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Morocco - Combined third and fourth periodic report of States Parties [2006] UNCEDAWSPR 15; CEDAW/C/MAR/4 (11 October 2006)

Committee on the Elimination of

Discrimination against women

Consideration of reports submitted by States Parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Combined third and fourth periodic report of States Parties


* The combined third and fourth periodic report of Morocco was received by the Secretariat on 18 August 2006.

For the initial periodic report submitted by the Government of Morocco, see CEDAW/C/MOR/1, which was considered by the Committee at its sixteenth session. For the second periodic report submitted by the Government of Morocco, see CEDAW/C/MOR/2, which was considered by the Committee at its twenty-ninth session.

With the support of UNFPA and UNIFEM


Part I: Refinement and reinforcement of the general legal framework for the protection of human rights

Part II: Substantive articles (articles 1 to 16)

Article 1: Definition of discrimination

Article 2: Obligations of States Parties

Article 3: Appropriate measures

Article 4: Temporary special measures aimed at eliminating discrimination

Article 5: Modifying social and cultural patterns

Article 6: Combating the exploitation of women

Article 7: Equality in political and public life at the national level

Article 8: Equality in political and public life at the international level

Article 9: Equality under the laws governing nationality

Article 10: Equality in education

Article 11: Equal rights to employment and work

Article 12: Equal access to health care services

Article 13: Finance and social security

Article 14: Rural women

Article 15: Equality in legal and civil matters

Article 16: Equal rights in family matters

Action to combat violence against women

Part III: Follow-up to international conferences

• Follow-up to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

• Follow-up to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

• Follow-up to the special session of the General Assembly on children

1. In accordance with the provisions of article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Morocco hereby submits its third and fourth periodic reports in the form of a single consolidated report, as recommended by the Committee in the course of its consideration of Morocco’s second periodic report (CEDAW/C/MOR/2) at its 627th and 628th meetings on 15 July 2003 (CEDAW/C/SR.627 and SR.628).

2. This report conforms to the Committee’s guidelines. It is the outcome of contributions from all persons and organizations concerned directly or indirectly with women’s issues, including Government agencies, non-governmental bodies, international cooperation organizations and United Nations specialized agencies.

3. The process of preparing the report was given added impetus through an information meeting held on 23 May 2006. The purpose of the meeting was to recall and explain to participants why periodic reports are useful and important and to enhance their awareness of the matter. A workshop organized to validate the report was held on 29 June 2006, with representatives of Government bodies, NGOs, UNIFEM and UNFPA in attendance.

4. The Government of Morocco has noted with satisfaction the positive aspects emphasized by the Committee, and has also taken the Committee’s suggestions and recommendations (CEDAW/C/SR.627 and SR.628) into account.

5. This report responds to the Committee’s recommendations and concerns and traces the progress that has been made in implementing the Convention since the submission of Morocco’s second report.

Part I

6. The basic data relating to the territory and population and general political structure of Morocco are contained in document HRI/CORE/Add.23/Rev.1 and Corr.1 of 15 April 2002.

7. The submission of the third and fourth periodic reports affords an opportunity to highlight the latest progress made in the area of human rights and in consolidating the rule of law.

8. The reforms undertaken in Morocco attest to the King’s determination to make democracy a reality in daily life and in the minds of the people, and to make the country a State governed by the rule of law. This determination is borne out by the following activities:

– The restructuring of the Consultative Council on Human Rights (CCDH) in accordance with the Paris Principles relating to national institutions;

– The establishment of the Diwan Al Madhalim, the office of the Moroccan ombudsman;

– The establishment of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM);

– The establishment of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission following a CCDH recommendation endorsed by King Mohammed VI, with a view to closing the file on past human rights violations once and for all.

9. The establishment of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission represented a decisive step toward completing the process of democratic transition in Morocco.

10. The Commission is composed of 16 members, including one woman, and is chaired by a former political prisoner.

11. The Commission has conducted a comprehensive assessment of the process of settling the issue of forced disappearance and arbitrary detention, and has conducted research in collaboration with the governmental authorities concerned, the victims, their families or representatives, and the relevant NGOs. It has made every effort to uncover the truth about serious human rights violations by undertaking investigations, gathering testimony, holding public hearings for victims and closed hearings with witnesses and former officials, searching through official archives and gathering data from all available sources. By these means the Commission has been able to determine the nature, gravity and context of those violations in the light of the principles and standards of international human rights law, elucidate cases of forced disappearance and recommend procedures for settling or closing cases where the persons concerned are known to be dead, contribute to the clarification of a number of historical events that gave rise to human rights violations, and determine the responsibility of State bodies and, in some specific cases, non-State entities in the violations with which the investigations were concerned.

12. In the matter of reparations, the Commission has examined and ruled on the petitions it has received from the victims of serious human rights violations or their heirs and assigns. In addition to decisions relating to compensation, it has made recommendations concerning medical and psychological rehabilitation, social reintegration, solutions to legal, administrative and professional problems that had remained unresolved in the case of some victims, and cases of expropriation as well. Taking into consideration the fact that some regions and communities claimed to have suffered collectively, directly or indirectly, in consequence of instances of political violence and subsequent human rights violations, the Commission has placed particular emphasis on community reparations. For example, it has called for the implementation and continuing support of socio-economic and cultural development programmes in a number of cities and regions, and has recommended that former unlawful detention centres should be converted to other uses.

13. The Commission has prepared a final report presenting the findings and conclusions of its investigations and analyses relating to human rights violations and the contexts in which they occurred, together with recommendations for reforms aimed at keeping the memory of these events alive, ensuring that violations of this kind will never recur, healing the wounds inflicted by them, and restoring and strengthening confidence in the country’s institutions and respect for the rule of law and human rights.

14. Morocco’s distinctive approach to transitional justice manifested itself in the integration of a gender perspective in the research and investigation process: particular attention was devoted to women victims of human rights. The results were taken into consideration for purposes of awarding compensation.

15. The prescriptive and institutional framework for human rights has also been enriched by the abolition of the Special Court of Justice (CSJ). The Cabinet abolished the CSJ on 6 January 2004 and transferred its powers to the appeal courts.

16. The abolition of this court will strengthen the rule of law, since the CSJ followed exceptional procedures unlike those followed in other courts. These exceptional procedures infringed the right to a defence, failed to provide the guarantees necessary for a fair trial, and undermined the principle of equality before the law.

