Community Reparation Program in Morocco: Contribution to Transitional Justice

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General Context

The Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) adopted a comprehensive concept of reparation including both communities and regions that suffered or believe that they had suffered collective harms following serious and systematic violations. This concept is based on two main criteria: first, the existence of secret detention centers in the areas concerned, their resulting economic marginalization and the stigma they had to endure; second, the regions that witnessed social unrest followed by collective punishment as well as social and economic marginalization.

Based on this perception of social actors, the Commission recommended that victims be rehabilitated in a broad and collective way, while proposing to give a special attention to economic, social, cultural and environmental rights of these regions, as well as the history of these areas and positively converting some detention centers into memory preservation centers in order to restore confidence between the state and the local population and facilitate the reconciliation process. The Commission’s recommendation on community reparation covers some areas in the provinces of Figuig, Errachidia, Ouarzazate, Zagora, Tan Tan, Azilal, Khemisset, Al-Hoceima, Nador, Hay Mohammadi, Khenifra, Tinghir and Midelt.

The Advisory Council on Human Rights (CCDH), which became in March 2011 the National Council on Human Rights (CCDH), elaborated, part of its task of monitoring the implementation of the IER recommendations, a methodology and several plans to put into practice the recommendation on community reparation. This consists in institutional organization with a view of mobilizing partners, implementing the plan in all its components, putting in place an assessment and monitoring mechanism, and finally documenting and communicating on the experience.

Institutional Structure

As soon as the program was launched in 2007, the Council on, supported by its national and international partners, started coordinating to set an appropriate institutional framework to follow up the community reparation program (CRP) implementation. To this end, a national steering committee was created to see to the CRP compliance with the IER recommendations, supervise strategy related aspects and guarantee financial transparency and external advocacy. Moreover, local coordination bodies were set up in all the regions concerned, as well as a Board of Local Coordination Bodies. The Council also supervised the creation of management units entrusted with the technical monitoring of the program.

The program’s institutional structure proved useful in many ways, mainly:

  • It provides a participatory space of debate between the various stakeholders (public authorities, elected bodies and the civil society) ;
  • It is flexible with regional and central extensions;
  • It takes into consideration the gender approach;
  • It ensures pluralism in terms of players involved and takes into account cultural and linguistic diversity;
  • It promoted the renewal of human rights elites, by involving regional expertise in human rights issues at the national level;
  • It also built bridges between political entities and technical management units.

Elaborating Local Action Plans

During the first period of the program, the Council supervised the organization of local workshops with local coordination bodies, part of implement the Commission’s recommendation on reparation in order to develop local action plans in all regions. This action led to the completion of a regional plan for each area. In general, the proposed local plans evolved around four main topics, namely:

  • Strengthening local players’ capacities;
  • Positive preservation of memory;
  • Improving the living conditions of the population (improving services, improving access from and to isolated regions, developing alternative income generating activities and protecting the environment);
  • Promoting and improving conditions for women and children.

The way regional plans were built constituted a moment of strength for the local coordination bodies, through the effects they had:

  • Adopting a participatory approach among the various players (local authorities, elected bodies and civil society);
  • Creating new ways for training and information exchange between the various parties;5
  • Developing mechanisms for joint thinking and planning;
  • making out of plans a road map for all stakeholders, and a project bank in other circumstances.

Mobilizing Partnerships

The Council mobilized many partnerships to support the community reparation program (government departments, the European Union, UNIFEM, civil society organizations, institutions and agencies).

A total sum of 159,799,892.00 dirhams was mobilized, distributed as follows:

  • Contribution by the government: DH 95,853,207.00
  • Contribution by international stakeholders (EU, UNIFEM, etc.): DH 39,865,000.00
  • Contribution by the Council: DH10, 519,635.00
  • Contribution by the CDG Foundation: DH 7,680,000.00
  • Contribution by local associations: DH 5,882,050.00
  • Total amount: DH 159,799,892.00
  • Total number of completed projects: 149

One of the strong elements of the program is mobilizing partnerships which revealed the importance of advocacy and awareness-raising in attracting enthusiastic partners. Generally, this axis was characterized by:

  • Extensive mobilization of partnerships (23 partnership agreements);
  • Diversity of partnerships touching on multiple fields (social, cultural, economic, environmental, etc.);
  • Broad involvement of civil society associations in monitoring and facilitating the implementation of the program;
  • Clarity, accuracy and transparency of procedures gave greater credibility to the program;
  • The program helped stimulate interest in the culture of human rights among government spheres, and managed to lay down a human rights organizational unit within government departments through the committees in charge of partnership follow-up.

Positive Preservation of Memory

Memory preservation was a key element in the international experiences of transitional justice, given its importance in the reconciliation process in any country.

Memory preservation is considered, publicly and officially, part of the will to draw lessons from the past, overcome its tragedies and guarantee the non reoccurrence of these. Therefore, the question of memory triggred a particular interest in the Moroccan experience of transitional justice, be it during the IER mandate or in the action of the CCDH, and later CNDH, regarding the implementation of the IER recommendations.

