Fadila M. was a Soulaliyate tribal activist from Azrou, the Ifrane region of Morocco. She fought against a specific form of land discrimination directed against tribal women.
As part of the Soulaliyate Women’s Land-Use Rights Movement, she worked towards overhauling the framework legislation relating to the management of community property through the 2019 adoption of three projects of laws guaranteeing the equality of women and men.
According to the customary laws in force, women had no right to benefit from the land, especially those who were single, widowed or divorced. The rights to collective land in Morocco were transmitted traditionally between male members of a family of over 16 years of age. Since 2007, Fadila M. had been part of the women’s movement, the first grassroots nationwide mobilization for land rights. Some of the achievements included that in 2012 for the first time Soulaliyate women were able to register on the lists of beneficiaries and to benefit from compensation relating to land cession. The movement also managed to get the 1919 dahir (Moroccan King's decree) amended to guarantee women the right to equality.
Fadila M. died on 27 September 2018. The circumstances of her death are unclear. She was part of a protest march connected to the issue of collective land and while authorities reported her death as being accidental, and her having a cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital, the local section of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) pointed out that Fadila was suffocated by a member of the police force using a Moroccan flag. Her family requested investigation but the results of the autopsy were not known.
Find out more about the Soulaliyate Women’s Land-Use Rights Movement
Please note: As there was no photograph/image of Fadila M. available to us, the artwork (instead of a portrait) aims to represent what she fought and worked for; land and rights to live and have access to that land and what grows on it.