The Drama, Diversity and Development project is supporting four advocacy projects to address minorities and their rights in the MENA region. One of these projects focuses on Amazighs’ position in the Moroccan society in light of the international human rights conventions. The project, which started in December 2015 and was completed in July 2016, was implemented by the Fédération Nationale des Associations Amazighes au Maroc (FNAA). One of the main objectives of the project was campaigning for the full official recognition of article 5 of the new constitution in Moroccan public life, which states that Tamazight is the second official language. The campaign also aimed at raising awareness about the cultural and linguistic diversity in Morocco, through focused sub-campaigns that reach the Moroccan society, the public institutions, the government, national institutions for Human Rights (CNDH, DIDH), the press and civil society actors. The overarching goal of the campaign was to mobilize these political forces to facilitate the recognition of the rights of Amazigh people and increase the pressure on the Moroccan government in this regard.
As the report of the project has emphasized, the Tamazight language has been marginalized and distanced from any political representation or power since the independence of Morocco and the creation of a modern state. Despite the official recognition of the Tamazight language as an official one in 2011, Arabic happens to be the only language of instruction, education and administration in Morocco. This clearly dismisses the fact that Tamazight is spoken by millions of Moroccans in everyday life. Moreover, the report indicates that the situation of the Amazigh people hasn’t witnessed any major improvements since the recognition of Tamazight as an official language, with the facts on the ground proving quite the opposite. This is demonstrated through the different policies adopted by the Moroccan government and work against an effective recognition of the Tamazight language as an official one. Ahmad Arehmouch, the current president of the FNAA, stated that another obstacle facing the Amazigh population in Morocco is the expropriation by the Moroccan government. The government expropriates Amazigh families using the argument that their property is actually government property, he added.
The actions taken on the ground as part of this advocacy project included: Firstly, organizing a national meeting in December 2015 where 50 Amazigh associations and Human Rights organizations participated in addressing this subject, and submitting the recommendations of the DESC committee to the Moroccan government. Secondly, creating a committee to monitor and articulate an advocacy strategy, which included a memorandum, letters and a protest communique in order to implement the DESC’s recommendations. Thirdly, producing and diffusing thousands of flyers on the DESC’s report. Finally, FNAA staged an event advocating for the rights of the Amazigh people in Morocco. The topic of the event evolved around the situation of Tamazight in Morocco in the light of the recommendations of the committees of international pacts of Human Rights. The event also included speeches by representatives from different international organizations.
This advocacy project worked hand in hand with FNAA’s framework in facilitating a change and putting the needed political pressure on the government, in order to address the issues faced by Amazigh community. By addressing different forms of discrimination and marginalization faced by the Amazigh people, the project contributed to the general Moroccan movement working for the recognition of the rights of the Amazigh people in Morocco. Therefore, creating change on the ground and fighting for a better representation and presence of Tamazight in Moroccan public life. While the situation and the on-going discriminations faced by the Amazigh people have invoked the United Nations to step in, the project still urged for a new recommendation by the UN to bring an actual change on the ground.
To read the full report in Arabic: Campaign for Amazighs’ Cultural Rights in the Moroccan Society in Light of the International Human Rights Conventions AR