17. The abolition of the CSJ will also strengthen the principle of the separation of powers established in the Constitution, since the court fell under the Executive: the Minister of Justice initiated the prosecution of cases submitted to it.

– Two important pieces of legislation were unanimously adopted on Wednesday 28 January 2004. The first of these made provision for the lifting of parliamentary immunity, while the second established the High Court, which will try members of the Government for any offences they may commit in the exercise of their duties.

– The harmonization of domestic legislation with the principles of international human rights instruments ratified by Morocco will enhance the effectiveness and protection of the rights recognized in international instruments ratified by Morocco. Steps taken in this area include:

● Reform of the Code of Public Freedoms;

● The enactment of new prison legislation containing provisions relating to women exclusively and aimed at respecting their distinctive status and their physical and psychological integrity and guaranteeing their rights as women and mothers;

● Reform of the kafala, the law on the legal placement of children in families, to enable children to be placed in the care of unmarried women, whereas formerly they could be placed in the care of married women only;

● Adoption of a new Code of Criminal Procedure providing more satisfactory protection for human rights, including the principle of the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, the right of appeal in criminal cases, and recognition of the primacy of international conventions over domestic legislation;

● Partial reform of the Penal Code with a view to strengthening the protection afforded to women and children by making the sale of children, child pornography, child prostitution, sexual harassment and violence against women criminal offences, and by introducing provisions relating to the elimination of all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women, inter alia by granting wives the same entitlement to the benefit of extenuating circumstances as husbands for physical violence, injury and homicide inflicted in situations where the spouse is caught in the act of adultery. Another noteworthy feature of the reform of the Penal Code is the provisions making torture a criminal offence, in accordance with articles 1 and 4 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We may note at this point that the adoption of these new reforms has occurred in the context of a broadly based national consultation process on a new policy in the field of criminal law;

● Enactment of a new law on civil registration and the applicable implementing decree, making provision for a family record book to replace the civil status record book, in which women existed only in relation to their children;

● Enactment of a new law governing the entry and stay of aliens in Morocco;

● Enactment of a counter-terrorism law;

● Enactment of a new law on political parties and adoption of a new electoral code;

● Adoption of a new community charter to promote local democracy.

18. The reform of the Family Code was adopted unanimously on Friday 16 January 2004 by the House of Representatives and came into force on 5 February 2004. This reform allows women to reclaim their rights and lift the injustice and inequality weighing down on them and guarantees respect for women’s and children’s rights to the benefit of the stability of the family unit. The joint responsibility of husbands and wives in running the home is established.

19. The Family Code was accompanied by the establishment of new structures in the form of family justice divisions and the institution of a judge competent to perform marriages. In addition, the Code recognizes the Office of the Public Prosecutor as a principal in all actions having to do with the implementation of the Family Code. Further information will be found in the section dealing with article 16 of the Convention (see below).

20. The promotion of children’s rights is another legislative and institutional priority. Particular mention should be made of the harmonization of national legislation with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions Nos. 138 and 182, and the ratification of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and on the involvement of children in armed conflict. In another noteworthy development, on 25 March 2006 the Government adopted a National Plan of Action for the decade 2006-2015, in accordance with the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the special session of the General Assembly on children.

21. As regards Morocco’s accession to international human rights instruments, we may note that on 17 August 1973 it acceded to the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others of 21 March 1950, and it has ratified the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery.

22. Morocco ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on 19 September 2002, published in No. 5186 of the Official Gazette (12 February 2004), and it has signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

23. The year 2004 was marked by the publication of a number of human rights instruments in Morocco’s Official Gazette. These included:

– Publication of the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in No. 5192 of the Official Gazette (4 March 2004);

– The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, adopted in September 1996, published in No. 5179 of the Official Gazette (19 January 2004);

– ILO Convention No. 135 concerning Protection and Facilities to be Afforded to Workers’ Representatives in the Undertaking, adopted on 23 June 1971, published in No. 5185 of the Official Gazette (9 February 2004).

24. Actions to date aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against women will be described in detail in the discussion of individual articles of the Convention below.

25. Substantial efforts have been devoted to the task of addressing many of the Committee’s main concerns and recommendations.

26. As regards the reservations and declarations formulated by Morocco at the time it ratified the Convention, we may note that an interministerial Technical Committee was established on 6 October 2003 at a meeting of the Interministerial Commission on Public Freedoms and Human Rights, which is headed by the Prime Minister. The Committee was mandated to examine the feasibility of withdrawing or reviewing the reservations and declarations formulated in connection with Morocco’s ratification of various international human rights instruments.

27. On 21 February 2005, the Government approved the Technical Committee’s proposals relating to:

– Morocco’s accession to the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which recognizes the competence of the Human Rights Committee to receive individual communications;

– Recognition of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as competent to receive individual communications, by making a declaration to that effect, under article 14 of the Convention;

– Substitution of a declaration of interpretation for the reservation to article 14, paragraph 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to freedom of religion;

– Withdrawal of the reservations to articles 20 and 22 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

28. On 30 July 2006, on the occasion of the Throne Day holiday, His Majesty King Mohammed VI demonstrated his concern for the promotion of women’s rights by announcing that every child born to a Moroccan mother would henceforth be entitled to his or her mother’s nationality.

29. On the occasion of International Women’s Day in March 2006, the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for human rights issues, issued a statement announcing the withdrawal of Morocco’s reservations to article 9, paragraph 2, article 16, subparagraph 1(f) and article 16, paragraph 2; the substitution of declarations of interpretation for its reservations to the other subparagraphs of article 16, paragraph 1; the substitution of a declaration of interpretation for the declaration on article 2, paragraph 2, and withdrawal of the declaration on article 15, paragraph 4.

30. The Technical Committee is pursuing its work of reviewing Morocco’s reservations and declarations relating to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and is considering the desirability of accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The current situation is promising in the light of the fact that numerous prescriptive statutory measures consistent with the principles and philosophy of the Convention have recently been adopted, and various actions have been initiated that also serve to promote the aims of the Convention.

31. An initial regional campaign aimed at withdrawing Morocco’s reservations and realizing the country’s accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention was launched by civil society at a MENA regional conference on “Equality without Reservation” that was held in Rabat from 8-10 June 2006. This conference afforded an opportunity of demonstrating the political commitment of the Moroccan authorities, as it was attended by both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice.

