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Policy Analysis


Morocco: Prospects for Civil Society

Vish Sakthivel

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Beyond Islamists and Autocrats Essay Series

August 2015

This second chapter in the essay series Beyond Islamists and Autocrats examines the increasingly influential role played by civil society organizations in Morocco's push for rights reforms.

Despite the upheavals wrought elsewhere in the Middle East by the Arab Spring uprisings, the 2011 protests in Morocco did little to loosen King Mohammed VI's hold on power. Nonetheless, influential civil society organizations have subsequently spoken with a stronger voice, including groups focused on women's and reproductive rights, human rights, Amazigh (Berber) advocacy, and democratic development, along with trade unions. For many citizens, such groups represent the only authentic way to strive for reform on various issues, and are thus well worth examining. In this essay, the second in the Institute series, Beyond Islamists and Autocrats, Vish Sakthivel looks closely at obstacles to reform in the Moroccan context, as well as opportunities for CSOs to attain limited but meaningful gains.