Morocco: Country profile 2013 - 2018

This country profile summarizes the findings of the Social Rights Monitor carried out in Morocco between 2013 and 2018. The Social Rights Monitor is a tool developed by SOLIDAR members and partners to allow partner organizations and allies based in the country to assess the situations in terms of social protection, decent work and an enabling environment and track the progress made since the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the partnership priorities established with the EU. Most of the reports have been developed in the framework of a regional programme “Mobilizing for Social Justice: Decent Work, Social Protection and Freedom of Association in the Middle East and North Africa region” led by SOLIDAR.

In the case of Morocco, the respondents to the social rights monitor (SRM) highlighted that there is a need to reinforce the participatory approach towards civil society organizations to reinforce the trust between the government, the EU and the civil society and that more investment and efforts are yet to be made in the areas of social protection and decent work. As showed by the Civicus Monitor, which looks are civil society space in the world, Morocco is indeed rated as obstructed, while the ITUC Global right index indicates that repeated labour rights violations occur in Morocco. In light of the situation, the SRM concluded that it is in the interests of the EU to support the Moroccan government in implementing appropriate social policies. It is only through an open, dynamic, engaged, solidarity-based society that stability and security in the country can be achieved.

 

Respectively to Morocco, our recommendations towards the EU and its European Neighborhood Policy are to:

  • Promote an inclusive and human rights-based approach to development based on cooperation with CSOs
  • Reinforce the health care system answering the criteria of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality
  • Tackle regional inequalities in accessing quality health care
  • Promote the adoption of a universal social protection system
  • Promote simplification of administrative procedures to access social benefits and pensions
  • Promote education and employment policies based on the country’s market needs
  • Promote a deep study of the informal sector to better understand its scope and implications
  • Promote the organization of regular and systematic collective bargaining including government’s, employers and workers’ representatives
  • Promote trade unions freedom and independence
  • Promote fight for transparency and against corruption
  • Promote employment of the youths

 

SOCIAL RIGHTS MONITOR – SUMMARY

2013

SOLIDAR invited civil society organizations, think tanks, social movements, local development agencies and independent trade unions to provide feedback on the 2013 Progress Report on the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy and to comment against six benchmarks which include (1) Freedom of peaceful assembly and association; (2) Freedom of expression and information; (3) Democratic transition and civil dialogue; (4) Respect for labour rights and decent work; (5) Access and coverage of quality services; (6) Ensuring income support.

Key fact-findings:

Social protection

  • Regional disparities regarding access to employment and quality education and health services,
  • Lack of policies to tackle inequalities, poverty and exclusion

Decent Work

  • Salaries reductions and layoffs due to the economic crisis and influence of neoliberal policies
  • High unemployment rates especially amongst young graduates
  • Exploitation in the informal sector and labour law violations in the private sector partly due to insufficient state control
  • Child labour in the informal sector

Freedom of Association

  • Associations solicited for local policies but excluded from national dialogue on civil society
  • Easier to create associations than before despite administrative burden to register
  • Lack of transparency on grants attribution
  • Many peaceful demonstrations but with punctual arbitrary arrests and cases of violence
  • No proper right to strike
  • Syndicate activities forbidden in some factories

 

2014

SOLIDAR invited civil society organizations, think tanks, social movements, local development agencies and independent trade unions to provide feedback on the 2014 Progress Report on the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy 2014 and to comment against six benchmarks which include (1) Access to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs); (2) Ability to establish associations and their access to funding; (3) Participation in decision-making processes (including EU delegations); (4) Setup of social protection floors; (5) growing informal economy and indecent work; (6) Respect for migrant workers’ rights

Key fact-findings:

Social protection

  • Regional disparities regarding access to quality education and health services
  • Reforms implemented to improve democratic access to health, social protection and social security
  • Unequal social protection level between the public and private sector

Decent Work

  • Great unemployment rates especially amongst youth
  • Lack of legislation to ensure decent work and regulate the informal economy representing 30% of the workforce
  • Ratification of ILO Convention 187 on the promotion of occupational safety and health

Freedom of Association

  • Draft bill of law restricting the right to strike
  • Draft law on freedom and independence of associations
  • Administrative burden to create and manage associations

 

2015

SOLIDAR, the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), and the Euromed Non-Governmental Platform invited civil society organizations, think tanks, social movements, local development agencies and independent trade unions to comment the 2015 Progress Report developed by the EU on the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). 

The purpose is to see how the ENP, and its related programming documents, include (or not) the promotion of social protection for all or any of the following benchmarks and indicators: (1) Improving equitable access to essential services; (2) Ensuring Income security; (3) Promoting a Rights Based Approach to Social Protection; (4) Freedom of association; (5) Financing Social Protection.

Key fact-findings:

Social protection

  • Inequal access to quality education and health services (regional, financial and gender discriminations)
  • Extension of compulsory medical insurance but 50% of Moroccans do not enjoy health coverage
  • Ambitious vocational training strategy but system not ready yet to absorb 45% of youth unemployment
  • Social security only covers a third of the active population
  • Pension system inadequate

Decent Work

  • High unemployment rates especially amongst youth
  • State decree fixing a minimum wage in industry, trade, agriculture and self-employed professions
  • Insufficient salaries

Freedom of Association

  • Restriction of freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • Criminal proceedings against journalists, activists and artists
  • Social actors’ activities systematically prohibited
  • Human Rights organization not allowed to obtain official registration
  • Success of a collective bargain agreement covering 1000 agricultural workers between the Democratic Labor Confederation and an agribusiness employer

 

2018

Consultations with civil society organizations, including SOLIDAR members and project partners, have been conducted within the seven countries covered by the project ‘Decent Work, Social Protection and Freedom of Association in the Middle East and North Africa: Mobilizing for Social Justice by strengthening and promoting CSOs, social movements and independent trade unions’ role in reforms and democratic changes’. Qualitative feedback was collected on the basis of a questionnaire, the so-called ‘Social Rights Monitor’, offering room for civil society organizations and independent trade unions to explain and provide input along three dimensions, namely social protection, decent work and freedom of association. It includes the following indicators: (1) Access to essential services in particular health care; (2) Income security; (3) Poverty reduction and opportunities; (4) labour rights and working conditions; (5) Employment; (6) Social dialogue; (7) Civil society space; (8) Freedom of peaceful assembly and association; (9) Freedom of expression; opinion; and rights to information.

Key fact-findings:

Social protection

  • Unequal access to quality education and health services (regional, financial and gender discriminations)
  • Implementation of mandatory basic sickness insurance and medical assistance scheme but unaffordable and inaccessible to the poorest
  • Unemployment benefits difficult to claim
  • Pension insufficient
  • Poverty not tackled efficiently by governmental reforms

Decent Work

  • Fragmented and discriminatory wage scheme (age, gender, in/formal sector, regional)
  • Bad working conditions in the construction sector
  • Child labour
  • Labour policies unable to tackle unemployment and misfit between workforce qualifications and market offers

Freedom of Association

  • Larger and more dynamic civil society actively promoting Human Rights and the rule of law
  • Expansion of CSOs’ role in policymaking and the public sphere
  • Gap between texts and practice revealing difficulties in implementing and protecting rights and freedoms
  • Administrative burden and restrictions to register
  • Punctual arrests during peaceful demonstrations and strikes
  • Future of civil society space unsure

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