32. In response to the Committee’s concern about the status of international instruments, including the Convention in particular, in relation to Morocco’s Constitution and domestic law, we may note that international instruments that have been duly ratified and published in the Official Gazette take precedence over domestic legislation in the event of conflict, as may be seen from a number of Supreme Court rulings (decision No. 49 of 1 October 1976, decision No. 5 of 3 November 1972, and decision No. 162 of 3 August 1976) and from the Nationality Code of 6 September 1958 and the new Code of Criminal Procedure.

33. The Preamble to the Constitution states that Morocco subscribes to universally recognized human rights. With a view to giving practical effect to that statement, substantial efforts are being devoted to the task of ensuring the primacy of international instruments.

34. Constitutional authority for the primacy of treaties ratified by Morocco over domestic law is one of the recommendations made by the Equity and Reconciliation Commission in its final report, which has been endorsed by His Majesty King Mohammed VI.

35. The Committee’s other recommendations and concerns will be addressed later on in this report, in the course of our discussion of individual articles of the Convention.

Part II: Substantive articles of the Convention

Articles 1-6

Article 1: definition of discrimination

36. Moroccan law includes various provisions relating to the elimination of all forms of discrimination, including gender-based discrimination.

37. While Moroccan law does not contain a definition of discrimination analogous to the one that is the subject of article 1 of the Convention, the fact remains that many of its provisions recognize that men and women are equally entitled to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of marital status.

38. Equality in the area of political rights, for example, is guaranteed under article 8 of the Constitution. Similarly, measures have been taken to strengthen the political representation of women (see under articles 4 and 7 below).

39. As regards the area of economic rights, equality between men and women in the matter of the right to employment, freedom of enterprise, and freedom to participate in economic life is guaranteed under articles 13 and 15 of the Constitution and also by the dahir of 1958 containing the civil service regulations, the Labour Code, and various other statutory instruments regulating various types of employment and functions, access to credit, the establishment of business ventures and the like (see under articles 11, 12, 13 and 15 below).

40. In the area of social rights, the law does not discriminate in any way with respect to access to health care, the right to join and belong to collective workers’ and employers’ organizations, and the right to enjoy social protection, provided the required conditions are met.

41. Women enjoy the right to participate in national, regional or international cultural life on a basis of equality with men.

42. In the area of civil law, the formal recognition of equality is tending to become the rule, as may be seen from the comprehensive revision of the Family Code, the new legislation regulating civil status, the provisions of the Penal Code and the Labour Code eliminating discrimination, regardless of its origin.

43. However, while Morocco’s statutory environment is increasingly characterized by provisions guaranteeing equality between women and men, substantial differentials between the sexes subsist in respect of their enjoyment of some rights, including social security benefits, the types of jobs held by women and men, their earnings, the risk of dismissal, poverty among women, predisposition to insecurity, illiteracy, and the like. These differentials are attributable to de facto situations involving socio-cultural factors and the economic and social position of women. These various constraints will be discussed more fully later in this report.

Article 2: Obligations of States Parties

44. The above-mentioned legislative reforms and new statutory provisions have been adopted pursuant to the obligations to which Morocco is subject. In addition, we may note that equality before the law is guaranteed on a basis of equality between men and women under the Constitution, which recognizes equal access to courts of law and a fair trial.

45. Information about judicial guarantees on human rights will be found in Morocco’s initial report and second periodic report (CEDAW/C/MOR/2). Extra-judicial remedies are also available through the Diwan Al Madhalim and the Consultative Council on Human Rights, which were referred to earlier in this report, and these remedies are available on a basis of equality to both men and women.

46. In addition, it is noteworthy that the Consultative Council on Human Rights may initiate investigations on its own initiative in cases of human rights violations

47. Taking into consideration the importance of combating violence against women and having regard to the remedies currently available, it will be apparent that the appointment of a “gender focal point” within the Criminal Investigation Directorate has been a noteworthy step, as has the establishment within the CID of a special Domestic Violence Unit headed by a police commissioner. Following the establishment of this unit, all police stations in Morocco have been instructed to gather monthly statistics and information on violence against women that may come to the attention of the police.

48. Reforms have been introduced in criminal law as well, with the repeal of provisions that were discriminatory toward women. Under law No. 24-03, adopted in July 2003:

– Spouses are guaranteed equality in the matter of entitlement to the benefit of mitigating circumstances where either spouse murders the other after having caught him or her in the act of adultery;

– The Office of the Public Prosecutor is required to prosecute every husband or wife who openly engages in adulterous relations while the other spouse is out of the country;

– Medical confidentiality is not applicable in cases of violence between spouses or violence against women or children under 18 years of age;

– Heavier penalties are prescribed where blows and wounds are deliberately inflicted by one spouse upon the other. In the event of repeated offences, still heavier penalties are prescribed.

As will be seen from the foregoing discussion, Morocco is continuing its efforts to fulfil its international commitments by bringing its domestic legislation into line with the provisions of the international human rights instruments that it has ratified. Furthermore, various policies have been adopted and a number of practical actions undertaken in pursuit of the effort to eliminate discrimination against women. At the same time, there is no denying that substantial disparities subsist between equality as enshrined in the law and the day-to-day reality that women continue to be subject to discrimination. Even the law has retained some discriminatory aspects: under the Social Security Act, for example, if both spouses are registered with the social security system, family allowance benefits are paid to the father. This, of course, is a relic of the principle of the husband’s authority, and the Act will be harmonized with the provisions and the spirit of the Family Code in due course.

49. One major constraint on the effectiveness of the above-mentioned provisions that has been identified is the low level of literacy among Moroccan women, especially in rural areas. Access for women to education, training and literacy services is not good enough in terms of Morocco’s ambitious goal of creating equal opportunities for men and women, especially in rural areas, as otherwise women will be unable to be aware of their rights and stand up to demand their enforcement. As yet, however, adequate resources are not available, especially with respect to infrastructure and follow-up to strategies that are adopted, and this situation has been an impediment to such issues as eliminating violence against women: all observers agree that the main constraint in that area is that there are still not enough shelters for battered women, while the State has no centres at all where women who are driven from the conjugal home can find refuge. A gender approach is still not usually mainstreamed in designs for projects and plans of action, and the media still do not do enough to disseminate and propagate awareness of legislative provisions concerning equality or actions initiated with a view to promoting it, especially with respect to the effort to eliminate stereotypes. All these difficulties remain to be addressed.

