Monday 19 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/15/18)
The Moroccan parliament on Wednesday, after months of heated debate, adopted a law first drafted five years ago to combat violence against women. "Thank God!" Hassima Hakkaoui, the minister of family affairs, women and solidarity, wrote on her Facebook page, after the law first drafted in 2013 was ratified by a vote of 112 for, 55 against and one abstention. Her department said the law, for the first time in Morocco, criminalises "acts considered forms of harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill treatment" of women. Commentators on social media noted that the law finally passed on Saint Valentine's Day.
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the interest of China to spy," AU commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said during a visit to Beijing, where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss deepening cooperation on a variety of issues, as well as opening a...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
Human Rights Watch called on Morocco Tuesday to urgently reexamine the sentencing of an activist to five years in prison based on a confession that it said may have been coerced. El Mortada Iamrachen, a 31-year-old member of a protest movement in Morocco's neglected northern Rif region, was convicted in November of "defending terrorism" and incitement. A court is expected to hear his appeal on Wednesday. New York-based HRW said Iamrachen's conviction was based on a "possibly coerced confession". "Once...
(AFP (eng) 02/06/18)
The Polisario Front which seeks independence for Western Sahara said Monday it is ready for direct negotiations with Morocco on the future of the disputed territory. Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, foreign minister of the self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic which controls a thin strip of the territory, said a Polisario delegation had met in Berlin on January 25 with the UN envoy on Western Sahara, Horst Koehler. "This is a new phase of discussions aimed at preparing for a new...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
After years fighting to evict tenants he believes are backed by corrupt officials, Slimane Brihmi called a much-heralded anti-graft hotline in Morocco -- but it made no difference. Like many countries struggling with endemic corruption, the North African kingdom has launched various initiatives to tackle the phenomenon. The toll-free "Green Number" is an anonymous service launched with much fanfare in June 2015 to let members of the public report on corrupt officials. Hicham Mellati, acting director for criminal cases at...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
A Moroccan court sentenced to death a man over the murder of a member of parliament and jailed his widow, in a case involving sex and money, the government said Tuesday. Abdellatif Merdas, who was a member of the liberal Constitutional Union party, was gunned down near his house in Casablanca in March last year. A local councillor, Hicham Mouchtari, was sentenced to death on Monday after he was convicted of "premeditated murder", the justice ministry said. Merdas's widow, Ouafae...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members...
(APA 12/15/17)
Morocco’s accession to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will not be on the agenda of the 52nd ECOWAS Summit on December 16 in Abuja, but will take place at an extraordinary summit in early 2018, according to reports from Morocco seen by APA Friday. Last June at the Monrovia Summit, ECOWAS leaders gave their agreement in principle for the Kingdom’s accession. An impact study on the subject was also ordered, and ECOWAS teams travelled to Morocco to...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Morocco's capital Rabat on Sunday as demonstrations against US President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital continued to spread. Waving Palestinian flags, a sea of demonstrators marched from Rabat's Bab el-Had square to Morocco's parliament building, down Mohammed VI Avenue, the city's main thoroughfare. "Jerusalem, capital of Palestine!" read a banner carried by the protesters, who included families, Islamist sympathisers, trade unionists and local activists. "The Palestinian people have suffered so...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Tuesday warned US President Donald Trump against moving the American embassy to the contested holy city of Jerusalem. Trump informed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas by phone of his intention to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, Abbas's office said Tuesday. In an open letter to the American president, the Moroccan king expressed his "deep personal concern" and "the great concern felt by Arab and Muslim states and peoples" over moves to recognise the city as...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The hunger-striking leader of a Moroccan protest movement that rocked the country's north was rushed to hospital Tuesday during a hearing at a Casablanca court, one of his lawyers said. Detained Nasser Zefzafi was attending a hearing at a court of appeal Tuesday morning with 53 co-defendants when he said he "felt faint", Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui told AFP. The judge halted the hearing. An unemployed 39-year-old, Zefzafi became a leading figure in Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or the "Popular Movement" that broke...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
A Moroccan court on Thursday sentenced to five years in jail a member of a northern protest movement convicted of "defending terrorism" and incitement, the official MAP news agency said. Police arrested El Mortada Iamrachen in June after he posted the offending comments on his Facebook page, the agency said. A court dealing with "terrorism affairs" issued the guilty verdict against him on Thursday, MAP said. Other Moroccan media said the comments Iamrachen had posted on Facebook were about a December 2016 attack that killed the Russian ambassador in Turkey.
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.

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