important to accelerate the process of positive change within a comprehensive and inclusive framework otherwise the momentum for such reform could be lost,” she added. The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers says the administration of justice in Sri Lanka deserves to be more transparent, decentralized and democratic.A report by Mónica Pinto, the former Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on her visit to Sri Lanka last year, has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Pinto visited Sri Lanka from 29 April to 7 May 2016, at the invitation of the Government, to assess the situation and remaining challenges concerning the independence of judges, prosecutors and lawyers and the proper administration of justice. The visit was conducted jointly with the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez. She says is it important to remember that justice must not merely be done, but must also be seen to be done. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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