Morocco: Report on Violence against Women

Factsheet, Morocco / Western Sahara, Violence against Women, Women’s rights and gender justice

Read in:  French  Arabic 

Read the Factsheet on Violence against Women here

Between the 25 November 2015, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (VaW), and 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a time to encourage action to end violence against women and girls around the world. On this occasion, EuroMed Rights is re-launching a set of factsheets on violence against women including information on the state of play updated in December 2015.

In Morocco, certain positive developments have taken place in terms of promotion and protection of women’s rights as well as in terms of fighting discrimination and violence against women. Nevertheless, without a global and coherent vision of the extent of gender-based violence and discrimination these achievements remain fragile.

The draft law on combatting all forms of violence against women still hasn’t been adopted after its submission in 2013. The penal code which is undergoing reform does not provide effective protection for women against gender-based violence and discrimination. The establishment of the National Observatory on Violence against Women in the women’s directorate of the Ministry of Development has been questioned by civil society which criticizes the absence of structures for receiving and supporting women victims of violence.

In 2015 a draft law aimed at decriminalizing abortion has been elaborated. However, it is very limited in scope, including only legalization in cases where pregnancy poses a danger to the life or health of the mother, in cases of serious deformities or incurable diseases in the fetus and finally in cases of rape or incest.

It is worth stressing that Morocco ratified the optional protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in July.

In its first report on the state of equality and parity in Morocco, published in October 2015 the National Council for Human Rights particularly encourages Morocco to withdraw its interpretative declarations to CEDAW, to enact a specific law against violence against women and to ratify the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention. It also encourages the government to speed up the process of putting in place an authority for parity and the fight against all forms of discrimination (called APALD) as well as an Advisory Council on the family and childhood. Finally it recommends an amendment of the Family Law in order to grant women the same rights in marriage, divorce, relations with their children and inheritance, in accordance with article 19 of the Constitution and article 16 of CEDAW.

Finally and despite these positive developments, the Moroccan government so far hasn’t succeeded in implementing all the provisions and prerequisites of the Constitution to ensure equality, parity and dignity to women as well as guarantee them full citizenship.