Military service, including exemptions, particularly those granted to conscientious objectors; whether there is alternative service; penalties imposed on those who refuse to enlist (2003–M arch 2004) [MAR42527.FE]

In referring to the Moroccan Minister of the Interior’s recent order regarding the census of those called up for compulsory military service for 2004, two sources indicated that this operation targeted

all persons who reach the age of 19 during the year and who have a level of study equivalent to at least the end of the second year of high school, as well as persons aged 19 and over who possess professional training or specialized degrees that meet the needs of the Royal Armed Forces.
. . .
single females aged 20 to 27 years who want to volunteer for military service can submit their applications for military service (MAP 5 Mar. 2004; Muzna 5 Mar. 2004).

The same sources indicated that the ministerial order was [translation] “issued under Decree No. 2-99-1064 of 20 March 2000, in accordance with Bill 4-99 on military service” (ibid.; MAP 5 Mar. 2004).

The Maroc Hebdo International referred to Bill 4–99 on military service and noted in its 9 to 15 January 2004 issue that [translation] “military service is compulsory for men in Morocco, though it is open to all women who want to serve.” The Moroccan weekly also added that [translation] “persons who have not completed their military service are prohibited from applying for employment in either the public or the private sector” (Maroc Hebdo International 9–15 Jan. 2004). The same source mentioned that [translation] “men who have a major physical handicap, are supporting a family, or hold certain positions, such as educator or parliamentarian, are exempted from military service” (ibid.). With regard to the penalties imposed on persons who refuse to serve in the military, the law prescribes [translation] “a fine of 1,200 DH and a prison sentence of 8 days to one month” (ibid.).

According to the exchange rate on 24 March 2004, 1,200 DH is equivalent to CA$178.56 (Bank of Canada 24 Mar. 2004).

During a 24 March 2004 telephone interview, the First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Ottawa stated that enlistment in Morocco has, in fact, been more optional than compulsory over the last few years, and that penalties prescribed by law have never been imposed. However, completing military service gives a person a certain advantage in finding employment, especially in the public sector (Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco 24 Mar. 2004).

With regard to alternative service, the First Secretary explained that a person who does not want to bear arms can, within a military framework, carry out other duties related to his or her professional training (medical services, engineering projects, etc.) (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Canada. 24 March 2004. Bank of Canada. “Convertisseur éclair de devises.” [Accessed 24 Mar. 2004]

Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco [Ottawa]. 24 March 2004. Telephone interview with the First Secretary.

Maghreb Arabe Press (MAP) [Rabat]. 5 March 2004. “Publication au BO d'un arrêté du ministre de l'Intérieur fixant le conditions de recensement des assujettis au service militaire.” [Accessed 23 Mar. 2004]

Maroc Hebdo International [Rabat]. No. 587. 9–15 January 2004. “Mise à jour des listes des assujettis au service militaire. Le retour à la norme.” [Accessed 24 Mar. 2004]

Muzna. 5 March 2004. “Mauvaise nouvelle : Service militaire obligatoire : publication d'un arrêté ministériel.” [Accessed 23 Mar. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential

Africa Research Bulletin

Jeune Afrique/L’Intelligent

Resource Centre country file. Morocco.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International,, Child Soldiers, Dialog, FIDH, HRW, Le Matin, La Nouvelle Tribune, UNHCR.