Human Rights Council (intermediate)


Petra Cicvarić

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Petra Cicvaric Delegation: Kingdom of Morocco

TOPIC A: Human rights abuses and violations against ethnic and religious minorities Historical Background Morocco is a monarchy with a constitution under which ultimate authority rests with King Mohammed VI, who presides over the Council of Ministers. Morocco became Muslim in the seventh century, as the Arab conquests pushed the indigenous Berbers into the mountains. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, a Moroccan dynasty ruled north-west Africa and Spain. It never came under the Ottoman Empire and was a French and Spanish protectorate between 1912 and 1956. The country regained independence on 2 March 1956 and restored a traditional monarchy the following year, when Sultan Mohammed became king. Upon his death in 1961, his son took power as King Hassan II. Main minority groups: Berbers (Amazigh) 13.3-20 million (40-60%) Estimated: Cambridge Encyclopaedia of North Africa and Middle East , Saharawis, est 90,000(various sources); Jews 4,000 (0.01%), US State Department International Religious Freedom Report, Shia (unknown) Accompanying the declaration of the state of Israel, numerous attacks took place on Jewish premises and individuals. After Moroccan independence their situation improved as Jews were granted full suffrage and near-complete freedom of movement. While Jewish emigration was made illegal, many continued to leave for Israel. Morocco is currently the only Arab country where Jews enjoy rights and privileges equal to the rest of the community, including government-funded Jewish schools. After independence Berbers were well represented in the Moroccan army and police force but much less so in government. They very often felt isolated from central government as their patrons, under the French, lost their influence and Berber tribal groups suffered accordingly. In the first three years of independence there were two major tribal uprisings and constant rural agitation against Istiqlal, the urban nationalist group which had led the independence struggle. The uprisings were crushed by the army and were used b...