Rabat - Amnesty International on Thursday called on Morocco to implement as soon as possible the latest recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on policy and penal reforms in the country.
"Amnesty International welcomes the concluding observations of the UN Human Rights Committee issued on 4 November," it said in a statement.
It urged Morocco to "promptly implement its recommendations through policy and legal reforms, particularly in the context of the current reform of the penal code and the code of criminal procedure".
In its latest report, the UN Human Rights Committee welcomed certain positive aspects in recent years, such as reforms to the judiciary, but it also raised concerns.
Among them was the rejection of NGO registration applications and efforts to curb the activities and freedom of movement of "rights defenders", notably in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony Morocco has controlled since 1975.
The UN committee voiced regret at limited progress made on the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, as well as reports Morocco was not taking all necessary measures to consult them on the exploitation of natural resources.
On the fight against terrorism, the committee expressed concern at what it said was the broad and vague definition of terrorism-related offences in the penal code and its proposed reforms.
It acknowledged Morocco's efforts to end torture but noted persistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, the use of coerced "confessions" as evidence in court, despite this being prohibited.
On freedom of expression, the committee criticised the criminalising of acts perceived to offend Islam, the monarchy and "territorial integrity".
In its statement, Amnesty said it "shares these concerns and had raised cases of journalists charged and prosecuted under such provisions before the committee".
The UN committee also voiced regret over the criminalisation of homosexuality in the kingdom, and related arrests, calling for the repeal of this legislation, and highlighted the prevalence of violence against women.