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Anaouat spurs policy dialogue on child marriage in Morocco

29.03.2019 / Created by (EMWF)
Anaouat spurs policy dialogue on child marriage in Morocco

Child marriage was a the heart of the policy dialogue that Anaouat Pour Femme et Enfant Association (Anaouat for Women and Children Association) organized last 19 March 2019 in Marrakesh, Morocco. Over 40 figures including the Prosecutor of Marrakech, representatives of several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and parties such as the Justice and Development Part, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, and Istiqlal Party, physicians, journalists, and other stakeholders participated at this debate. Participants came up with a national action plan to address the increasing numbers of child marriages which made up to 16% of all registered marriages in in Morocco, according to Africa Human Development Report for 2016, and which mainly concern girls rather than boys according to Unicef (Child Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa, 2017).

Despite the reforms brought by the Moudawana (Family Code), specifically Articles 20 and 21 in 2004, which sets the legal age of marriage at 18, some judges still authorize child marriages using some legal loopholes that provide them with discretion to marry minor girls, under the pretext of preserving the girls and their families ‘honour an reputation (in case of rape, loss of virginity, or simply because of the culture, social norms, and tradition which perpetuate the conservative community support for the practice.)

Following the dialogue, participants were unanimous on the need to repeal of article 20 of the Family Code to ensure the best interests of children, on the basis of a chart to be signed by all the participants, then promoted among all stakeholders, as a first step in launching national advocacy against minors and child marriage.

Apart from the elimination of article 20 of the Family Code, participants proposed a set of important recommendations, including:

  • Supervision of judges to ensure that they do not give permission for minor’s marriage, especially in absence of social expertise or medical investigation, justifying the ‘’urgency’’ of this type of marriages.
  • Provision of sex education to children and teenagers from the age of 7.
  • Setting up centres to prepare children and teenagers for marriage and all its implications on family, household and education, etc.
  • Penalizing all stakeholders involved in facilitating minors’ marriage.
  • Raising physicians and CSO’s awareness and build their capacities to fight child marriage.
  • Engaging religious leaders in fighting child marriage.
  • Lobbying for the application of international agreements signed by the Kingdom of Morocco.
  • Setting up a Commission on children’s rights to benefit from media to raise awareness regarding the consequences of child marriage, particularly underage girls.

It is worth mentioning that this dialogue is the final stage of a campaign conducted by Anaout Association in the three rural municipalities of Sidi Mhammed Dalil, Sid lmokhtar and Mzouda in the province of Chichaoua reduce the number of female child marriages. These activities were implemented within the framework of the CSO WINS project «Capacity building in Southern Mediterranean to open policy dialogue and monitoring for women in society» which is funded by the European Union and coordinated by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) in synergy with the action of the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation (FFEM).

More information in this campaign are available in the link below

Video

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