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Moroccan human rights organisation: Amazigh language issue does not live up to expectations

Moroccans shout slogans while waving the Berber, or Amazigh, flag on April 21, 2019 [AFP via Getty Images]
Moroccans shout slogans while waving the Berber, or Amazigh, flag on April 21, 2019 [AFP via Getty Images]

The Moroccan League for the Defence of Human Rights, MLDHR, said that it is following with interest the commitments made by the new government in its program and its keenness to allocate significant financial resources to implement the constitutional requirements of the Amazigh language (Tamazight).

The MLDHR supports the initiative to double the positions assigned to teachers of the Tamazight in the recent recruitment competitions supervised by the regional academies of education and training. However, it warned that the current situation of Tamazight, in light of adopting by the constitution as an official language, does not live up to the level that the human rights and cultural movements were waiting for, especially after decades of civilised struggle that the country has known in this regard.

The MLDHR stressed in a statement, of which Al-Quds Al-Arabi received a copy, that the "danger of the policy of postponement and procrastination" and "betting on time to weaken the Amazigh cultural demands."

READ: The Ministry of Culture celebrates the Amazigh New Year

It considered that this could be counter-productive, as demands with a cultural and civilised dimension may turn into a mere chauvinistic discourse to mobilise against an official discourse that does not reflect practice on the ground, which may threaten the country in the future, with falling into an empty spiral that harms the collective effort that Moroccans have exerted to make the issue of multiple identity a support to the unity, cultural and historical advancement of the Moroccan nation.

The MLDHR considered that the frustrated status of the Tamazight is not consistent with its constitutional one; therefore, it called for the acceleration of declaring the Amazigh New Year day a paid official holiday in both the public and private sectors. Also to review the status of the "Amazigh" channel and reconsider the programming of official channels, so that the "Amazigh" channel does not turn like a "Ghetto", as the official channels must reflect the linguistic diversity in Morocco.

The MLDHR demanded the organisation of a debate to assess the status of the teaching of Tamazight in the Moroccan school, as the failure to teach the Tamazight constitutes a blatant lack of seriousness in everything related to the issue of Tamazight, since education is the only way to secure Tamazight and protect it from extinction, according to the statement.

It also stressed the need to respect the concerned regulatory laws of Amazigh in everything related to public life, by adopting the Tamazight in all official documents, especially identity-related documents, such as the identity card.

The statement concluded by saying "The Moroccan League for the Defence of Human Rights, while raising these demands to the government, calls on it to remember the Royal speech in Ajdir on 17 October 2001, more than twenty years ago, which was as a starting point for the rehabilitation of Amazigh."

READ: Morocco recognises third gender, approves use of Amazigh language on birth records

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