A source in Morocco’s embassy in Paris said that the “military service should only concern young people residing in Morocco.”
The anonymous source told the French Sud Ouest outlet that the details of the bill will include everything about the requirements of those to be conscripted in October when the text will be officially adopted in Parliament.
The government’s proposal to bring back the military service surprised Morocco’s youth.
Moroccan-Dutch and Moroccan-Belgian youth have both showed concern over the decision. Dutch news outlet NL Times reported that many Dutch-Moroccans are “worried that they will have to join the North African country’s army for a year.”
Moroccan binationals were not the only citizens to express concerns over the decision. The number of Moroccans residing abroad is estimated at 5 million, according to statistics offered by the minister delegate in charge of Moroccans residing abroad in July.
After the government announced its decision in August, a group of activist created a Facebook group named “Moroccan Rally against Compulsory Military Service.”
The activists issued a statement, explaining why they are against the draft bill.
The group explained that the rejection of the bill “came because of the government’s total lack of clarity on the bill’s real objectives.” They added that conscription cannot be decided in a short period.
On September 4, the Party of al-Istiqlal (Independence) discussed the government decision in its meeting. The members of the party called on the government to exercise pedagogical efforts “to correct negative stereotypes” which feature the service as a “mechanism for discipline and punishment or for the suppression of energies and spirit of initiative and creativity” among young people.
The party also urged the government to hear from people and youth and communicate with them and to listen to their suggestions, according to the party’s statement.
Bill 44.18 on mandatory service concerns young people aged 19 to 25, both men and women. The bill exempts citizens with diseases, married people, and people who financially support their families. Only one young person per family will be conscripted.
The army can call on exempted people to join the service until the age of 40 if the reason that prevented them from participating no longer applies.
Morocco first introduced 18-month military service on June 9, 1966, in accordance with Royal Decree 137-66.
Morocco reduced the length of service to 12 months in 1999. But in 2006, King Mohammed VI abolished mandatory military service.