Morocco- Human Rights Council - Women's Rights - Sept. 2016

The Advocates for Human Rights and Mobilising for Rights Associates submitted a joint stakeholder report addressing violence against Morocco to the Human Rights Council for the 2017 Universal Perioic Review of Morocco.

During its 2012 Universal Periodic Review, Morocco accepted 26 recommendations to address violence against women, domestic violence, sexual assault, marriage of minors, and the discriminatory provisions of the Penal and Family Codes. Morocco has only partially implemented the recommendations.

Violence against women remains a widespread problem in Morocco. Victims of violence in Morocco lack access to sufficient housing and health care. The government of Morocco has failed to abolish polygamy, and the approval rate is high for authorizaiton to take another wife. Men and women stilll have unequal access to divorce. Marriages to youngs girls are frequent, and the apparoval rate s increasing.

Women in Morocco experience multiple barriers to reporting sexual harasssment and violence, including lack of trust in police and the judicial system and fear of reprisal. Current laws have legal gaps; are insufficient to prevent, investigate, and punish violence against women; are discriminatory; and are rarely enforced by the justice system. Rape cases must include phuysical injuries to prove non-consent, and victims who report rape risk being prosecuted of illicit sexual relations. Victims of domestic abuse must suffer 20 days of disability in order to file a criminal assault complaint.

The joint stakeholder report makes various recommendations to the government of Morocco. Morocco should effectively implement its new constitution and pass a comprehensive Violence Against Women Law (VAW) that contains both criminal and civil provisions. The VAW law should integrate prevention, protection, criminalization, and concrete compensation and services for all women victims of violence. The Family Code should be amended to abolish all forms of polygamy, eliminate discrimination between men and women in accessing divorce, and abolish the marriage of minors.