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Sub-Saharan migrants protesting against police maltreatment in Casablanca in November 2017. Black Africans complain of racial discrimination in Morocco. An estimated 5,000 people have been swept up in the raids since July, piled on to buses and abandoned in remote areas close to the Algerian border or in the south of the country, which lie in the Sahara Desert / Photo: © Morocco World News

Morocco’s parliament discusses racial discrimination against black Africans

The experience of sub-Saharans in North Africa, most of whom are migrants in transit, has been marked by outright racial discrimination and social rejection. A Moroccan party has now raised the issue in the country’s parliament, proposing a law against racial discrimination. Safaa Kasraoui reports.

The Independence Party (Istiqlal) of Morocco proposed on Tuesday a new law to criminalize acts of racism and racial discrimination against foreigners.

The proposal was presented during a meeting in the House of Councillors, at which the official opposition proposed prison sentences ranging from one to three years for any individual guilty of making racist remarks against foreign visitors or residents in Morocco, according to Moroccan newspaper Al Massae.

Al Massae added that the party has urged the government to impose such measures because racist acts erode the country’s image internationally.

The party also called on the government to hold regular census of foreigners and other disadvantaged groups. The proposal aims to identify the gaps that persist in order to better integrate these groups into Moroccan society, added Al Massae.

The parliamentary group recalled during the meeting that Morocco has become a hub for sub-Saharan migrants, some of whom seek better opportunities in Morocco or use the country as a stepping stone to reach Europe. Istiqlal insists that Morocco should provide migrants a decent standard of living and equal rights.

The party is determined that the time has come to end racism and discrimination against sub-Saharans. The proposition thus aims to abolish all forms of discrimination within the country, which has welcomed hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants in recent years.

A series of clashes erupted between sub-Saharan migrants and Moroccans in November and December 2017 near the Oulad Ziane bus station in Casablanca, where migrants were living in makeshift camps.

The incident polarized public opinion. Some expressed outrage and accused fellow citizens of racist behaviour toward the immigrants. Others claimed that it is not “racism” and have called for the sub-Saharans to be removed from the area.

Still, others have voiced their concerns over the ineffectiveness of Morocco’s immigration policy, claiming that what happened at the makeshift camp was “predictable.”

© Morocco World News


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