Background:

Collective lands represent the highest concentration of available land and natural resource reserves in Morocco. Morocco’s collective lands historically belong to certain ethnic groups and are governed by a law issued in 1919 regulating these groups’ customary practices. These lands were traditionally used collectively, though were later distributed to family groups, and more recently to heads of households (i.e. males).

In recent years, the sale of collective lands to public and private real-estate companies groups has accelerated. These sales contribute to the collective insecurity of hundreds of thousands of women since compensations (money or plots of land located elsewhere) have traditionally only benefited men, regardless of age or marital status.

After a struggle of more than four years, on October 25, 2010 the Interior Ministry issued a circular recognizing the right of these women to receive equal compensation. This decision crowns a continuous and innovative advocacy campaign conducted by ADFM, and its partners since 2007 and rewards Soulaliyate women’s efforts in the fight against their exclusion.

However, the ability of Soulaliyate women to receive equal compensation remains threatened by those who seek to circumvent the ruling, and by a lack of commitment to enforce it by some authorities. Additionally, Soulaliyate women are still denied equal access to “the usufruct” (farming, pastoralism or other uses) of collective lands.

Currently, ADFM continues its support of Soulaliyate women and ensures implementation of the circular, particularly through:
– Training and raising awareness on the procedures related to the circular and the sale of collective lands,
– working on a revision of the law of 1919 governing the status of collective lands so that all Soulaliyate women are recognized by the benefits of the law, not just an administrative circular.

Watch a 15 minute video on the Soulaliyates here.

ADFM is WLP’s partner in Morocco. WLP serves as IWDN’s Secretariat.

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