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Morocco: the criminal marginalisation of the Amazighs of the Atlas Mountains

Date : 2021-02-04 22:30:00

Every winter, the Amazighs who live in the Atlas Mountains know that they will have to pay the highest price because they are the forgotten people of Morocco. This year again at the beginning of January 2021, a pregnant woman died in Imilchil, in the High Atlas, for lack of help and care. This is the n-th crime that has just been committed, which will be added to the long list of victims of the government's negligence. Sure of the impunity they enjoy, the Caids, the Pachas, the Governors, the Walis, the Ministers, do not give any importance to the misery of the Amazighs of the Atlas and elsewhere.

Every winter the mountain people and the Irehalen (transhumant shepherds) fear for their lives but also for the lives of their meagre livestock, one of their rare sources of food and income. For they know that the roads will be cut off for weeks by snow or landslides, that electricity will be cut off, that they will have no heating, that there will be a shortage of food and that the authorities will not come to their aid. They also know that the elected representatives who are supposed to represent and defend them in Parliament will not even testify to their distress because they are corrupted by the 40,000 Dirhams of monthly allowances to which are added various privileges and benefits in kind.

Faced with seasonal climatic phenomena, one may legitimately ask why the government does not provide adequate means to deal with meteorological hazards and to help the inhabitants of mountain territories? Why are health emergency procedures not mobilised to avoid tragedies? Why is the Atlas not declared a disaster area and a state of emergency declared when necessary? Why has the army not been requisitioned with its men and equipment to clear roads, distribute food and evacuate patients? These are crucial questions that the Moroccan government must answer, and those responsible for failures must be identified and punished.

But once again, it is clear that the rural and mountain areas inhabited mainly by Amazigh populations are not part of the government's concerns, nor those of the political parties obsessed with the election race. The Moroccan authorities have chosen to invest everything in the rich and lucrative "useful Morocco" symbolised by the Casablanca-Tangiers TGV, while turning their backs on the mountains and deserts, these "Bled-Essiba", poor territories of the Amazighs, just good for earning foreign currency from tourism and providing natural resources.

The Moroccan policy of socio-economic marginalisation of the Amazighs is a form of criminal racial discrimination that the Amazigh World Congress will never cease to denounce.

In the immediate term, the CMA demands an independent investigation into the circumstances of the death of the pregnant woman of Imilchil and calls for the urgent mobilisation of state resources to assist the affected families of the Atlas and other mountain ranges.

Finally, the CMA appeals to the highest authorities of the Moroccan State on the need to put an end to the policy of marginalisation of the Amazighs, particularly those living in mountainous territories and arid zones.

Paris, 8/01/2971 – 20/01/2021

The Board of CMA.

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