UN experts call on Morocco to implement gender equity policies

Marrakech’s renowned Djemaa el-Fna square in Morocco. Photo: Alexandr Dmitri

21 February 2012 – Independent United Nations human rights experts today called on Morocco to consolidate and advance the country’s achievements on women’s rights by tackling gaps in its legal framework which put women at a disadvantage, adding that domestic and migrant workers are at higher risk of having their rights violated.

“Gender equality must remain central in the complex process of political and social transformation in Morocco,” said Kamala Chandrakirana and Emna Aouij, members of the UN working group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, at the end of their visit to the country.

“Despite many competing priorities faced by the Government, the drafting of the law that will establish the authority for parity must start as soon as possible, involving all the relevant stakeholders.”

During their eight-day visit, the independent experts gathered information on Morocco’s legal framework regarding the promotion of equality and elimination of sex-based discrimination, and identified remaining gaps in legal protection.

The experts noted that despite progress achieved through the adoption and reform of several laws, discriminatory provisions remain concerning marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance.

“Stakeholders have identified critical gaps in Morocco’s legal protection, particularly for women victims of domestic violence, for women and girls employed as domestic workers, and for women migrant workers,” said the group’s representatives, calling on authorities to accelerate deliberations on bills regarding these populations.

The experts also called for the participation of women when carrying out reforms and for integration of an equal gender perspective into every aspect of the Government.

“Poor and rural women need to be an integral part of the historic reforms the country is undergoing,” they said. “National programmes are crucial to integrate development and human rights and to secure participatory democracy at the local level, but have so far benefited women disproportionately less than men.”

Ms. Chandrakirana and Ms. Aouij also urged the Government to use all means at its disposal, including education and the media, to combat stereotypes and negative portrayal of women.

The experts visited Rabat, Casablanca, Fez and the province of Khémisset, where they met with Government officials, representatives of national institutions, civil society organizations and academic experts, as well as women community leaders.

The group will present its final conclusions and recommendations from their visit in a report to the Human Rights Council in June.


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