“Reflections on the health emergency in Morocco”
Written by Professor Amina Radwane
Researcher in legal sciences
The Moroccan constitution conferred to the Parliament the right to exercise legislative power, it gave it the right to vote on laws, monitor the work of the government, and establish public policies. However, the government is authorized to take within a limited period of time, and for a specific purpose according to decrees, measures that (the law usually specializes to take), and these decrees are effective upon their publication, and they must be presented to Parliament with the intention of ratification, at the end of the period specified by the law to authorize their issuance. And the (permission law) is abolished if one or both houses of Parliament is dissolved.
The government can issue decrees during the inter-sessional period, and in agreement with the committees concerned with the matter in both houses, and it must be presented with the intention of approval by Parliament, during its next regular session .
In this regard, the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Abdelwafi Laftit, announced the state of health emergency in Morocco, as approved by the Extraordinary Governmental Council on Sunday, March 22nd 2020.
The Moroccan legislator has organized the health emergency according to:
– Decree-Law No. 2.20.292 issued on 28 Rajab 1441 (March 23, 2020) related to the enactment of provisions related to the state of health emergency and the procedures for announcing it,
– Decree No. 2.20.293 issued on 29 Rajab 1441 (March 24, 2020) declaring a state of health emergency in all parts of the national territory to counter the outbreak of the Covid 19 .
What is meant by a health emergency? What are similar systems that may be mixed up with? What are the procedures that the health emergency law came up with? What are the penalties to be taken against those who violate them?
This is what we will try to approach by dividing this research into two requirements:
- The first requirement: What is a health emergency?
- The second requirement: the provisions contained in the health emergency in Morocco
The first requirement
What is a health emergency
Morocco, like the rest of the world, has declared a state of health emergency due to the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, which doctors and scientists have struggled to find medicine to reduce.
So, what do we mean by a state of health emergency (first paragraph), which may be mixed with similar situations (second paragraph)
what do we mean by a state of health emergency
This is the sixth time in the history of the World Health Organization where it declares a state of health emergency due to the outbreak of the Corona virus, and the aforementioned organization made this decision after the meeting of the emergency committee, which consists of international experts who provide technical advice to the Director-General of the organization.
A health emergency is defined as: “an exceptional event that poses a threat to the public health of other countries through the spread of the disease between countries, and may require a coordinated international response .
Thus, it is a situation that requires the occurrence of a serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected health situation, and that this event carries public health implications outside the national borders of the affected country, and that it requires immediate international action.
Distinguishing the health emergency from the exceptions and sieges
Chapter 59 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Morocco states the following: “If the national territory is threatened, or if events occur that impede the normal functioning of the constitutional institutions, the king can announce (the state of exception) at back, after consulting both the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, and Chairman of the House of Counselors, President of the Constitutional Court, and directing a speech to the nation; and thereby empowering the King to take the measures imposed by the defense of territorial integrity, and requiring it to return to the earliest deadlines, to the normal functioning of constitutional institutions.
Chapter 74 of the Constitution states that: “A siege can be announced for thirty days, by virtue of a Dahir signed by the Prime Minister . and this period can be extended only by law.”
It is clear through these two chapters that the two exceptions and sieges cases are constitutional prerogatives, in which the Royal Institution exercises exceptional powers that guarantee taking the necessary measures to face every threat to the Kingdom, and Chapter 59 of the Constitution has linked the establishment of the exception state with formal conditions that begin with the King’s consultation with both the Prime Minister and the President The House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Counselors, and the President of the Constitutional Court and addressing the nation, and it ends according to these conditions as well.
There are also objective conditions represented in the announcement of this situation whenever the national territory is threatened, or occurred events that impede the normal functioning of the constitutional institutions. As for the state of siege, the specified time period is shorter than the first case.
So the health emergency remains as an announcement of a health crisis for the affected state as a result of an unexpected serious pandemic, dealing with it requires urgent measures to be taken to fight it, in line with the state’s guarantee for each of its members the right to safety within the framework of respecting the freedoms and fundamental rights guaranteed to everyone as stipulated In Chapter 21 of the Constitution.
What are the provisions that came with the health emergency in Morocco?
The second requirement
the provisions contained in the health emergency in Morocco
Decree-Law No. 2.20.292 issued on 28 Rajab 1441 (March 23, 2020) related to the enactment of provisions related to the state of health emergency and the procedures for announcing it, and Decree No. 2.20.293 issued on 29 Rajab 1441 (March 24 2020) related to declaring a state of Health emergency in all parts of the territory to counter the spread of Corona virus, came with a set of measures imposed by the current circumstances through which the world passes, in order to prevent the Corona pandemic (first paragraph) that the legislator required respecting under the penalty of imposing sanctions against those violating it (second paragraph)
The procedures accompanying the health emergency in Morocco
Through the aforementioned decrees related to the state of health emergency, the procedures accompanying the state of health emergency in Morocco can be summarized as follows:
First: The rule adopted by the Moroccan government to declare a state of health emergency is an exceptional rule, as long as the right to legislate is guaranteed to Parliament in the normal case as stipulated in Chapter 71 of the Constitution, and it is difficult to apply the ordinary legislative rule in light of this exceptional circumstance that requires speed to face The deadly Corona epidemic,
Second: The state of health emergency is imposed on all Moroccan soil due to the threat that the Corona epidemic caries to people’s lives and safety.
Third: A period has been set for the state of health emergency that starts from 03/20/2020 and ends on 04/20/2020 with the possibility of extending it.
Fourth: The measures taken by the government during the health emergency period do not prevent the continuity of vital public facilities and the provision of services to the citizens.
Fifth: Individuals must abide orders and decisions issued by public authorities
Sixth: The Health Emergency Law authorized public authorities to take the following measures: Not leaving the place of residence, Preventing any movement of any person outside his domicile except in the most necessary and strict cases specified in Paragraph B of Article Two of Decree No. 2.20.293 issued on 29 Rajab 1441 (March 24, 2020) relating to declaring a state of health emergency in all parts of the national territory to counter the outbreak of the Corona virus. Preventing gatherings, and meetings unless they are for a professional purpose and preventive measures are taken. Closing shops and any place that receive and gather people.
Seventh: In the event of extreme necessity, the government can take, on an exceptional basis, any economic, social, or environmental procedure of an urgent nature that would contribute directly to facing the negative effects of declaring a state of emergency.
The second paragraph
the penalties for violators of a health emergency
Any legal rule guarantees its proper application and respect by providing injunctive provisions
Thus, Morocco’s health emergency law stipulated a set of penalties for violators of this law, which lie in punishing violators of orders and decisions issued by public authorities by imprisonment from one to three months, and a fine between 300 and 1300 dirhams, or one of these two penalties (without prejudice to the most serious crime.)
Whoever obstructs the implementation of the decisions of the public authorities through violence, threat, fraud, or coercion, is equally punished.
And is also punished anyone who incites others to violate these decisions by speeches, shouting, or threats voiced in public places or meetings, or by written, printed, documents, or photos or tapes sold or distributed or displayed in public places or meetings, or by posters displayed in public view or through the various audio-visual media Other.