King Mohammed VI opened the door to a true institutional debate on the content of the Family Code, after the presentation of the Speech from the Throne on Saturday, provoking changes, and recognizing the existence of obstacles that confuse the progress of women’s rights, at a time when the topic was limited to human rights associations in recent years.
The King demanded the activation of the constitutional institutions concerning the rights of the family and women, and the updating of national mechanisms and legislation, in order to advance their status, pointing out that if the Family Code constituted a leap forward, it had become insufficient; Because experience has shown that there are several obstacles that stand in the way of completing this process.
The modification of the provisions of the Family Code has been a constant in the Moroccan human rights movement for a long time, especially in matters of marriage, family responsibility and inheritance. The currents that defend women’s rights also underline the need to expand the margins of freedom and gender equality.
And Abdel Latif Wehbe, Minister of Justice, had indicated during an accountability session in the House of Representatives last June, that the family law can only be modified within the framework of the path defined by its expedition, that is to say , the consensus between religious, legislative, civil and political authorities under the supervision of the King.
Abdelilah Al-Khudari, director of the Moroccan Center for Human Rights, considered that “any modification of the family code is supposed to be in the interest of the individual and of society alike, but more than that, it must conform to the purposes of the pure Islamic religion, the religion of the nation and the essence of its values.”
These purposes came to preserve the interests of the people, and never came to perpetuate injustice or disloyalty against any party; As the sages say: “Where there is interest, there is the law of God”; Therefore, Al-Khudari believes that the last royal speech “was clear and eloquent in his message in this context.”
The same jurist says: “Regarding the thorny issues that must be reformed in the Family Code, it is worth remembering a set of problems that must be addressed in the next reforms, which are seven. marriage, despite the unification of the age of marriage for both sexes at 18 years. However, there is the exception contained in the Family Code, which is the possibility of lowering this age by virtue of a judicial decision, justifying the interest in it.”
According to Al-Khudari, this exception has “unfortunately” become the rule, since “statistics confirm that nine out of ten requests for marriage of minors are granted, and even if that request is rejected, it is enough to conclude the marriage of minors.” Al-Fatihah. , in the absence of any legal text that criminalizes the illegal marriage of girls”.
What is worse, there are many fraudulent methods of marriage, involving a systematic disregard of the right of the Moroccan girl child, known in some remote areas in particular as “contra” marriage, which needs to be firmly tackled, because it is simply a new form of slavery of girls and the practice of contractual prostitution”, affirms the same speaker.
The second problem is the issue of births outside the legal institution of marriage, “if the law allows the adoption of genetic experience to establish or deny filiation, the family code nullifies the illegal filiation for the father, and this experience does not produce any recognition of the legal filiation, which leads to wasting the right of the child to attribute it to his biological father when he refuses to recognize the lineage”, according to the same jurist.
Al-Khudari recorded that “this legal situation that makes women without men responsible for the child is considered discrimination, since the biological father is exempt from any financial or moral obligation towards his child, and the mother remains solely responsible; It also results in the invasion of the child’s psyche, a set of cumulative nodes, often ending up in the world of addiction and delinquency.”
Here, the speaker mentions a field study carried out by the Moroccan Center for Human Rights on serial perpetrators of crimes in Morocco, which led to “five out of ten victims of the refusal of their biological parents to recognize their lineage, and four of every ten as a result of the fact that their mothers practiced prostitution, which generates in this group a hatred of society as a whole, and displaced towards the commission of crimes against them, and added: “Here we are not talking about a few hundred, but of thousands and perhaps of tens”. of thousands of child victims who are denied by their biological parents”.
“The third problem refers to the guardianship of the children. The Code precautionarily considers the mother to be the legitimate representative, going to her in the absence or absence of the father, or in case of compelling interests of the children, which caused innumerable problems for the mother and child during the preparation of administrative procedures For the child, such as when the mother wants to obtain a certificate of transfer of her son or daughter from one school to another The fourth problem is related to article 49 of the Family Code, and here it must be recognized that there is great difficulty for women to access the right to money acquired after marriage, due to the lack of recourse to the conclusion of contracts for the management of joint funds in most cases, due to the lack of knowledge of the husbands in these matters, as well as the difficulty and burden of proving the part of that money earned by the wife”, reports Al-Khodari.
The fifth problem, according to the rapporteur, is the conciliation procedure, which “despite its mandatory presence in the Family Code, is realistically ineffective, due to problems related to its activation in the courts, due to the weakness of human and economic resources and the high number of files”, and adds: “Therefore, we have repeatedly raised the need to institutionalize family mediation, as a separate procedure, the judiciary requires spouses to attend it, before deciding on their divorce.
Regarding the sixth problem, it refers to the judicial procedures related to the alimony of divorced women, “In addition to the smallness of most of the compensations in the sentences, the procedures for their execution take longer than necessary, and They even caused the wife to be displaced and lose her rights, due to complications in the implementation of judicial decisions, and the costs of litigation weigh heavily on the shoulders of women and impede their right to access litigation, “according to Al-Khudari.
As for the seventh problem, it refers to divorce cases, “which ends with the judicial approval of the expulsion of the divorced woman and her children from the house that housed the family, because it is the property of the head of the family, and in some cases even if the divorcee did not comply with his maintenance obligations”, according to the same jurist, adding: “And here comes the magnitude of the discrimination and injustice inflicted on women and children as a result of such a strange phenomenon, which is recognized by some provisions and reports to the Moroccan Center for Human Rights almost daily.