Moroccan voices calling for reform are multiplying by the minute, all over social media and in many different languages, as everyone gears up for the big day on February 20th.
"I am Moroccan and I will take part in the #Feb20 protest."
If you believe that Morocco needs change, join Moroccans for Change.
We aim to be a platform where all groups calling for a better Morocco can come together to support our demands for change on February 20th. We support a Morocco where justice, equality, freedoms and sharing into the country’s wealth is every Moroccan's right. We want dignity, education, health, and economic opportunities for everyone, and we will mobilize on February 20th to make our voices heard, in the most peacefully powerful way.
Over 40% of the Moroccan population is illiterate, about 60% of them are women. The state of public education is beyond deplorable. There are no social guarantees for the poor. According to Human Rights Watch, “Morocco has one of the highest child labor rates in the Middle East and North Africa. Although Moroccan law prohibits children under fifteen from working, government statistics suggest that at least six hundred thousand children age seven through fourteen— 11 percent of all children in that age group—are engaged in economic activity.” There are also between 10,000 and 14,000 street children in Morocco. According to Baiti association 98% of them are now addicted to sniffing glue.
King Mohammed VI has encouraged many changes and much of the legal framework is already at an advance stage of modernity; albeit many laws lack real translation into enforceable rules. Despite important advances in freedoms, and democracy, such as the creation of the Reconciliation and Truth Commission, the reform of the Moudawana, and various development projects, the country has experienced serious setbacks in the last few years. The authorities doubled in acts of injustice and violence against citizens, harassing journalists through illegitimate fines and trials, and imprisoning political activists.
The king has succeeded in symbolism and signs of humility, but he has yet to help create a country where social justice and sharing into the country’s wealth is everyone’s right and not a privilege of the few. The Makhzenian governing style inherited from the Hassan II era remains a serious problem. The Royal family owns the only real holding in Morocco, ONA, (Omnium North African) which enjoys a literal monopoly over most vital businesses and commodities. The system of exclusive licensing issued by the palace commonly called “Grimat,” (which stands for agreement) is still in place. This system allows the king to indiscriminately bestow authorizations to some of his subjects and most faithful servants, specifically the military, to operate taxis, buses and enjoy fishing permits. The king grants French journalists interviews, but we have yet to see a Moroccan paper given the same privilege. Moroccans are subjects of the king, rather than citizens, thus they do not enjoy the right to question the “constitutionally sacral authority” of the king. Currently, most of the key government positions are assigned to members of one Moroccan family. Corruption is a way of life, sustained by poverty at the bottom and much greed at the top.
In this climate of favoritism rather than healthy competition, Moroccans learn to despise each other, and social confidence is at the lowest. We all want to put an end to this. Clearly, many of those elected in the government and parliament share into the status quo, and much can be said about their own failure to bring about tangible changes. It is time for things to change. Our call for change in Morocco targets immediate reforms, and long term reforms that would take place soon after the constitution is reformed, and a new government is elected.
Constitutional reform: A new constitution with as a preamble the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The New constitution will outline guarantees for universal freedoms the following freedoms and rights, including specifically, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Human Rights, more specifically Women's Rights, Equality. Constitutional amendments will include article 19. Morocco shall become a parliamentary monarchy, where the King rules but does not govern.
Free and democratic elections: New elections must be organized in a timely manner with the presence of international observers to ensure transparency, fairness and accountability.
New Government Program: The new Government will focus on these priority issues:
Socioeconomic reform: Address the issue of poverty: Priority should be given to education and training opportunities to give Moroccans the chance for a better future, and create the conditions for social justice.
Education Reform: Education is a priority sector. We want education for all, and a reform of the curriculum to adapt it to the requirements of the global economy and the 21st century.
End corruption and harassment: Human rights mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that all Moroccans are equal before the law. The right to diversity and pluralism must be acknowledged and guaranteed. Freedom of all Moroccans, men, women, children, Arabs and Berbers, must be explicitly included in the constitution’s preamble
All provisions in Penal Code, Personal Status and other legal codes must reflect and guarantee the changes in the Constitution. In case of conflict, the new Constitution prevails.