Human Rights Watch concerned as Morocco blocks meetings of independent rights groups

Human Rights Watch has expressed concern over Morocco blocking the activities of local and international human rights organizations operating in the country.

The statement Friday comes less than three weeks before Morocco is set to host the World Forum on Human Rights.

Morocco's main independent human rights group, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, has long complained about government interference, but it has said the situation worsened in recent months.

Several meetings by group branches around the country were blocked in July, September and October.

Authorities also blocked Amnesty International from holding its annual summer youth camp on Sept. 1.

Human Rights Watch noted the harsher policies date from a speech about terror threats by Interior Minister Mohammed Hassad, who warned rights groups against interfering with security forces.