International Conference March 21-22, 2018 Migration Rights between Public Policy, Civil Society, and Discriminatory Representations: The Case of Morocco

deadline for submissions: 
October 20, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Hijra NGO in Morocco, a clinic for legal help
contact email: 

International Conference March 21-22, 2018

Migration Rights between Public Policy, Civil Society, and Discriminatory Representations: The Case of Morocco

The Agadir/Tiznit Unit of the legal clinic Hijra (CJH), which is a non-governmental organization (NGO), organizes an international colloquium in collaboration with the « Laboratory of Research about Saharan Societies » (LARSSOS), the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences (FLSH) of Ibn Zohr University, the Regional Council of Souss-Massa, the Regional Council of Human Rights (CRDH) of Agadir, the delegate ministry of the minister of foreign affairs, in charge of Moroccans living abroad and matters of migration, Giz (The German public utility organization of international cooperation), and "l’ORMES" (The Regional Observatory for research on migration, space and society).

On the occasion of the second edition of the International Day for the elimination of « racial discrimination »: racism, intolerance and xenophobia, which represents a huge obstacle to all kinds of progress, a colloquium will be organized at the University of Ibn Zohr, Agadir.

Indeed, racism and xenophobia are the most diffused forms of discrimination which should be taken at face value. They represent an offense that needs to be sanctioned by the laws dictated by justice-minded states.

With that said, not only do racism, xenophobia and discrimination harm immigration and immigrants in the Northern, democratic countries, but they also deeply affect the southern states. As an example, we refer here to Morocco where we attend to geo-political, socio-cultural and, above all, huge economic and migratory transformations.

Morocco as a Country of Emigration, Immigration and Constant Transit

In fact, Morocco has been home to emigration since the big wave that was institutionalized during the 14-18 World War. This is before the country became a land of transit, a country of immigration and reception « despite the fact that collective consciousness has not integrated this [significant] historical fact » (translated from the report of CNDH, 2013, 3-4).

Located in Africa and close to Europe, Morocco cannot remain indifferent to the two continents which mark its past history, determine its felt presence today, and influence its near and remote future: Africa, after all, remains largely and constantly influenced by socio-political, economic and identity-related crises that engender ongoing violence. Unavoidably, Morocco has to bear similar consequences. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, it bears the brunt of the European severe and gate-keeping policies that impact the migrants coming from the South and who are considered « dangerous and unwelcome ». Such a situations requires the Moroccan government to reinforce the security of its frontiers and play, directly or indirectly, the gate- keeper of an egoistic Europe.

Considering the above, Morocco has become a land of exile, not to say a land of asylum and permanent stay for thousands of migrants. On that account, do we need to distinguish between regular stay (e.g. African students who constitute a majority) in the kingdom and any other irregular case whose permanent or temporary transit towards the riches of Europe often turns out to be a permanent stay? The latter cases especially call attention to the asylum-seekers from Sub- Saharan Africa, Syria and Iraq, not to forget thousands of Europeans, especially the French pensioners who have settled in Morocco.

National Strategy of Immigration and Asylum (SNIA)

Since 2013, Morocco is thus committed within this context to set the stage for the National Strategy of Immigration and Asylum. The goal is to prioritize the social, the economic and the cultural integration of the immigrants and the refugees living in the country thanks to a joint partnership with the public institutions in charge and field work experts from civil society (e.g. NGOs, local, national and international associations).

Socially and historically discriminated black populations

In Morocco as well as other North African countries, the black populations have suffered all forms of unfair discrimination, racism and xenophobia: direct and indirect violence, insults, injuries, « racial », social and differential segregation in the public sphere, are part and parcel of what the people of color live through on a daily basis. This situation opens up inroads into deeper historical dimensions that need to differentiate and distinguish between several degrees of racism between a « Black Moroccan » and a « Black foreigner ». There are, as such, various « categories

of Blacks » in Morocco:

- The first « category » consists of the so-called cosmopolitan or native people of color who have largely co-existed with the « first Moroccan populations » for centuries. They happen to be the descendants of slaves and the slave trade. By crossing national boundaries, this category marks Europe, Africa and the Americas as regions where « triangular trade » emerged.

- The second « category » is represented by the black populations of the South. They settle in totally or partially populated oases with black Africans who do not, or hardly, integrate into the so-called « Berber »1 or « Arab » populations.

- The third « category » is made up of Senegalese Africans who comprise the majority in certain cities (Tangiers, Fes, Casablanca, Rabat, Agadir, Inzgan, etc: This category is part of a separate segment that is relatively old. It is populated by those who performed their pilgrimage in the medina of Fes and the Senegalese traders who performed their commercial activities between the two countries.

