Morocco gender equality: Long way to go

2013-01-24 09:54

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rabat - Women's rights in Morocco are poised to make a breakthrough with the probable scrapping of a law allowing rapists of minors to avoid jail by marrying them, but the road to gender equality remains long.

The kingdom was shocked in March 2012 by the suicide of Amina Filali, 16, who was forced to marry the man who violated her. For him it was a way under Article 475 of the country's penal code to remain a free man.

On Monday, the country's Islamist government expressed its backing for a bill to repeal this section of the law.

The justice ministry has also said it supports a proposal by parliament to alter the article, under which the rape of a minor is punishable by several years in prison unless the victims and their aggressor wed.

The proposal has yet to be formally approved by both houses, however.

The ministry said it was prepared to go further than scrapping the paragraph on marriage, suggesting harsher punishments for those who rape minors, including up to 30 years in jail rather than the current stipulated five.

"The amendments by nature guarantee the necessary protection for minors against sexual assault," said Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid.

Driss El Yazami, president of the National Council for Human Rights, told AFP that the way was now clear for a favourable amendment in both houses.

"Any progress is noteworthy and it is clear that there was a shocking provision" in the current law, he said, but also called for speedier reforms.

Key concern

"The question is not simply to affirm the principle of equality, but to see how parity" can be achieved, he said, noting that his council urged the creation of a superior body on equality as stipulated under the constitution.

But progress towards gender equality in Morocco is moving slowly.

Since 2004, following an initiative by King Mohammed VI, Morocco has had a new family code (moudawana) governing polygamy.

However, the daily Le Soir Echos has cited alarming data showing that marriages of minors are on the rise in the kingdom, with 34 000 cases reported in 2010 - up from 29 847 in 2008.

A key concern is violence against women, said Khadija Ryadi, president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights.

Six million Moroccan women have suffered physical or verbal violence, more than half suffering abuse in marriages, according to Bassima Hakkaoui, the only female minister in a government dominated by Islamist Justice and Development Party which won the 2011 parliamentary polls.

Media reports have also highlighted other cases.

In early January an attempted suicide by a house maid caused an emotional outpouring in Morocco. The entire incident was recorded on video by a neighbour and posted on the Internet.

The young woman, who leapt from the fourth floor of an apartment building in Casablanca where she worked, said she was raped two years ago and rejected by her family.

She was saved by a young man who caught her but was killed doing so.

Continued exploitation

The maid said afterwards she had wanted to kill herself because of "continued exploitation".

Morocco has up to 80 000 minors who work as domestics, according to several associations.

Last week there was also an angry tumult when a member of parliament initially sentenced to a one-year jail term in a rape case was acquitted on appeal.

"The constitution has allowed some progress in theory, but there has been no tangible contribution," said Ryadi.

"If it hadn't been for the Amina Filali case, we would not have even be talking about Article 475" on the rape of minors, she added.

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings, the kingdom in mid-2011 enshrined "equal rights and freedoms" for men and women, adding that "the state would work to achieve parity" between the two.

Analyst Yazami says that what is needed now is a change of mentality.

"In addition to legislative reforms, there is probably very important work to be done in terms of education and mentality," he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    morocco  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The Moon has moved into your sign, emphasizing the need to connect things to work together. There is a tendency to focus too far...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.