Elections and Reform:
FAQ: Morocco’s 2011 Parliamentary Elections- So what are Morocco’s Constitutional reforms and how will they strengthen the country’s democracy? How is Morocco’s reform process unique in the region? What did the elections mean for women and youth in Morocco? And will His Majesty King Mohammed VI really transfer significant powers to elected leaders? For these answers and more, check out our FAQ.
Morocco Is Irreversibly Committed to Democratic Reform and Good Governance - Since ascending the throne in 1999, King Mohammed VI has consolidated, accelerated, and broadened democratic reform in the Kingdom of Morocco. Much of what King Mohammed VI has initiated is part of an ongoing process to empower individual citizens and the institutions that represent them. Major achievements include: a number of free and fair parliamentary and local elections; reform of the family code; mandatory inclusion of women in national and local elections; the beginnings of the process of regionalization to bring power and decision making closer to local communities; the equity and reconciliation commission (IER) dealing with past human rights abuses; the human development initiative (INDH) to build sustainable futures for Morocco’s most disadvantaged communities; sustained efforts to fight illiteracy; and the recent upgrading of the institution responsible for human rights protections.
Human Rights and Religious Tolerance:
Morocco is Committed to Protecting Human Rights - Morocco is committed to protecting human rights throughout the Kingdom and has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote and protect the human rights of all of its citizens. Through recent programs to improve human rights, Morocco is making great strides and has become a leader in the Arab world on human rights and women’s rights issues.
Morocco’s Culture of Religious Tolerance and Engagement with the Jewish Community - Morocco has a rich history of religious tolerance. In contrast to other parts of North Africa or even Europe, Morocco is internationally recognized for the peaceful coexistence enjoyed by Jews and Muslims within its communities.
Morocco – US Bilateral Relations:
The US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue - On September 13, 2012, Morocco and the Unites States launched a Strategic Dialogue—one of about two dozen such agreements in existence and the only one in North Africa. Under the leadership of King Mohammed VI and the last three US Administrations, the Morocco-US relationship has advanced on economic, political, social, and security fronts. This Strategic Dialogue is yet another milestone in the Morocco-US relationship that has lasted more than two centuries.
The US and Morocco Share a Long History of Friendship – A stable, democratizing, and liberalizing Arab Muslim nation, Morocco is an important supporter of key US interests in the Middle East. US policy toward Morocco is based on sustained and strong engagement, and identifies priorities for reform, conflict resolution, counterterrorism cooperation, and public outreach.
Morocco is Committed to Creating a Deeper Military and Economic Alliance with the United States - Morocco has long-been a stable ally and partner of the United States. Today, that friendship continues with extended cooperation in many fields, highlighted by our common commitment to combating terrorism and advancing regional security, the 2004 Free Trade Agreement, the designation of Morocco as a major Non-NATO ally, and the signing of a $697.5 million Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation to reduce poverty and increase economic growth.
Morocco Combats Terrorism at Home and Abroad - Morocco’s counterterrorism efforts involve close cooperation with the US. As the US Department of State affirms, “Morocco was among the first Arab and Islamic states to denounce the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and declare solidarity with the American people in the war against terror.” Morocco has taken a variety of approaches to combating terrorism. In addition to the anti-terrorist activities of its security forces, efforts are being made to block terrorists’ access to financial resources, restrict illegal immigration, accelerate democratization of the political process, and promoting economic growth, seeking to include all members of society and to encourage tolerance for all faiths and ethnicities.
News Briefing: Update on key developments, expert comments on North Africa & the Sahel – On Oct. 23, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) kidnapped one Italian and two Spanish aid workers from Polisario-run refugee camps in Algeria. The abduction was reportedly assisted by Polisario Front members in the camps near Tindouf, Algeria. The attack is AQIM’s latest advance in Africa’s Sahel region, where rising terrorism and a flood of Libyan arms have created what AFRICOM’s Head, US Gen. Carter Ham, recently called a “threat to the US” and potentially “very, very dangerous outcome.” Since 9/11, attacks by AQIM and other terrorist groups in the Maghreb and Sahel are up more than 500%, according to the ICTS.
FAQ: The Western Sahara Conflict - In April 2012, the United Nations Security Council votes on the renewal of MINURSO — the peace-keeping mission for the Western Sahara, which has, since the mid-1970’s, been an area of conflict between Morocco and the separatist group Polisario Front. Find out more about this conflict and the importance of solving it.
Morocco is Committed to Resolving the Western Sahara - On April 11, 2007 Morocco presented its historic initiative for the Western Sahara to the United Nations. This initiative comes in response to repeated requests of the UN Security Council and several of its key members, including the United States, that Morocco propose a solution to the longstanding Western Sahara conflict that could facilitate the opening of negotiations for a “just, durable, and peaceful” political solutions. The US State Department has called Morocco’s initiative “a serious and credible proposal to provide real autonomy for the Western Sahara.”
Morocco’s Commitment to the Economic and Social Development of the Sahara - The development of the South has been a priority for the Moroccan government for the past three decades. It is a common misconception that the conflict in the Western Sahara is a war over resources. On the contrary, not only are the territories not resource-rich, but the government has also allocated many more resources than it has gained. In financial terms, Morocco has invested a much greater sum of money developing the provinces than it has received from natural resource extraction.
Refugee Rights and the Western Sahara -Tens of thousands of refugees have been sequestered in refugee camps in southwest Algeria near the town of Tindouf for more than thirty years. Having initially fled or been forced to flee to the camps during hostilities between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the refugees are now warehoused in Algeria in deplorable physical and moral circumstances. The international community has done little to protect the rights of these refugees in what has now become, according to UNHCR, one of the longest protracted refugees situations in the world today. Now is the time to take action to guarantee the stability and security of the Maghreb and Sahel by resolving the refugee crisis.
Target US Support for the Camps in Western Sahara to Advance Refugee Rights and Promote Durable Solutions - Rather than help sustain a humanitarian crisis and an increasingly volatile security crisis, US support to UNHCR should be targeted for the promotion of durable solutions, including voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement in a third country. Sahrawi refugees must not continue to suffer for the failures of UNCHR, Algeria, and the Polisario. It is in the interests of the United States, both from a security and financial perspective, that UNHCR work to find durable solutions to the Sahrawi refugee crisis.