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National Human Rights Council releases a new report on gender equality and parity: 97 recommendations to fight all forms of discrimination in Morocco

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) released, in a press conference held on Tuesday, 20 Oct. 2015, a report on gender equality and parity in Morocco. Four years after the new constitution, ten years after reforming the Family Code, and 20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, this comprehensive report, first on the kind, gives an analysis all sort of achievements, efforts, inequalities, gaps, challenges, and obstacles that hinder or slow progress in this area and prevent women from fully enjoying all their human rights.

“There will be no democratic progress or fair and sustainable development in Morocco without the empowerment and full participation of women, who make up one-half of Moroccan society” CNDH Chairman Driss El Yazami said in a press statement after the conference. He noted that “the Council has always believed in the centrality of women’s human rights and equality”. The first study we ever released after reforming the Council in 2011 was a comparative study on discrimination and parity between men and women in the world, in addition to at least four supporting memorandums: violence against women, domestic workers, mainly girls, family and childhood, and the establishment of the Authority for Parity and Fight against All Forms of Discrimination, he added. “Full participation of women is crucial and vital for any fruitful efforts to build and strengthen our democracy and strong economy”, he said.

The report includes 97 recommendations and proposals to address the legal gaps, inequalities and disparities, all forms of discrimination, impunity, exclusion, marginalization, vulnerabilities, violence against women and girls, exploitation, child marriage, double discrimination against women with disabilities, women in prisons, older women, domestic workers, and single mothers, women’s access to justice and public services, etc.

The report is divided into three main chapters: (1) gender equality and non-discrimination, (2) equality and parity in economic, social and cultural rights and (3) public policies and their impacts on women that are most vulnerable to human rights violations. Its conclusions and recommendations rely on the reality and social practices in Morocco, the constitution, international human rights law and UN treaty bodies’ recommendations and observations, and Morocco’s international commitments.

Despite achievements, efforts and progress in protecting and promoting women’s rights in Morocco, more than 6.2 Moroccan women, for example, have actually been victims of at least one form of the different forms of violence, most of which are socially accepted and sometimes even go unpunished. Marital rape is one good example in this regard. There is no specific legislation on non-discrimination, domestic violence, and some other forms of violence.

Moroccan women do not benefit from the efforts made in the different sectors as much as men do, mainly in education/training, access to health services, employment, decision-making and access to resources. This actually puts achieving parity and equality in the heart of the social, economic and political development challenges in Morocco. It’s true a Moroccan woman can now pass Moroccan citizenship to her children, which is one of the main recent progress features in women’s rights in Morocco, her husband, on the other hand, if he is a foreigner, cannot have a Moroccan citizenship under the same terms and conditions as a foreigner spouse of a Moroccan man can.

Despite the legal restrictions, child marriage actually doubled in the last decade, scoring 12% in 2013. 99.4% of these marriages concern girls. Besides, the constitution provided for the establishment of two important institutions, one to achieve parity and fight against all forms of discrimination and other to protect & promote children’s rights and balanced and fair spouse relations: the Authority for Parity and Fight against All Forms of Discrimination and the Advisory Council for Family and Childhood. These two institutions are yet to see the light of day, four years now after the constitution.

CNDH recommends taking all necessary measures to amend or make new legislations, to improve public policies (human rights-based policies) and decision making process to ensure full participation of women and equal access to services and resources, to put an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women and to achieve total parity and gender equality.  

 

The report will be available in English soon