Article 3: Appropriate measures

50. The Government of Morocco, aware as it is of the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination and the inadequacy of the legal framework as the sole means to that end, has adopted a number of strategies designed to accompany legislative reforms and consolidate women’s human rights and fundamental freedoms, enlisting the assistance of civil society organizations working in that area and working in partnership with them to design and implement the strategies in question.

51. The Government recognizes the role of women in promoting development and progress, and accordingly the effort to eliminate poverty has been a national priority since the mid-1990s; it has been strengthened by Morocco’s commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and reinforced by the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), which was launched by His Majesty King Mohammed VI on 18 May 2005, with a budget allocation of 10 billion Moroccan dirhams (DH) over a five-year period.

52. The Initiative is characterized by a strategic change and a sharp break with past practice in that it features more closely targeted public policies, new implementation procedures that take the specific needs of target population groups into account, and the active involvement of those groups in development projects. New funding procedures have also been introduced: resources from an earmarked account under the authority of the Prime Minister are made available to local administrators and governors after assessment of their needs. This approach is strengthening local democracy and fostering a regional approach to public economic policies.

53. The integration of a gender approach into the implementation of the INDH gives women a central place in the Initiative and affords a means of reaching all components of society.

54. The introduction of a gender dimension has also entailed an effort to develop statistical indicators. By way of illustration, during the preparation of Morocco’s second national report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a national seminar was organized on the theme “Gender and the MDGs”, while six workshops were held to examine the various MDG targets, with the result that the above-mentioned second report was enriched with nine new targets and 21 new indicators.

55. Data relating to the attainment of Goal 1, the reduction of poverty, indicate that between 1985 and 2004:

– Absolute poverty fell from 12.5 per cent to 7.7 per cent, for a decline of 38.5 per cent;

– Relative poverty fell from 21 per cent to 14.2 per cent, for a decline of 32.4 per cent;

– Vulnerability declined from 24.1 per cent to 17.3 per cent.

56. However, this downward trend has not affected urban and rural areas or other regions to the same extent. In urban areas, relative poverty was reduced from 13.3 per cent in 1985 to 10.4 per cent in 1994 and to 7.9 per cent in 2004, whereas the corresponding reduction in rural areas was not significant, with relative poverty declining from 26.8 per cent to 23 per cent and 22 per cent for those years. Absolute poverty, for its part, declined from 6.8 per cent in 1985 to 3.5 per cent in 2004 for urban areas, while the corresponding figures for rural areas were 18.8 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively.

57. As part of Morocco’s effort to eliminate poverty, the proportion of the State budget allocated to social services has been steadily increased, from 40.9 per cent in 1992 to 47.4 per cent in 2002 and 55.5 per cent in 2005. In addition, education and health care services are free for low-income persons (cf. articles 10 and 12), while basic commodities are subsidized, and various community-based social outreach instruments have been developed, including the national mutual assistance programme, the national promotion programme, the Social Development Agency, and the Economic and Social Promotion Agencies in the several Prefectures and provinces of the northern, central and southern regions of the country.

58. In addition, the strategy for combating poverty, insecurity and exclusion has been accompanied by institutional development, with the establishment of a Ministry of Social Development, the Family and Solidarity, and a Secretariat of State for Literacy and Non-Formal Education, as well as the Social Development Agency referred to above.

59. The Social Development Agency (ADS) was established under dahir No. 1-99-207 of 25 August 1999 with a mandate to initiate actions and execute programmes aimed at improving the living conditions of socially and economically vulnerable persons. The ADS contributes directly to project funding in some cases, or it may provide support for ongoing projects.

60. The mandate of the ADS is as follows:

– To contribute to funding for social development projects in areas deemed to merit priority, including drinking water supply, rural electrification, literacy, basic education, primary health services and telecommunications development projects;

– To provide material and technical support for the launching of individual and collective projects aimed at upgrading the resources available to vulnerable population groups and those groups’ living conditions;

– To contribute to the establishment of small businesses that will provide jobs in communities where people have difficulty entering the labour market;

– To support environmental protection and conservation projects;

– To promote the institutional capacities of non-governmental organizations, local communities and the like;

– To provide encouragement and assistance for low-income population groups selected for rehousing or resettlement operations through the social support approach, which is a facilitation tool that has been used successfully to promote social integration in the context of the national “Cities without shantytowns” programme.

61. Gender mainstreaming and broadly based participation are at the heart of the cross-cutting approach that is mandatory throughout the entire life cycle of any project. Accordingly, the ADS has developed gender indicators that afford a means of determining to what extent a given project has brought about a reduction in women’s workloads and reduced inequality in decision-making processes within village committees and associations and involvement in the implementation of the project in question. These gender indicators should also provide information about the project’s impact on women’s access to resources such as land, capital, information and the like.

62. While the Government has unquestionably demonstrated its political determination to combat poverty, and has adopted a strategy to that end, implementing a variety of practical actions that have benefited all components of society, the fact remains that women are still at greater risk of poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion, simply because unemployment is higher among them than it is among men: in 2003 the unemployment rate was 25.8 per cent for the former compared to 17.4 per cent for the latter. Women tend to be employed in the informal sector and to hold insecure, poorly paid jobs in agriculture, seasonal employment, domestic service and the like.

63. Nation-wide, the constraints besetting the anti-poverty effort are attributable to slow economic growth, the tendency of people to leave rural areas and move into the cities, and illiteracy, especially among women, who as a result find it more difficult to obtain funding or their economic activities, and the substantial disparity between urban and rural women. Other factors tending to make public policies ineffective include the presence of multiple stakeholders, inadequate policy follow-up and evaluation, and means-based rather than results-based budgeting.

64. With the launch of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) on 18 May 2005, Morocco has adopted an innovative approach to the task of combating poverty. INDH features targeting of the hardest-hit areas and categories and relies on citizen participation to achieve more satisfactory involvement and enhanced viability for field actions and projects. The Initiative stresses a contractual approach and partnership with the existing web of local and community development organizations.

