Child marriage was a the heart of the policy dialogue that Anaouat pour la femme et l’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:
It is worth mentioning that this dialogue is the final stage of a campaign conducted by Anaouat 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
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.