According to several organizations, Tamazight, one of Morocco’s official languages, has long been excluded from public life.
Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) announced a new generation of identity cards earlier this year. However, the cards’ legal framework is still in the making. The Commission of the Interior and Local Collectivities at the House of Representatives is set to examine the draft law on Wednesday, June 17.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Moroccan League for Tamazight condemned the draft law, saying it goes against Morocco’s constitution and the framework law 26-16.
Morocco’s 2011 constitution recognizes Tamazight as the country’s official language alongside Arabic. Meanwhile, Law 26-16, adopted on June 12, 2019, presents a series of regulations with the aim of gradually including Tamazight in Morocco’s public life. Article 21 of the law recommends the usage of Tamazight, alongside Arabic, in national identity cards, as well as other administrative documents.
The Moroccan League for Tamazight “strongly refuses the elimination of Tamazight from the [CNIE] draft law,” the June 14 statement said.
The organization expressed its “astonishment” at the draft law’s inclusion of French, “a foreign non-constitutional language,” instead of Tamazight.
The statement also denounced the “delay in the inclusion of Tamazight in public life, as called for in the framework law 26-16.”
According to the organization, Moroccan decision-makers are taking an “individualist, unilateral approach” in all cultural and linguistic matters.
The Moroccan League for Tamazight “reiterates its calls for a collaborative and consultative approach, according to a clear methodology,” the statement concluded.
Four other Moroccan organizations issued a joint statement denouncing the exclusion of the language from identity cards.
The Tamaynut Organization, the Summer League, the Confederation of Amazigh Organizations in the North and South, and the National Amazigh Coordination have all expressed their concern about the real status of Tamazight in public life.
The exclusion of Tamazight from the draft law “will lead to doubts about the seriousness of the state’s policies and commitments, and will further exclude and marginalize Tamazight,” the statement said.
The debate about the usage of the language in official documents has been ongoing for several years. In July 2019, Tamazight usage defenders condemned Law 47-17 relating to a new status of Morocco’s central bank, Bank al-Maghrib.
The activists called for the inclusion of the language alongside Arabic in banknotes and money coins.
The calls led the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) to present a law amendment before the Parliament. However, the proposal was not approved.
Read also: Tifinagh: The Amazigh Alphabet