Morocco Human Rights Council Women's Rights June 2014

The Advocates for Human Rights in collaboration with Mobilising for Rights Associates submitted a Joint Written Statement on violence against women for 2012 Morocco’s interim report subsequent to its Universal Periodic Review. This report assesses Morocco’s implementation to date of accepted UPR recommendations on women’s rights.

Violence against women and other forms of discrimination against women are widespread problems in Morocco. Since 2006, the Moroccan government has made numerous and ongoing public declarations nationally and to international bodies of its intention to promulgate a violence against women law. Nevertheless, no specific legislation addressing violence against women exists in Morocco. Instead, violence against women is covered under the outdated, generally applicable provisions of the 1962 Penal Code.

In February 2014, a law was promulgated eliminating the second paragraph of Penal Code article 475, which established that whoever “abducts or deceives” a minor, without using violence, threat or fraud, can escape prosecution and imprisonment if the abductor marries the victim. However, abrogating this single paragraph is of limited impact without more comprehensive accompanying measures. Finally, although other legal measures have been adopted to guarantee gender equality before the law, official authorities have not effectively implemented them. In addition, discriminatory legal provisions continue to place the burden of proof solely on the victim of violence.

The three categories of recommendations that were accepted by Morocco as part of the Universal Periodic Review were:

  • Violence against women;
  • Abrogation of the provisions that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims; and
  • Adoption of measures to ensure their punishment; and modification of existing legislation to assure gender equality.