65. INDH is structured around three main lines of emphasis:

1. Reduction of social deficits, especially in poor urban districts and the rural communities that are most seriously disadvantaged in terms of basic social services and facilities, such as health, education, literacy, water, electricity, decent housing, waste disposal and roads;

2. Promotion of activities that will generate stable earnings and jobs, while simultaneously adopting a more imaginative and firmer approach to the informal sector;

3. Assistance to highly vulnerable persons or persons with special needs.

66. The Initiative is targeting, on a priority basis, 403 rural communities and 264 urban or peri-urban districts where the incidence of poverty is in excess of 22 per cent, in an effort to reduce poverty, vulnerability, insecurity and social exclusion by providing DH 10 billion of additional funding capacity over the period 2006-2010 as support for human development activities in the context of an integrated, participatory approach. In that context, INDH is designed to strengthen the efforts of both the State and local communities. It is not intended to replace sectoral programmes or local communities’ socio-economic development plans.

67. It is also noteworthy that Morocco’s efforts in the field of the promotion of women’s rights led to its selection by the United Nations as one of five pilot countries for realization of the “Gender and the MDGs” project.

68. Moreover, Morocco’s progress toward the MDGs has been such that it was one of 16 countries to receive United States assistance from the Millennium Challenge Account during the 2005 fiscal year

69. As part of the Government of Morocco’s results-based budget reform process, in December 2002 the Minister of Finance, with the support of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), initiated a process aimed at integrating a gender perspective into the Government’s budget preparation and analysis operations.

This project is part of a larger programme entitled “Strengthening Economic Governance: Gender Analysis Applied to Governmental Budgets” that UNIFEM has been conducting in recent years in 20 countries. Phase I will be devoted to the strengthening of national capacities for the integration of a gender dimension into budget preparation and analysis by officials responsible for budget planning, preparation and implementation, the drafting of a guide aimed at enhancing the awareness of parliamentarians and other persons associated with the ongoing budget reform process and gender budgeting, and the writing of a manual for the use of budget specialists and planners, to help them integrate a gender perspective into sectoral budgets (the manual is currently being finalized).

Phase II of this partnership project will extend over a four-year period (2005-2008) and will focus on the continuation and further extension of the process initiated in phase I with a view to incorporating gender-sensitive budgeting into the budget reform process in accordance with the main lines of emphasis that are identified, applying an iterative approach. In this connection, we may note here that for the first time in Morocco’s history, a gender report was prepared and appended to the economic and financial report that accompanied the draft 2006 Finance Act when it was submitted to Parliament.

At the local level, manuals have been prepared and training courses organized for the purpose of enhancing the awareness of local authorities and communities and strengthening their capacities to enable them to adopt a gender-sensitive approach to planning and budgeting. The methods applied at this level thus promote the practical application of this type of approach to the budget cycle and rooting the gender aspect firmly in local development priorities.

70. In addition to all this, statistical tools have been developed in the form of gender-disaggregated statistics. Furthermore, preparations are under way for the adoption of gender-sensitive indicators, and the issue of the integration of a gender approach into the work of preparing the forthcoming socio-economic development plan is under consideration

71. Another noteworthy initiative has been the designation of gender focal points. These are already an institutional reality in two Government ministries (the Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons and the Ministry of the Interior), and will be extended to other ministries in due course.

72. The Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs, for its part, has trained 36 women preachers (murshidat) who will henceforth practise their vocation in mosques, cultural clubs, social centres and prisons; hitherto, this type of activity has been restricted to male preachers. For the first time, women now sit on the High Council of Oulémas, which is chaired by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and on local councils.

73. On 19 May 2006, the Government of Morocco adopted a national strategy for gender equity and equality by integrating a gender approach into all development policies and programmes. The strategy was developed at the instance of the Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons (SEFEPH) in partnership with governmental bodies, political parties, the private sector and international organizations, and with the support of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and UNFPA. (See below, Follow-up to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action).

74. A strategy aimed at combating violence against women has been adopted, together with a plan of action to implement it (see below, Action to combat violence against women).

75. The promotion of women’s rights was given additional impetus with the establishment of the Moroccan Centre for Information, Documentation and Research on Women (CMIDEF) by SEFEPH in partnership with the European Union. CMIDEF is a public policy follow-up mechanism, and thus functions as a decision support tool as well.

76. CMIDEF’s functions are to support national policies with a bearing on women’s rights by developing multidisciplinary technical services that can be used to centralize and evaluate actions for the advancement of women, primarily in the areas of legal remedies, employment and the job market, health and education, and to initiate new projects and programmes featuring the integration of gender equality at all levels of design, implementation and decision-making. In this way, CMIDEF will generate greater visibility for initiatives conducted by all stakeholders in the field of women’s rights.

Article 4: Temporary special measures aimed at eliminating discrimination

77. The Government of Morocco adopted an interim measure to promote participation and political representation by women on the occasion of its revision of the Organic Law on the House of Representatives by introducing a quota system as a sequel to its decision in favour of a balloting system featuring regional lists and a national list with 30 seats, accounting for approximately 10 per cent of all the seats. Thanks to a moral commitment by the various political parties, the national list was reserved for women candidates exclusively. The result was that 30 women won seats in the House of Representatives, while five women were elected on the local list at the September 2002 elections, bringing the political representation of Moroccan women up to 10.7 per cent, compared to 0.6 per cent in 1997. We may note here that there are also three women members in the Chamber of Advisors, the second chamber of the Moroccan Parliament. (See below, article 7.)

78. In preparation for the next legislative elections in 2007, a group of women’s associations, networks of women parliamentarians and women’s sections in the various political parties are mobilizing to advocate that 30 per cent of the seats should be reserved for women, with a view to ultimate parity between men and women in elected bodies.

Article 5: Modifying social and cultural patterns

79. The task of combating stereotyped behaviour and images of inequality between the sexes has taken many forms, in accordance with the Government’s political determination and its action aimed at promoting women’s rights. Some noteworthy accomplishments are outlined in the paragraphs below.

80. Equality education has been essentially the work of women’s associations and associations seeking to promote universal values, including equality. Some of these associations have entered into partnership agreements with the Ministry of National Education for the promotion of equality education and the elimination of violence against women. These associations make equality education one of their central activities, targeting all programmes, institutions and sectors that may serve as vectors for the transmission and promotion of a culture of equality by acting directly or indirectly on the mentalities, practices and attitudes of men and women in Moroccan society.

