US slams Morocco over its treatment of Amazigh people and their culture

US slams Morocco over its treatment of Amazigh people and their culture
photo:by Mysid, Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Department of State’s 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices has criticised Morocco over its human rights records.

The report, which was released on April 13th and which describes human rights practices of governments in 199 nations, cited numerous violations of human rights in Morocco, particularly discrimination based on ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as violations of civil liberties.

The report has, in its segment on National, Racial and Ethnic Minorities, highlighted the negligence suffered by the predominantly Amazigh regions in Morocco, namely in the Atlas region.

‘Many of the poorest regions in the country, particularly the Middle Atlas region, were predominantly Amazigh and had illiteracy rates as high as 80 percent. Basic governmental services in this mountainous and underdeveloped region were not extensive.’

The report also raised the discriminatory attitude towards the Amazigh language, and the authorities’ remissness in working towards actualising the 2011 constitutional reform which makes Amazigh an official language of the country.

‘Official languages are Arabic and Amazigh, although Arabic predominates. French and Amazigh materials were available in the news media and, to a much lesser extent, educational institutions. Authorities made no progress toward passing a law to implement the constitutional provision making Amazigh an official language.’

The treatment of women was also addressed in the report, which highlighted the disturbing numbers of reported cases of domestic violence against them. It also criticised the penal code concerning rape as perpetuating unequal treatment for women and providing insufficient protection for them.

The penal code criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual relationships and anti-LGBT propaganda in Morocco were also criticised in the report, and a reference was made to the mob attacks on gay men in Fes and Casablanca last year.

With regards to freedom of speech and press, the report mentioned the arrest and prosecution of a number of Moroccan activists and journalists and the huge fines imposed on publishers.

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