The youth-led Feb. 20 Movement in Morocco has simmered down to a core group that includes many female activists. They’re keeping an eye on constitutional reforms enacted last year that some say didn’t go far enough. “We want real, radical change,” says one.
Moroccan activists met in Fez last week to learn how to use an online database of women’s rights court decisions. They hope it will help propel reforms that were too late for Amina Filali, the teen who killed herself after being forced to marry her rapist.
Many activists in Morocco are outraged and protesting the laws that led to the suicide of a 16-year-old near Tangiers, who was forced to marry her rapist. Juhie Bhatia, Women’s eNews managing editor, was in Morocco for reaction.
Morocco’s new constitution offers huge hope for gender equality, including combating a well-documented problem of domestic violence. New members of parliament elected Nov. 25, along with the king, will determine actual change.
(WOMENSENEWS)–Cheers King Mohammed VI of Morocco formally banned discrimination against women during a speech to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Afrique en Ligne, a North African Internet news site, reported Dec. 12.Officially, the king lifted Morocco’s “reservations” to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the 1979 treaty guaranteeing women’s equality known as CEDAW. Morocco signed the treaty in 1993, but like many other Arab nations, did so only with reservations to clauses that contradicted national or Islamic laws.Moroccan women’s rights groups hailed the speech, Maghreb Arab Press reported Dec. 12. The king said the reservations were no longer necessary since Morocco passed an updated national family law in 2003 increasing women’s legal rights.
A member of a Moroccan delegation in New York this month described a secret detention center in southwestern Algeria for mothers whose only crime was being unwed. The story’s political backdrop is a complicated territorial dispute in Western Sahara.
In Morocco, the king is viewed as a champion of women’s rights, which means secular women’s rights activists are often in the royalist political camp. First in two stories ahead of September elections.
In Casablanca, Morocco, a single mother works in a bathhouse, helping visitors luxuriate in their communal grooming ritual. Her single status, however, means she is breaking the law and is shunned by her family.