Action along these lines to date has included:

(a) Awareness enhancement activities and efforts to combat violence against women with a view to the integration of women in development. These activities have been conducted by various women’s associations, including advocacy groups in particular;

(b) The founding of “equality schools” to serve as venues for training, awareness enhancement, documentation and advocacy on behalf of equality between men and women;

(c) Collective action by community associations to organize a national campaign on equality education for young secondary-level students, both male and female, in Moroccan schools;

(d) Education, training and awareness enhancement for the promotion of a culture of human rights. These initiatives focus on the education sector and the media, and tend to be conducted in institutional settings (Government ministries, human rights associations, women’s associations, development associations and the like). These initiatives cannot conveniently be summed up in a few words, owing to their diversity, their widespread geographic distribution, and the large numbers of participants.

81. As long ago as 1994, a National Programme for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights in Schools was initiated jointly by the Ministry of Human Rights and the Ministry of National Education. Under this programme, 120 school textbooks were analysed in 1997 and found to contain sexist material. Another of the programme’s achievements has been the development of a cross-cutting curriculum that incorporates the concept of equality

The experimental phase began in 2000, when a number of provincial subcommittees were established and mandated to oversee the implementation, follow-up and evaluation of trials with the programme.

The second phase, in which the programme was applied in schools throughout the country, took place in 2001 and 2002. The application process entailed a number of operations:

(a) Integration of teaching modules dealing with human rights education within primary and secondary education in what are termed “carrier subjects”;

(b) Integration of human rights education training modules in the programmes of primary and secondary teaching training institutions;

(c) Organization of professional development and information courses, facilitated by inspectors for all teachers of carrier subjects;

(d) Distribution of over 75 000 copies of a reference guide on human rights education to all school districts in Morocco, together with 11 brochures designed as teaching aids for the use of instructors;

(e) Launch, in April 2003, of a parallel programme for the use of these brochures in the classroom as a means of ensuring the effectiveness of the national programme. This was an initiative on the part of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education, Executive Training and Scientific Research.

Central and regional committees were established to follow up and evaluate the second phase of the programme.

82. The National Charter on Education and Training, which was promulgated in 1999, constitutes the reference framework and the policy basis of the Government’s programme. Under the Charter, human rights education is stated to be one of the fundamental principles of education reform. In the words of the Charter itself, “The education and training system seeks to give material expression to the principle of equality among citizens, including equal opportunity for all, and the right of all to an education, as guaranteed under the Constitution of Morocco, including both boys and girls, and regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas.”

83. In 2001, curricula were reformed on the basis of the Charter to include human rights values and their universal principles as part of their reference framework.

84. The Government has issued school textbooks accompanied in each case by a teacher’s guide specifying that the textbook in question should respect the principles of equity, equality and non-violence and the principles and rights recognized in international human rights instruments that have been ratified by Morocco.

85. With a view to providing guidance, coordination, evaluation and follow-up for plans of action in the area of human rights and citizenship, the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education, Executive Training and Scientific Research has established a Central Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship. The Commission’s activities consist primarily in organizing training sessions for teachers in the field of human rights, citizenship, equality and transparency.

86. A values observatory has been established to promote the values and principles of human rights and equality in strategic planning, curricula, and school programmes and textbooks.

87. These various initiatives have been strengthened by the founding of human rights clubs in schools and the establishment of review committees to verify the content of textbooks in the light of human rights principles. The result has been a more positive image of women and the elimination of discriminatory material and sexist stereotypes in textbooks, curricula and programmes, and also in teaching practice in the classroom.

88. Religious education has also been revised with a view to its modernization and the introduction of the principles of tolerance and respect for diversity. Two thirds of the programme now includes subjects that constitute part of modern education, including foreign languages.

89. Accomplishments of the Higher Education and Scientific Research sector include:

– The establishment of a number of social science research groups and training and research units within faculties with mandates that include the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms (Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences at the University of Meknès, Faculty of Legal and Economic Sciences at the University of Fez, Hassan II University in Casablanca, and others);

– The endowment of a number of UNESCO chairs in the field of human rights in general and categorical rights in particular (Mohammed V University in Rabat, Ibn Tofail University in Kenitra, and others).

90. The Ministry of Communication and the Ministry for the Modernization of Public Sectors have instituted a programme aimed at strengthening gender equality by conducting a gender audit, strengthening the capacities of senior officials and professional staff at both ministries in the area of gender equality, and establishing committees made up of professionals and career civil servants with a mandate to institutionalize gender equality. All these initiatives have been implemented as part of the CIDA cooperation programme.

91. In an effort to do justice to women by enhancing their image in the media, the Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons (SEFEPH) has joined forces with the Ministry of Communication, the Ministry of Culture, the Sydicat National de la Presse Marocaine (SNPM), the Union des Agences Conseils en Communication (UACC) and the Groupement des Annonceurs Marocains (GAM) to develop a National Charter for Enhancement of the Image of Women in the Media, along with a plan of action for its implementation. In the same vein, SEFEPH, working through CMIDEF and with support from UNIFEM, organized training courses on the theme “Gender and the media”. Those courses were part of a strategy aimed at strengthening the capacities of the members of the national commission mandated to provide follow-up to the Charter, journalists, and gender focal points within the various ministries

92. The aims of the Charter are as follows:

– To mobilize media personnel and political, social and economic stakeholders for the purpose of encouraging them to integrate a culture of gender equality and respect for human dignity in the media;

– To develop a media strategy characterized by a gender approach in an effort to upgrade the image of women in the various information and communication media;

– To enhance the status of women working in the information sector and give them access to decision-making, applying to that end transparent criteria based on professional competence and the principle of equality of opportunity;

– To develop a media culture rooted in the principles of human rights, respect for the dignity of women, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination or exclusion;

– To guarantee women’s right to express themselves and promote their causes, and to ensure that their problems are treated with objectivity and professionalism;

– To develop and strengthen communication and cooperation among the various entities concerned with women’s issues.

93. The Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs has launched an important initiative in the matter of guidelines for Friday sermons in mosques, featuring greater emphasis on such values as human dignity and moderation. The Ministry sends circulars to the imams of mosques on significant commemorative occasions such as International Women’s Day, Universal Children’s Day, or World Environment Day, encouraging them to enhance people’s awareness of categorical or thematic rights.

94. The Ministry has also instituted a training programme in which human rights figure prominently; the programme is intended for the Ministry’s delegates, hosts of religious television and radio programmes, the chairs of Councils of Oulémas (theologians), and to men and women theologians and preachers.

