Jul 05, 2016

Amazigh: Morocco Upholds Ban of Traditional Names

Photo Courtesy of: Fadel Senna 2016 @Getty Images

Even though the official recognition of Amazigh language and culture is finally enshrined in Morocco’s constitution, de facto the country’s authorities continue to suppress Amazigh people expressing their unique cultural identity, as evidenced, for instance, by the still prevailing ban of Amazigh names. Even though the Amazigh’s nonviolent and increasingly vocal struggle for the protection and proper recognition of Amazigh heritage has brought about some significant improvements, the upholding of the ban of Amazigh names is a stark reminder that the way ahead to full recognition and protection of and equality for Amazigh culture and heritage is still a long one.  


Below is an article published by Amazigh World News:

The Moroccan Interior Ministry has once again turned down a request of an Amazigh couple from Meknes by denying them the right to name their new-born daughter an Amazigh name, Yelli (“My Daughter”), who was born on 15 June 2016.

Although the new Moroccan constitutional carry law gives Amazigh parents the absolute right to name their children Amazigh names, Amazigh people are still facing intimidation and difficulty at the birth registration office when they decide to use Amazigh names.

The father, Jadou Driss, has vowed to keep the name. “We have named our daughter Yelli. Whether they will give identity card or not, she will remain Yelli. We will never change her name”.

Historically, the Amazigh language was criminalized, and those who used Amazigh names were immediately denied. But due to the increasingly vocal Amazigh protest movement, the Moroccan state could not afford to continue criminalising Amazigh language, and gradually language rights were slowly granted in principle, but never in practice.