Within this framework, sixteen projects were carried out by various associations, with a budget of DH 7,611,812.56.Memory preservation was at the heart of the community reparation program and constituted the link between all its components. Through this axis, the CRP was able to:

  • Encourage various players to have a collective and pluralistic reading of many tragic events in Morocco’s modern history;
  • Emphasize the importance of converting individual memory into a collective heritage that the public can take ownership of;
  • Enable local players to contribute to recording several aspects of local memory through written or visual media.


To make sure all relevant players are involved in supporting CRP, the Council coordinated crosscutting training sessions in all coordination bodies, with a budget of 1,580,555055 dirhams.

The workshops focused on community reparation, participative approach, empowerment, positive conflict management, good governance, gender approach and project engineering.

Besides, 28 space-centered projects that meet special local needs were carried out by the associations, with a budget of 11,895,695.00 dirhams. These projects greatly contributed to strengthening local stakeholders’ capacities.

In the same vein, the Equity and Reconciliation Commission had issued several recommendations on history, archives and memory, which were included in a parallel program, called IER 2 that has been supported by the European Union. As part of implementing those recommendations, a modern law on archives was adopted in 2007 and the institution of Archives du Maroc was established in 2011. A Master’s in Contemporary History was set up and four international conferences were organized in order to create three regional museums and Morocco's History House. Several other programs are underway.

Indeed, the program contributed significantly to:

  • Reinforcing the capacities of stakeholders in new fields and local expertise;
  • Enabling local players to develop skills relating to calls for projects; 400 responses were received despite complex procedural requirements;
  • Developing local expertise and professional teams to ensure the follow up of international procedures in terms of projects (11 focal points and 80 program coordinators);
  • Helping associations have direct access to international financing opportunities.

Improving income

Social stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Social Development, National Mutual Aid Department and Agency for Development of Eastern Regions, were involved in the CRP income-generating activities, aimed at combating vulnerability and reinforcing economic capacities of the communities covered by this program.

In this context, local associations implemented 35 projects with a budget of DH 15,183,000.00.

Promoting Women's Rights

In addition to the women-oriented projects implemented part of collective rights and services with a total budget of 15 million dirhams, along with the crosscutting projects involving various themes linked to women’s rights, the Council launched several projects specifically aimed at improving the conditions of women, with a budget of DH 4,664,000.00.

On the whole, the gender approach received special interest under the IER mandate and the CRP implementation process. In this regard, the program achieved the goals below:

  • Integrating women's associations in the Program’s management structures;
  • Integrating the gender approach in the various projects, and contributing to implementing it on the regional and local level;
  • Strengthening women's leadership capacities, facilitating their access to management and governance positions, and promoting their advocacy capacities;
  • Efforts to reveal the double suffering of women during periods of conflict, and emphasizing the importance of developing special programs for these women.
  • Devising alternative community development schemes for women.

Access to Collective Rights and Services

With a total budget of DH 95,853,207.00, several projects have been carried out on literacy, training local players, building vocational training and multidisciplinary centers, organizing summer camps, and conducting social engineering projects in the communities covered by the CRP.

This axis raised a lot of questions by some observers as they considered that it falls within the field of pure local development. However, we can make the following remarks based on the results:

  • The projects carried out under this axis were proposed by the local population, who considered that reparation is directly linked to improving its economic and social conditions;
  • The implementation of projects under this axis was an opportunity to put the philosophy of reparation into practice and achieve real reconciliation with large categories of the population;
  • This axis was implemented in total connection with the other axes (capacitybuilding, memory preservation); thanks to several mechanisms, the activities conducted included the dimension of memory preservation and human rights protection.

Assessment and monitoring

Along with launching and implementing the community reparation program, continuous meetings of the organizational bodies set up to monitor its implementation were held. Indeed, the National Steering Committee and the local coordination bodies convened several times to follow up the development of the program.

During the course of the program, assessment days were organized nationally and locally to take stock of the gains achieved and the constraints facing the implementation of the program. In this vein, an external expert study and an audit were conducted. The following items can be highlighted:

  • The importance of assessment in improving the performance of the program throughout its various stages;
  • The role of local internal evaluation in overcoming the constraints and unifying vision between the different actors;
  • The role of national internal evaluation in connecting the program’s various hierarchical structures and exchanging experiences between coordination bodies;
  • The role of external assessment in detecting some imbalances likely to affect the program;9
  • The role of audit in underscoring the program’s credibility and transparency.

Documenting and Experience Sharing

In view of its paramount importance in capitalizing the achievements made and sharing experiences, the Council ensured that the process is documented throughout the implementation of the CRP. A series of audio-visual works have been republished and disseminated, as widely as possible, among the public concerned. The Council also:

  • Provided important material on the program;
  • Developed field experiences and diversified academic expertise;
  • Organized regional, national and international seminars to disseminate the Moroccan experience;
  • Established cooperation with the International Center for Transitional Justice, and was open to other experiences (reparation / memory / education).

Awareness-raising and Communication

The Council carried out communication and sensitization activities around the program, through various means (internal and external). In fact, more than 500 newspaper articles were published, and dozens of television programs were produced during the course of the program. Besides, local, national and international meetings were regularly held to share experiences. All these actions helped entrench the concept of community reparation in the frequently used human rights jargon.

Fait partie de la collection Community Reparation in Morocco