95. The integration of the principle of equality between women and men in the new reform of the Family Code (see replies to articles 15 and 16) is another initiative in the drive to change mentalities, in that it promotes a high degree of receptiveness to an equal relationship between the sexes within the family and in society.

96. Since the early 1990s, there has been a clearly discernible trend toward the development of initiatives aimed at promoting a culture of human rights and gender equality. Undeniably, however, action in this area remains subject to a number of limitations, including:

– large numbers of initiators and dispersion of their efforts and actions;

– inadequate financial and human resources for these efforts, and the fact that their impact on the general public has been slight.

97. The Consultative Council on Human Rights (CCDH) deemed it essential to provide funding for and coordinate actions aimed at promoting a culture of human rights by providing a context of continuity and consistency, and was concerned to create synergy as a means of generating greater impact and focusing all efforts within a framework of solid partnership among the various entities concerned. Accordingly, the CCDH has initiated a dynamic process designed to formulate and implement a National Plan of Action for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights. The fundamental purpose of this plan is to foster changes of attitude and behaviour to enhance human rights.

98. The CCDH organized two workshops for discussion and concerted action with most institutions and organizations working in the field of human rights. The outcome was active commitment on the part of the bodies concerned to the process of developing the plan and creating a mechanism to oversee the task of making it a reality. The official presentation of the National Plan of Action for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights is scheduled for 10 December 2006. This will enable Morocco to comply with the recommendations of the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993.

Article 6: Combating the exploitation of women

99. Under Moroccan law, prostitution is a criminal offence, and all persons providing incitement to debauchery or playing the role of go-between or profiting from the prostitution of others are liable to prosecution. Sex tourism is also a criminal offence, and the law adopts the principle of extraterritoriality to combat trafficking in persons, prostitution and pornography, especially the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

100. Morocco is a party to most international instruments aimed at protecting women and children and eliminating traffic in and the exploitation of human beings (cf. part I above).

101. Moroccan law has been strengthened by a broad range of provisions designed to provide women and children with more effective protection from all forms of exploitation: child labour, the sale of children, child prostitution, child pornography, violence against women, and problems associated with the management of migration flows, including in particular the effort to eliminate clandestine migration.

102. The phenomenon of children who are victims of sexual exploitation is difficult to evaluate, for a number of reasons, as we have seen: taboo, invisibility, mobility and the like. The fact remains that there has undoubtedly been a meaningful realization of the need to take urgent action to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children and to assist and rehabilitate the victims and help them reintegrate into society

103. The sexual exploitation – including the commercial sexual exploitation – of children is an issue that has frequently been raised by NGOs working in the area of children’s rights, especially in so far as it involves vulnerable children (street children, child workers, young girls in domestic service, abandoned children, children in conflict with the law), but the issue of children’s rights did not really begin to feature prominently in Government policy statements and Morocco’s regional and international commitments until the 1990s.

104. By way of illustration, Morocco was the first Arab Islamic country to comply with the request of Ms. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, by inviting her to visit Morocco. Other noteworthy events include two Arab-African forums on the effort to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes, which were held in Morocco in 2001 and 2005.

105. In her final report, the Special Rapporteur called upon Morocco to take upstream preventive measures: even though the concerns of her mandate do exist, there is no reason to conclude that there are organized networks engaging in the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography operating in the country. She also stated that she had “detected a genuine willingness on the part of the Government to confront and seek ways to forestall the spread of child exploitation and to alleviate the suffering of the children who are caught up in situations of exploitation and abuse... It is also worthy of note that many of the NGOs recognize the serious attention being given by the current Government to the welfare of children.”

106. As a result of the reform of the Penal Code, the various forms of sexual exploitation are now criminal offences. The revised Code adopts the definitions of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography as set forth in the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child that deals with those issues.

107. Under the Penal Code of 1962, all forms of child abuse and the sexual exploitation of children are punishable by heavy penalties ranging from fines with a term of imprisonment for indecent behaviour to life imprisonment for incest and rape.

108. The work of reception, rehabilitation and social reintegration is hampered by the lack of adequate facilities, although the Government has made noteworthy efforts in this area, the Ministry of Health having opened approximately 10 child assistance centres. A number of shelters and counselling centres are run by NGOs, while institutions for children in difficult circumstances are operated by charitable associations. These institutions do not have special facilities for child victims of sexual exploitation, who mingle with other categories of children; in addition, they are confronted with financial difficulties and inadequate human resources.

109. Under the Penal Code, aiding, abetting or protecting the prostitution of others, sharing the avails of the prostitution of others, forcing a person into prostitution, hiring, maintaining or inducing a person, whether minor or adult, even with his or her consent, with a view to prostitution, or serving as a go-between in any capacity between persons engaging in these acts, are criminal offences punishable by five to 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of DH 5000 to DH 100 000 (article 498 of the Penal Code as amended under law 24.03 making provision for the reform of the Penal Code).

110. Under article 499 of the Penal Code, where the victim of the offence is a minor under 18 years of age, a person in difficult circumstances because of age, illness, a handicap, or a physical or psychological disability, or where the victim is a pregnant woman, or where the offence is committed by a number of persons, or where it results from the use of force, the abuse of authority, fraud, or the use of photographic materials, or where it is committed by one of the parents or a person having parental authority in respect of a child, or where it is committed by a person who in the performance of his duties is responsible for combating prostitution or for protecting the health of juveniles or maintaining order, or where the offence is committed through correspondence sent to a limited or unlimited number of persons, heavier penalties are prescribed, including imprisonment for a term of two to 10 years and a fine of DH 10 000 to DH 2 million. These penalties are applicable even where the offence has been committed in part in a foreign country (Penal Code, article 500).

111. Every person who, directly or through the agency of one or more other persons, owns, manages, operates, administers, finances or participates in the financing of premises or an establishment regularly used for purposes of prostitution or debauchery is liable to a term of imprisonment of four to 10 years and a fine of DH 5000 to DH 2 million. Every person who owns or is responsible for the management or operation, administration, financing or partial financing of an establishment used by the public and who allows one or more persons to engage in prostitution within such establishment or premises belonging thereto, or who consents to or tolerates the enticement of clients with a view to prostitution, or who encourages sex tourism, is liable to the same penalties. Every person who places at the disposal or one or more persons premises not used by the public, knowing that the premises in question will be used for prostitution and debauchery, is liable to the same penalties. The same applies to accomplices, and their operating licences may be withdrawn and their establishments temporarily or permanently closed (Penal Code, article 501).

