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Letter to Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, concerning visit Morocco

20, December 2018

Ms. E. Tendayi Achiume
Special Rapporteur on
contemporary forms of racism,
racial discrimination, xenophobia
and related intolerance
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

SUBJECT: visit to Morocco to assess racism, discrimination

Dear Ms. Tendayi Achiume,

On December 12th 2018 the United Nations Human Rights Consul (UNHRC) announced your visit to Morocco, a visit that will take place from 13 to 21 December 2018 to examine the country’s efforts to eliminate racial inequality and discrimination. We* are very pleased with
your visit to Morocco to discuss and examine those important themes in a country where it’s urgently needed. As the news item indicates, your visit will include the cities Rabat, Tangier, Tétouan, Agadir, and Casablanca. Unfortunately, none of these cities are located in the Rif
region where discrimination and racism are the most common.

ccording to the Moroccan news source Hespress several advocates for the Amazigh people and human rights organizations in Morocco highly recommended Al Hoceima and Nador, two cities in the Rif region to be visited by the special rapporteur, due its historical and very
bad relationship between the central Arab government and the indigenous inhabitants of the Rif region the Imazighen also known as ‘Berbers’. Unfortunately, we read in the same news source you’ve decided not to visit the two cities in the Rif region. We consider this as a very unwise and harmful decision, we would like to comment more on this point.

The Rif region and its inhabitants experience racism, discrimination, oppression and marginalization by the Arab government for decades. The recent example can be found in the Hirak movement, a movement which can be compared to the Arab spring. During the Hirak
movement many young men, elderly and women were mistreated by the authorities. They were beaten, some of them were killed, others were raped and discriminated for being an Amazigh and demanding social-economical rights. The Rifians in the city of Al Hoceima where
the Hirak movement started, were not able to demonstrate nor to speak up against the injustice of the authorities. Even the women were not able to held a march on the international women’s day. Those who tried to demonstrate were beaten up by the police and
have been arrested.

Not to mention on the 24th of November 1958 when the city of Al Hoceima was declared by the Moroccan authorities as a military zone. Entering the city of Al-Hoceima involves passing highly militarized checkpoints, which makes segregation and disparities justified through
ethnic rhetoric.

We urge you as the special rapporteur to involve the city of Al Hoceima and Nador in your mission. We believe this is the only way to do justice to your observations and recommendations about Morocco’s efforts on Racism and discrimination.

Respectfully,

*Letter singned by: Anzuf; Marokkaanse Vrouwen Vereniging Nederland; The Hague Peace Projects; Syphax Foundation; GroenLinks Amsterdam; New Urban Collective; Bij1; Humanistisch Verbond; SP Amsterdam.

See here the letter in pdf.

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