The period of military conscriptions began Tuesday and will continue until June 7, recruiting a total of 10,000 Moroccans into service.
Rabat – In February, King Mohammed VI called on the government to recruit 10,000 Moroccans into mandatory military service in 2019, to be increased to 15,000 in 2020.
Minister of the Interior Abdelouafi Laftit announced on Monday that the government has finalized the list of draftees who will be obligated to fill out the census form for 2019 military service. The government will require those called to serve for 12 months, under penalty of sanctions.
On February 7, the Council of Ministers adopted two draft decrees which established processes for identifying, selecting, and enlisting those subject to compulsory military service.
This draft will affect men between the ages of 19 and 25. Women and Moroccans Residing Abroad (MREs) are exempt but encouraged to voluntarily enlist. Parliamentarians and members of the government are also exempt from military service.
Those people who are on the list of draftees will receive a notification. They must complete the census form on tajnid.ma website within 20 days of receiving that notification.
In the form, draftees must enter their first and last name, CIN number, personal name of parents, and census number (included in the notification) before completing the rest of the form.
Even if no notification is received, anyone can check whether they are subject to military service by going to tajnid.ma and filling out the form with everything but the census number. If their name appears, their census number will load automatically, and they can continue completing the form.
Those not called to military service can still choose to voluntarily register by completing the census form. They must do so before the end of the census period on June 7 to be taken into account. The government especially encourages women and MREs to voluntarily register.
If there are problems accessing the site or completing the form, the government encourages draftees to reach out to local administrative authorities. These administrations have computers connected to the website and can aid in filling out the form.
After the form is complete, a receipt should be printed and emailed to the person. The receipt informs the conscript that they can file an application for temporary or definitive exemption.
Filing for exemption
In order to file for exemption, a conscript must submit an application within 20 days of completing the census form. The application is to be submitted to local administrative authorities who will transfer the request to the prefectural commissions which make decisions about exemption applications.
There are four main reasons a person can receive an exemption, and each requires the person to submit supporting documents in the application.
For reason of physical or medical incapacity, a person must support with a medical report from public health services. For reason of family support, a person must submit a certificate issued by the governor of the district or province providing the status of family support. For reason of continuing studies, the person must have a certificate issued by an authority in the relevant sector proving continuation of studies in educational or vocational training institutions, public or private.
The final reason for receiving an exemption is the presence of a brother in service as a conscript or the presence of one or more brothers and sisters who can be summoned simultaneously for military service. This case can be confirmed with a document from the military confirming the relationship.
People over 25 who receive an exemption can be called until the age of 40 if at any point the reason for the exemption no longer stands.
Being called to military service
On June 7, the recruiting office of Royal Armed Forces (FAR) staff will prepare a recruitment order to summon conscripts. Anyone who receives a recruitment order will also receive a specific date and place where they must report to the prefectural commission. The commission, which includes a military doctor, examines the conscript’s health. If found to be healthy and able, FAR will register them for service.
According to the FAR Morocco Forum, the military has created three new training centers, including one in El Hajeb, between Rabat and Fez, and one in Kasba Tadla, in central Morocco. Each of the training centers have an annex for female staff.
The army created the centers with the goal of improving living conditions of conscripts to move away from “cliches and bad ideas that surround the military service.” Additionally, the army created supervision commissions to oversee improvements in living conditions and to assure equality in the treatment of conscripts.
FAR will assign the conscripts ranks according to hierarchy based on their level of education. Those with a bachelor’s or equivalent will become “officers;” those with at least a baccalaureate will be “sub-officers;” and those with less than a baccalaureate will be “military rank.”
Basic training will last four months and include both general and military training. General training includes national education and civil and military history while military training includes military regulation, general discipline, and physical education.
At the end of four months of basic training, conscripts will receive an assignment in either a combat, support, or logistics unit, which lasts for the duration of their service. Once assigned, they will undergo an eight-month period of specialized training. The first month involves technical military training which is followed by apprenticeship training which promises the development of skills in no less than 25 trades.
Those with an academic background will have a shorter period of basic training. They will be assigned positions based on their previous qualifications. For example, a conscript who studied medicine would be assigned to a FAR hospital or other medical structure.
Benefits and sanctions
All conscripts will receive salaries based on rank. Per month, soldiers receive $109, non-commissioned officers receive $156, and officers receive $218. All conscripts sent to the southern provinces will get a bonus of $31.
Conscripts will also get tax-exempt allowances which include free clothing, accommodation, and catering. Medical benefits include medical coverage, death and disability insurance, and free medication in military hospitals.
Those who do not comply with the draft will face sanctions. Those subject to military service who do not answer the call will face one to three months in prison and a $210-520 fine. A punishment of one month to one year in prison and a $210-1,040 fine will be applied to those who do not respond to an individual or general conscription form as well as those who hide a conscript or forbid them from military service.
Since Morocco’s ministerial council reinstated compulsory military service last year for the first time since 2006, there has been a great deal of discussion about the policy.
There have been some concerns from the public about the draft being applied unequally, especially across social classes. The King attempted to assuage the fears by assuring the public that the law will apply to citizens from all social classes.
In August 2018 the Royal Cabinet said that the compulsory “military service aims to promote patriotism among the young, within the framework of the correlation between the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.” In this regard, the law is seen as a way to encourage loyalty to the state among young people.
Others see the expansion as a way to limit protest movements. They see the conscriptions as a way to widen the military’s reach and to recruit youth who have been involved in protests such as those in the northern Rif region.
Some see the conscription as an opportunity for youth who have had trouble finding jobs. Others would rather the government invest in education as the policy of compulsory service will cost $52 million, according to Minister Delegate for National Defense Abdellatif Loudiyi.