International Youth Camp Morocco 2018
From 1 till 6 September the 20th edition of the International Youth Camp Morocco took place in Marrakech. Two of our three National Student Coordinators (NSC) joined the camp. Our newest NSC is Tristan Collette, a master student from Groningen. Let’s hear from him what went down in Marrakech!
Together with other members of Amnesty youth sections from France, Switzerland, Italy, Norway and Morocco, Daphne and I took part in this year’s Youth Camp. Our purpose was to set an agenda with common goals, find ways to cooperate and achieve these goals successfully, exchange experiences and getting to know each other’s difficulties and successes. We were warm-heartedly and friendly welcomed by the Moroccan section, a feeling that remained uninterrupted throughout the whole week.
From early in the morning until late in the evening we engaged in activities such as workshops on the foundations of Amnesty, answering questions of who we are and how we work as a global community and how we operate. Apart from the workshops we also organized discussions about the death penalty. Of course, as Amnesty we clearly stand against the death penalty, but we prepared a debate in which one side was in favor and the other side argued against it. This forced us to think like those against whom we usually argue and take their perspective, instead of merely seeking information reinforcing our own believes. To illustrate the variety of activities, we also engaged with the current Brave Campaign through artistic plays and performances in mixed Amnesty groups. What impressed me the most was how we as a group of people who did not know each other before the Youth Camp, could successfully keep the balance between a fun and relaxed atmosphere while simultaneously being aware of the seriousness of the cases and topics that are at the heart of Amnesty’s work. Some of the events and actions were filmed and captured by journalists from the national Moroccan TV-Channel, featuring us in the news.
We also did an action against the detention of protesters in the Rif-region. The united Amnesty Youth Groups objected the detainment of twenty protesters without fair trial. The Rif-movement evolved as a resistance against the deliberate structural and socio-economic neglect of the Berber-speaking Rif-region. One of the demands of the protesters was, for example, to construct hospitals, schools, roads, universities within the region since all of which were missing as a result of systematic neglect by the Moroccan government. The protest was conducted peacefully, but crushed down violently and brutally by police forces- Many protestors face now up to 20 years in prison! For more information, check out this link!
To conclude, the Moroccan section of Amnesty International was extremely welcoming, kind and warm-hearted. At the end of the week they told us that we are now part of their family and invited to visit anytime (and that was not just an empty phrase). Leaving after such an intense and empowering week was difficult, but gave our section –or at least me personally- the reaffirmation that all over the world Amnesty has young and passionate human rights defenders who are, within one single week, able to immediately cooperate and defend human rights through united effort and actions.