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Report calls for nationality law reform and further solidification of Amazigh language

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The pressing calls for allowing Moroccan women to pass on their citizenship to their foreign-born spouses have recently resurfaced.

The Committee of Moroccan Organizations for the Follow-up on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged for the amendment of the Moroccan nationality law.

The current law allows only men to pass on their citizenship to their foreign-born spouses. For this reason, the Committee expressed concerns about Article 10, “finding it discriminatory against women.”

It also highlighted, in a report, “the difficulties encountered in registering births and granting Moroccan nationality to children born on Moroccan territory to stateless parents and refugees, particularly single mothers from sub-Saharan Africa.”

“The lack of citizenship increases the risk and consequences of being stateless,” according to the same source.

The report also noted that the observations and recommendations of the UN experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention by the States Parties had many positive aspects. Hence, the Committee expressed “its satisfaction with the treaty situation in Morocco.”

However, the report also pointed out “challenges related to the ratification of additional human rights treaties, such as the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.”

The Committee shed light on “a surge in hate speech, racism, and xenophobia, including on social media networks. This pertains to instances recorded, particularly against migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, and against Moroccan black and Amazigh citizens.”

It also expressed concerns about the lack of data on the representation of Amazigh citizens, especially women, in the political sphere and decision-making positions.

The same source shed light on “the poverty that plagues areas predominantly inhabited by Amazigh people and the continued racial discrimination they encounter.”

This discrimination “manifested particularly in the areas of employment and access to essential social services, such as healthcare and education, especially when they do not speak Arabic.”

The Committee also raised other concerns regarding treating the Amazigh language in Morocco. It highlighted “the inadequacy of Amzigh language teaching in the education system and the limited availability of Amazigh-language programming in audiovisual media.”

It also expressed concerns about “the difficulties faced by Amazigh individuals in using their language in legal proceedings and in some cases in registering the Amazigh names of their children.” It also highlighted the limited use of the said language in official documents.

In this regard, the Committee urged Morocco to intensify efforts to implement measures promoting the Amazigh language. This includes “upholding the Constitution and Law 26-16 regarding Amazigh language officialization, and integrating the language and culture into education–including preschool.”

It also includes “increasing the number of Amazigh teachers and guaranteeing citizens’ right to choose their children’s names while urging civil status officers to respect this right.”

The report additionally called for “the revision of laws to ensure their consistency with the officialization of the Amazigh language. This includes Law No. 04-20 on the national electronic identity card and Law No. 15.38 on the judicial system.

“The goal is to guarantee that the Amazigh language is employed in judicial proceedings, including pleadings, rulings, documents, and papers, in an identical manner to Arabic,” according to the Committee.

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