- Finally, the fourth and last « category » which is represented by the students and the sub-

Saharan migrants: Undeniably, it is the most affected category by racism and different forms of discrimination. This perilous situation is reminiscent of Fernand Braudel’s notion of longue durée (long-term course of history) which illustrates that the Moroccan populations have consciously or unconsciously internalized discriminatory and racist behavior across centuries.

For centuries before colonialism, hundreds of thousands of black slaves had existed in Morocco. In some historical periods, they even became a constituent part of the military, the favorite civil guards of certain Sultans. Not to mention some military or civil missions, notably during the reign of Ahmed Al Mansour Addahbi and Moulay Ismail in the 16th and 17th centuries.

On account of the current state of affairs, « slavery » may be said to have never been officially abolished by the Moroccan laws that have been dictated by successive governments, even if the French protectorate forbade the practice of slavery in its colonies. Slavery was indeed renounced as heinous; yet, it was perfectly tolerated by the French in colonial times.

It is worth mentioning that the abolition and prohibition of slavery have never been initiated by the Moroccan society. This fact has been confirmed by the outstanding anthropological and historical study of Mohamed Ennaji entitled « Soldats, domestiques et concubines. L’esclavage au XIXe siècle » (Domestic soldiers and concubines. Slavery in the 19th century». According to him, « the slaves originate from trans-Saharan exchanges, but also during the periods of crisis, are employed among the poor who sold their wives and children against food and protection »2.

Unfortunately, this dark episode in our discriminatory and untold history in the school and university manuals needs to be inscribed in the national consciousness in order to read and mourn our buried Memory.

The way in which migration-related questions are dealt with in the Moroccan media is largely marked by misconceptions that promote negative images and « stereotypical language », thus provoking and revealing received ideas and value judgements that accentuate discrimination,

1 it is the most commonly used term given that the term “Amazigh” is largely accepted by the populations in question. The term has only been used recently by the Amazigh movement since the 1980s In Morocco.

2 Mohammed Ennaji, Soldats, domestiques et concubines. L'esclavage au Maroc au XIXe siècle, Casablanca, Éd. Eddif, 1994, (livre de 220 p.).

racism and xenophobia. Also, they feed heinous discourse and distorted or detrimental collective representations.

Even if it is necessary to recognize the remarkable and invested energy (especially at the level of scientific research), we have high hopes about the urgent need to provide a realistic assessment of Moroccan migratory transformations. To that end, this international colloquium is interdisciplinary in nature (social and human sciences) with 9 cardinal questions:

The 9 questions are as follows:

1- Pragmatic studies and definitions of theoretical concepts that situate the subject in question within a comparative framework: migratory rights, discrimination, racism, xenophobia, immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, slaves, slavery, etc.

2- What impact and transformations were determined by the history of slaves and slavery, or else what was called the Slave trade of the XV°-XIX centuries that persisted until the first half of the XX° century in Morocco?

3- The issue of human trafficking at the national level and its links to the mafia-like networks.

4- Migratory rights in Morocco are set between a Moroccan strong-willed and a humanity- ridden public policy and national and international geopolitical, security-oriented constraints. Besides, there are obstacles linked to discriminatory representations promulgated by local populations. This axe needs to be inscribed within a logic of study-research-action. It suggests workable recommendations based on an assessment able to trace or suggest an approach that compares the migratory rights with international rights. The major aim is thus to address the contradictions in order to successfully integrate the migrating populations.

5-Specific case studies: The immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers in Morocco who undergo different kinds of discrimination.
6-Discrimination against female migrants (gender): This issue concerns a great number of underprivileged women in general, and the migrant domestic workers in particular. This constitutes a hot issue in Morocco and elsewhere in the migratory countries, including Europe.

7- Research-study that suggests a report able to assess or pinpoint the way in which the Moroccan media deals with the different forms of migration-related issues. Also, in the current state of affairs, we notice some undesirable acts that continue to promote received ideas and stereotypes that reinforce the most outrageous kinds of discrimination : What are the solutions/alternatives and recommendations that turn media approaches and tools into influential means that provide objective and serious investigation?

8- What is the Moroccan migratory policy that institutionalizes a tolerant culture in the face of a « culture of hatred » that engenders discrimination, racism and xenophobia? What are the pragmatic and theoretical recommendations, be they theoretical or practical, which can help the

immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Morocco better integrate in the Moroccan socio- economic and cultural communities?
9-What is the role played by the civil society in order to closely sensitize its subjects about the issue of discrimination, together with a successful legal and social assistance geared towards improving migration-related rights ?

The participants are kindly requested to send a short résumé (a maximum of one page) and choose one of the proposed axes. They fill out the following questionnaire:

Participation questionnaire :

Full Name :

Current position

The institution :


Phone number :

Fax :

Email address:

-The title of the presentation at the international colloquium of Agadir - The number of the addressed question:

Personal address :

-The city and the travel dates from and to Agadir, Morocco (March 20-24)

- Unless the proposal includes these dates, it will not be taken in charge by the organizers who take care of catering and accommodation. Confirmation about international trips will be confirmed later.

