The arrest caused a stir in the North African country as it occurred two days after Gnawi released the song ‘Aacha el-Chaab’ (‘long live the people’) with artists Weld l’Griya and LZ3ER. The song, which has been viewed more than 13 million times on YouTube, criticizes the police and the king and denounces the social conditions affecting Moroccan youth.
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Non-refoulement is the central principle of international refugee law, which stipulates that nobody can be returned to their country of origin or any country where they have a well-founded fear of torture or persecution. As a compromise, the GCM does not explicitly include the words ‘non-refoulement’ but it does stipulate in Objective 21 ‘the prohibition of collective expulsion and of returning migrants when there is a real and foreseeable risk of death and torture’.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that riot police even drove a van into a 16-year-old boy. Police agents also broke into houses and beat several men before hauling them away. While carrying out its research, HRW said that its employees were closely monitored by security services, effectively scaring activists from cooperating with the organization. However, repressing the demonstrations will not eliminate grievances that promise to boil over again.
In an effort to curb religious extremism and enhance open-mindedness, King Mohammed VI called for the “simplification and modernization of compulsory Islamic education in state schools”. This call is increasingly being supported by Morocco’s intellectuals, who believe that inclusive and multi-dimensional approaches to religious teaching are the only guarantee of a lasting solution to rising religious extremism.
Overall, Moroccan and international media, notably al-Jazeera, have described the sanction as a legal revolution that will strengthen Morocco’s reputation as the champion of moderate Islam. This revolution will likely entail others such as equality in inheritance, another highly anticipated breakthrough.