Friday, March 29, 2013

Moroccan Rapper (l7a9ed) Relaesed from Prison after a Year for Insulting Police

Here is an article from the Associated Press (AP) by way of the Washington Post on the release of the activist rapper Mouad Belghouat. A year in prison certainly makes one reevaluate the benefit of speaking out against corruption. 

Morocco’s rebel rapper to focus on music, studies after release from prison

By Associated Press

CASABLANCA, Morocco — A Moroccan rapper known for his protest songs said Friday after completing a yearlong prison sentence that he will be concentrating on his studies and improving his music and is unsure about further activism.

Mouad Belghouat’s angry rap songs excoriating the gaps between rich and poor in Morocco provided the soundtrack to the North African kingdom’s Arab Spring protest movement in 2011 that called for social justice and greater democracy.

But while Belghouat, known as El-Haqed or “the enraged,” was in prison, the February 20 movement, as it was known, faded away as popular ire with the state was defused by a string of reforms promulgated by the king.

“I will concentrate more on my studies — I have my high school exams to pass in June,” said a pale, subdued 26-year-old Belghouat to journalists and activists, showing only occasional flashes of his trademark irreverent sense of humor. “I played around a lot before, and in prison I discovered the importance of reading more.”


Monday, March 18, 2013

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Exiting Morocco In Protest of Anti-Migrant Violence

Here is a piece from Reuters AlertNet on the notable and significant pull out of Doctors without Borders from Morocco in protest of the violence being met by African migrants in Morocco.

MSF reports rise in anti-migrant violence in Morocco

By Katie Nguyen

LONDON (AlertNet) - Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have been subjected to increasing abuse, degrading treatment and violence by Moroccan and Spanish security forces since the end of 2011, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has said.

In the last year alone, MSF teams in Morocco’s eastern areas of Nador and Oujda, which border Algeria and the Spanish territory of Medilla, have treated the physical wounds of more than 1,100 migrants.

"Since April last year, in particular, we have seen broken arms, legs, hands and jaws, as well as broken teeth and concussions, amongst others," David Cantero, MSF head of mission in Morocco, said in a statement.

"These injuries are consistent with migrants' accounts of having been attacked by the security forces," he added.

In a new report, "Violence, Vulnerability and Migration: Trapped at the Gates of Europe", MSF said the European Union has over the past decade tightened its border controls and increasingly delegated responsibility for policing illegal immigration to countries that border it.

Since December 2011, there has been a "dramatic rise" in police raids on migrant communities in Morocco, MSF said, with reports of pregnant women, children, refugees and asylum seekers arrested and dumped in the no-man's land separating Morocco and Algeria.

And it’s not just security forces that are attacking migrants. MSF also blamed criminal gangs, bandits, smugglers and traffickers for widespread attacks against migrants.

Classified as "illegal" in Morocco, the predominantly West African migrants are offered little or no protection by the Moroccan state and so are attacked with impunity, MSF said.

"MSF's experience shows that the longer that sub-Saharan migrants are in Morocco, the more vulnerable they become," the report said.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Report on Moroccan Migrants: Skills, Destination Countries, Motivations

A new report has been released by the European Training Foundation (ETF) that sheds some light on the lives of Moroccan migrants. Here is an article about the report from the ENPI Information and Communication Support Project.

Morocco: new report sheds light on link between skills and migration
Forty-two per cent of Moroccans would like to emigrate, but only 9% have the proper information, documents and money to do so, according to the results of the largest study of migration in Morocco to date, released by the European Training Foundation (ETF) today.  Of those that did leave, 62% said they learnt a language or acquired other technical or professional skills while abroad, the survey found.
The study “Migration and skills” combined desk research with a survey of 2,600 potential emigrants and 1,400 labour migrants who returned to the country.
The purpose of the study is to contribute to the improvement of migration policies both in the EU and Morocco by providing high-quality data and analysis. The ETF has carried out similar studies in Albania, Egypt, Tunisia, Ukraine and Tajikistan (2006-08) and Armenia and Georgia (2011-12).
The report was released at a seminar in Rabat attended by key Moroccan institutions – Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, Ministry in charge of the Moroccans Living Abroad - as well as the representatives of the EU and researchers.
Morocco has a long history of labour migration to Europe dating back several decades. Currently there are some 3 million Moroccans who have left their country and live abroad, of whom four out of ten are women. 
Key facts and figures from the study: 
  • 42% Moroccans declare intention to emigrate; regions where highest number of people declares intent to migrate are Agadir (52%) and Marrakesh (49%)
  • Only 9% of the potential migrants has proper information, documents and money to emigrate
  • The main destinations are France (32% of returnees), Spain (21%), and Italy (15%)
  • Moroccans prefer long-term emigration: 53% of returnees stayed abroad more than 7 years
  • Economic situation is the main declared reason for migration, but the level of economic well-being doesn’t influence the propensity to migration
  • Most migrants work in hotels and restaurants, in construction and agriculture
  • 60% of returnees worked at the time of the survey, while only 46% of potential migrants had a job, which suggest migration’s positive impact on employability
  • 31% of returnees, mainly those with higher education, benefited from training while abroad
  • 62% of migrants said they learnt a language or acquired other technical or professional skills, but only one third of migrants had their Moroccan qualifications officially recognised
  • Some 45% migrants worked without contract abroad, which limited their entitlement to welfare or pension
  • Migration doesn’t improve the standard of living of the returnees: 74% of them were poor
  • Returnees are more entrepreneurial: 26% of returnees have their own business (compared to 20% among the rest) and 20% employ workers (compared with 7% among the rest)
  • There is little awareness of the government’s programmes for migrants
  • Moroccans return to their country mainly for family reasons (26%); only 5% come back to invest