Please, note that your participation in the Agadir international colloquium is determined by the reception of the final contribution. The details proposed by the organizing committee need to be respected. All the contributions will be revised by the scientific committee. Some partners are already committed to publish some of the colloquium’s work.

The organizing committee is represented by: Elkbir ATOUF. Tél. 06 53 03 53 15. E-mail :

The languages of the colloquium are: English, French, Spanish and Arabic (The organizing committee requires the participants whose proposals are in Spanish or English, to translate their contributions into French). The proposals will be a summary of about 500 words and a brief curriculum vitae to be sent to before October 20th, 2017. Notification of acceptance will be sent before November 20th, 2017. The final versions (between 6000 and 8000 words, including the bibliography and footnotes) need to be sent to the scientific committee before February 20th, 2018.

For more information, please contact the email addresses below: Professor Elkbir Atouf, assistant professor and researcher at FLSH, Ibn Zohr Unviersity of Agadir: The coordinator of the international colloquium. Phone number : 06 53 03 53 15

Email address:

The colloquium will take place March 21-22, 2018 at the conference venue of humanities at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences (FLSH), Agadir.

N.B. Kindly send the proposals and the résumés to the email address above (Elkbir Atouf).

Organizing Committee :

  • -  Professor Hamid AHDA : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Elkbir ATOUF : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, director of the Agadir-Tiznit legal clinic, Hijra- (CJH-A-T).

  • -  Professor Younous ARBAOUI : Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

  • -  Professor Mohamed BOUCHELKHA: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University of Agadir.

  • -  Professor BOUTKHIL SOUMIA: FLSH-Mohamed 1st University of Oujda and Directorof the legal clinic of Oujda.

  • -  Professor Mohamed BOUZANKAD: FLSH-Université Ibn Zohr-Agadir.

  • -  Professor Mohamed CHAREF: FLSH- Ibn Zohr University,Agadir, head of CRDH-Agadir.

  • -  Professor Ahmed CHIKHI: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Mohamed EL MAZOUNI : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Abdelkhalek JAYED : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Mustapha KHAROUA : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Brahim LABARI : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Mohammad LATIF : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Abdelkrim MADOUN : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Abdellah STITOU : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Aberrafia HAMOU AIT HASSI : Doctoral student, ORMES, FLSH laboratory.

  • -  Rachid AZLF : Doctoral student LARSSOS laboratory, FLSH, clinician, coordinator and researcher(CJHAT).

  • -  Bouchra CHOKRI : BA in economics and management, clinician at (CJH-A-T).

  • -  Karim BOURICH : doctoral student, LARSSOS laboratory, FLSH, and clinician (CJHAT).

  • -  Lahcen EL KHATIR doctoral student, LARSSOS laboratory, FLSH, clinician-researcher (CJHAT).

  • -  Rachida Daoudi, Masters student, History of Southern Morocco.

  • -  Abdellah Asemlal, Masters student, History of Southern Morocco.

  • -  Rachid Ataro Rahmat lah, Masters student, History of Southern Morocco.

  • -  Other clinicians of the CJH Agadir/Tiznit Unit.

  • -  The Association of young researchers-ORMS

    Scientific Committee:

  • -  Professor Hamid AHDA : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Elkbir ATOUF : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, and director of the Agadir/Tiznit legal clinic Hijra Unit (CJH-A-T).

  • -  Professor Younous ARBAOUI : Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

  • -  Professor Pascal Blanchard, historian, documentarian and co-director of the French

    communication agency. Specialist in French colonial Empire, diversity and histories of immigration, France.

  • -  Professor Mohamed BOUCHELKHA: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor BOUTKHIL SOUMIA: FLSH-Mohamed I University of Oujda and director of the legal clinic of Oujda.

  • -  Professor Mohamed BOUZANKAD: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University of Agadir.

  • -  Professor Mohamed CHAREF: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, head of CRDH- Agadir.

  • -  Professor Ahmed CHIKHI: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Mohamed EL MAZOUNI: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Yvan GASTAUT: University of Nice.

  • -  Professor Abdelkhalek JAYED : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Mohamed Kachani: Faculty of Law and Economics. Mohamed V, University, Rabat.

  • -  Professor Mustapha KHAROUA: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Brahim LABARI: FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Bruno LAFFORT : University of Besançon, France.

  • -  Professor Mohammad LATIF : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Abdelkrim MADOUN : FLSH-Ibn Zohr University, Agadir.

  • -  Professor Nouria OUALI : Free University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium.