Government withdraws anticipated draft law on mental health from House of Representatives

Government withdraws anticipated draft law on mental health from House of Representatives

The Moroccan Government has withdrawn a draft law from the House of Representatives, related to combating mental disorders and protecting mentally ill or challenged individuals.

According to MoroccoLatestNews sources within the Parliament’s Lower House of Representatives, the executive decided to withdraw the draft law from parliamentary deliberation without explicit or public reasons.

It is expected that this withdrawal will be announced during the plenary session after the opening of the first session of the third legislative year next October, stated the same source.

The legislative text has long been the subject of controversy and repeated discussion, initially introduced by former Minister of Health El Hossein El Ouardi from the Progress and Socialism Party.

The draft law was referred to the Council on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, and was referred to the Social Sectors Committee on Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

Opposition groups have previously criticized the government’s decision to withdraw a number of draft laws without clarifying the rationale behind such decisions, while the government considered that withdrawing laws is consistent with the requirements of the constitution and the law, stressing that when it withdraws a draft law, it does so in order to improve the text and re-consult, discuss and study it.

The mental healthcare draft law stipulates the necessity of protecting the basic rights and individual freedoms of people with mental disorders, specifying the general principles to which the care of these people in the Kingdom’s hospitals must be subject.

The draft law emphasizes the need to respect the human dignity for patients, their private lives, and the confidentiality of information related to their health status, calling for obtaining the prior, frank and free consent of these people for treatment, or, if not possible, the consent of one of their relatives.

In regards to to treatment facilities, the draft law stressed that the treatment of these people must be in an environment that is least restrictive for their enjoyment of their basic rights and freedoms, indicating the need to identify health institutions concerned with the prevention of mental disorders and the treatment of people afflicted with them.

After the draft law called for the rehabilitation and social integration of these patients, it stressed the necessity of stipulating that the aforementioned spaces must have an internal system, and buildings, equipment, and human resources for which regulatory texts will be issued.

The legislative text, which many NGO and civil society institutions had been anticipating eagerly, joins a growing list of draft laws that have been pulled from Parliament after the Government’s decision.


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