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Morocco

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
1%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
14%

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
1%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
14%

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

14% of girls in Morocco are married before their 18th birthday and 1% are married before the age of 15.

In early 2020, the Moroccan Minister of Justice announced that 32,000 requests for marriage to children were submitted in 2019, 81% of which were approved.

UN Women has identified hotspots for child marriage in Azrou, Midelt, Beni Mellal, Marrakesh, Azilal, and Casablanca.

According to UNICEF, the risk of girls marrying before the age of 18 in Morocco is less than half of what it was three decades ago. However, statistical information may be inconsistent as many child marriages are not officially registered.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Morocco, child marriage is exacerbated by:

  • Level of education: One quarter of Moroccan girls with no education were married by age 18, compared to only 7% of girls with secondary or further education.
  • Poverty: Child marriage offers a degree of financial security and reduces the perceived burden of girls on their families. Some Family Court judges reportedly authorise child marriages for economic reasons in poorer regions.
  • Gender norms: Women and girls are often expected to conform to strict, traditional roles as wives and mothers and have little decision-making power. Reports have highlighted that the Arab Spring reinforced conservative beliefs on gender roles.
  • Pre-marital sex: Some families marry off their daughters if they suspect they are in a sexual relationship outside of marriage, which is still considered a crime under Article 490 of Morocco’s Criminal Code.
  • Harmful traditional practices: Child marriage prevails in the form of temporary marriages, which are used as a way to bypass Islamic restrictions on sex outside wedlock. Additionally, most child marriages, especially in rural areas, are carried out under customary Muslim law (Al Fatiha). Eventually, judges are forced to recognise the marriage retrospectively.
  • Violence against girls: In 2012, 16 year old Amina Filali committed suicide after being forced to marry the man who had raped her. Controversial Article 475 of Morocco’s Penal Code used to allow rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victims, even if they were under the legal age of marriage of 18. A 2011 study conducted by the Moroccan High Commission for Planning shows that younger women who marry without consent are almost three times more likely to experience intimate partner violence.
  • Family honour: A 2013 study shows that parents, and in some cases aunts and uncles, play a significant role in deciding to marry girls off, often for reasons associated with preserving honour and worrying that their daughter’s might be rejected if they are not married by a certain age.
  • Religion: In a 2017 study, participants highlighted that misinterpretation of religious principles enables child marriage in Morocco. Some people believe that Islam condones the marriage of girls as soon as they begin menstruation.

Social pressure: Some families reportedly feel pressured to marry off their daughters at a young age in order to avoid social sanctions from the community, including gossip, shame and stigma.

What has this country committed to?

Morocco has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2016 High Level Political Forum.

Morocco co-sponsored the 2013 procedural resolution on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Morocco also signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Morocco co-sponsored the 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage.

Morocco ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2014 review, the UN Child Rights Committee expressed regret that no specific measures had been taken to remove girls from forced marriages and that thousands of girls as young as 13 are married every year as a result of extensive derogations from the law by family judges.

During its 2017 Universal Periodic Review, Morocco agreed to examine recommendations to revise the Family Code to prohibit child marriage.

Morocco has not signed or ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, including Article 6 which sets the minimum age for marriage as 18, or the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

In 2015 Morocco adopted the Integrated Public Policy for Child Protection (PPIPEM) with technical support from UNICEF. It outlines plans to build an integrated child protection system that takes into consideration the institutional, social, economic and cultural development of the country and to ensure an effective protective environment in accordance with national and international standards.

During the same year, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane caused controversy by stating that there are no marriages of minors in Morocco and when child marriages do occur it is due to the choice of girls.

In early 2020, while announcing the number of child marriage requests in 2019, the Moroccan Ministry of Justice stated that, considering the prevalence of child marriage, it could “no longer be considered an exception” and that it would require “horizontal intervention from all (state) sectors.”

The La Rabita Mohammedia des Oulémas programme has engaged religious leaders and communities on gender-based violence, including child marriage. The programme has produced audio-visual aids to sensitise children to the impact of child marriage and includes a training mechanism to empower young men to teach children about human rights.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Family Code 2004 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However legal loopholes mean that girls may marry before 18 years with judicial consent.

In 2018 a new law on combatting violence against women was introduced, which marked a positive step forward in terms of defining and criminalising acts considered harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation and forced marriage of girls and women. However the law itself does not address child marriage or related issues of intimate partner violence that many child brides experience.

Source

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, https://www.achpr.org/legalinstruments/detail?id=46 (accessed January 2020).

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [website], 2018, https://au.int/en/treaties/protocol-african-charter-human-and-peoples-rights-rights-women-africa (accessed January 2020).

BBC, Morocco protest after raped Amina Filali kills herself, [website], 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17379721 (accessed March 2020).

BMC International Health and Human Rights, Determinants of child and forced marriage in Morocco: stakeholder perspectives on health, policies and human rights, 2013, https://bmcinthealthhumrights.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-698X-13-43 (accessed March 2020).

Girls Not Brides, A teacher’s journey to keep girls in school and avoid child marriage in Morocco, [website], 2013, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/mohamad-keeping-girls-school-avoid-child-marriage-morocco/ (accessed March 2020).

Government of Morocco, Integrated public policy for child protection in Morocco, [website], 2018, http://www.social.gov.ma/en/content/integrated-public-policy-child-protection-morocco (accessed March 2020).

Haut-Commissariat au Plan, Enquête Nationale sur la Prévalence de la violence à l‘Egard des Femmes, 2011, http://www.hcp.ma/downloads/Violence-a-l-egard-des-femmes_t13077.html (accessed March 2020).

MEMO, 2019 saw more than 30,000 requests for marriage to minors in Morocco, [website], 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200122-2019-saw-more-than-30000-requests-for-marriage-to-minors-in-morocco/ (accessed March 2020).

Ministère de la Santé, ENQUÊTE NATIONALE SUR LA POPULATION ET LA SANTÉ FAMILIALE (ENPSF-2018), http://www.sante.gov.ma/Documents/2019/10/ENPSF-2018.pdf (accessed September 2020).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, http://fngeneve.um.dk/en/aboutus/statements/newsdisplaypage/?newsid=6371ad93-8fb0-4c35-b186-820fa996d379 (accessed March 2020).

Morocco World News, Benkirane Says Child Marriages Does Not Exist in Morocco, [website], 2015, https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/06/160405/benkirane-says-child-marriages-does-not-exist-in-morocco/ (accessed March 2020).

Morocco World News, Child Marriage in Morocco’s Rural Areas, 2015, http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/04/156151/child-marriage-moroccosrural-areas/ (accessed March 2020).

The Arab Weekly, Marriage of female minors in Morocco triggers pushback, [website], 2020, https://thearabweekly.com/marriage-female-minors-morocco-triggers-pushback (accessed March 2020).

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Morocco, 2014, p.10, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/MAR/CO/3-4&Lang=En (accessed March 2020).

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Morocco, 2017, p.21, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/MAIndex.aspx (accessed March 2020).

UN Women, Multi-Country Analytical Study of Legislation, Policies, Interventions and Cultural Practices on Child Marriage in Africa, 2018, https://africa.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2018/multicountry-fgm (accessed February 2020).

UNICEF and the International Center for Research on Women, Child Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa – Morocco Country Brief, 2017, https://www.unicef.org/mena/reports/child-marriage-middle-east-and-north-africa (accessed March 2020).

UNICEF, Ending Child Marriage: Progress and Prospects, 2014, https://www.unicef.org/media/files/Child_Marriage_Report_7_17_LR..pdf (accessed March 2020).

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed March 2020).

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.