112. Article 500 of the Code makes provision for the principle of extraterritoriality, stating that the jurisdiction of Moroccan justice extends to the presumed offender even where some of the constituent elements of the offence have been committed outside Morocco, provided the offender has not been tried and served a sentence duly passed by a foreign jurisdiction.

113. The Labour Code contains provisions aimed at preventing the exploitation of Moroccan workers who seek employment abroad and protecting them against the risk of such exploitation. Under the Code, every Moroccan worker who travels to a foreign State to take up gainful employment must be in possession of a labour contract duly endorsed by the competent authorities of the State of destination and by the authority of the Government of Morocco in charge of labour matters. That authority is responsible for selecting emigrants on the basis of their occupational skills and physical condition, and completes all the administrative formalities required for the movement of emigrants to the country of destination, working in coordination with the administrations and employers concerned.

114. Under article 513 of the Labour Code, every Moroccan worker wishing to seek employment abroad must also be in possession of a medical certificate issued less than one month previously and of all the documents required under the regulations of the country of destination.

115. In view of the fact that domestic service workers are most at risk of exploitation, or even trafficking, Morocco’s labour legislation provides that where a domestic service employee leaves the country in the company of his or her employer for a period of not more than six months, the employer shall be required to undertake to repatriate the employee at the employer’s expense and to support, if necessary, the cost of his or her hospitalization in the event of illness or accident. This undertaking is drawn up in the form prescribed by the relevant regulations, and is retained by the governmental authority in charge of labour matters.

116. Under article 515 of the Labour Code, contravention of the provisions of the Code regulating the employment of Moroccan workers abroad is punishable by a fine of DH 2000 to DH 5000.

117. Despite the fact that prostitution and exploitation of the prostitution of others are criminal offences under the law, however, there is no denying the existence of the phenomenon, which thrives on poverty, vulnerability and illiteracy. The risks are even greater for women who seek to emigrate, especially those who do so clandestinely.

118. In an effort to eliminate clandestine emigration (for which Morocco pays a heavy price), a Directorate of Migration and Border Surveillance was established within the Ministry of the Interior in December 2003. In a statement to the Chamber of Advisors on 30 May 2006, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior reported that approximately 480 human trafficking operations were broken up in 2005; this figure represents an increase of more than 60 per cent compared to 2004. During the first four months of 2006, the Moroccan authorities succeeded in breaking up 120 human trafficking operations.

119. Another noteworthy measure has been the establishment of a National Migration Observatory, also within the Ministry of the Interior. The Observatory is mandated to contribute to the development of a national strategy on migration. To that end, the functions assigned to it are as follows:

– To make proposals to the Government concerning the main lines of emphasis in the matter of the definition and application of a national policy on migration;

– To submit comments on draft legislation or regulations relating to migration;

– To centralize all available information on migration;

– To create and update as required a statistical data base on migration;

– To conduct studies and research projects on trends in migration flows.

120. International cooperation remains essential as a means of combating clandestine immigration and developing a migration policy that respects migrants’ human rights.

Articles 7, 8 and 9

Article 7: Equality in political and public life at the national level

121. It is in the field of politics that the greatest resistance to the inclusion of women in decision-making is undoubtedly to be found. Despite this, a great stride forward was made at the most recent legislative elections, in September 2002, when 35 women entered the House of Representatives (the upper chamber of Parliament).

122. Women accounted for no more than 0.66 per cent of all members of the former House of Representatives; in the present House, 35 out of the 325 members, or over 10.77 per cent, are women. This achievement has enabled Morocco to advance from its former 118th place to 69th, and to second place in the Arab world, out of the 119 parliaments throughout the world that are ranked by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

123. Furthermore, one parliamentary group is now headed by a woman, and this has ushered in a new era of responsibility-sharing within the Moroccan legislature.

Women candidates at legislative elections (House of Representatives): change over time in numbers nominated and numbers elected

Women candidates
Women candidates elected
269 (local lists)
697 (national lists)

The recent gains are the outcome of a broadly based advocacy and awareness campaign organized by the women’s movement. The campaign targeted not only decision-makers and political organizations, but also the general public, and it resulted in the introduction of positive discrimination measures when the Organic Law on the House of Representatives was revised in 2002 (see article 4 above).

Numbers of women elected, by political party and

type of list in the House of Representatives

National list
Local list

124. The 2002 Organic Law on the House of Representatives, however, did not introduce a quota system. The political representation of women in the House thus depends more on the moral commitment of political leaders than on the voting procedure itself.

125. In the context of negotiations over the draft 2007 Organic Law on the House of Representatives, the political parties and the Ministry of the Interior have recently agreed that 10 per cent of the seats in the House shall be reserved for women at the 2007 legislative elections. This decision has been denounced as totally unsatisfactory by the women’s movement, which has now launched a campaign to demand “one third of all elected posts now, as a step toward parity.”

126. As the legislative elections approach, the institutionalization of quotas, the challenge of how to give political parties an incentive to implement a quota system, and putting up women candidates wherever they can be elected are the issues at the heart of the public debate that the women’s movement has initiated, with the support of elected women members of the House of Representatives.

127. At the municipal level, despite the mobilization of the women’s movement on behalf of a “charter of honour” to be signed by the various political parties, the quota principle was not officially adopted at the municipal elections of September 2003. Consequently, the political parties did not consider themselves to be committed to that principle and put up few women candidates, and the results of the elections were similar to those of previous municipal elections.

128. Since 2000, many political parties have adopted a quota of 20 per cent for the composition of their decision-making bodies at the national level. In that connection, article 22 of the Political Parties Act requires the statutes of all parties to specify the percentage quotas set aside for women and young people in their directing bodies. To date, however, no political party has selected a woman as its leader.

Changes in numbers of women candidates and numbers

of women elected in municipal elections

Women candidates
Men candidates
Number of women elected
1 086
91 954
1 651
102 292
6 024
122 069

129. At the most recent municipal elections in September 2003, two women were elected in rural municipalities, and two women were elected municipal presidents, out of 41 municipalities, while 22 women were elected vice-presidents. No women were appointed to head regional councils, but a woman was elected as vice-president of the regional council in one region.

130. As regards Government departments, three portfolios were given to women in 2002, but that figure declined to two in the reshuffle of June 2004.

131. While these appointments do reflect a new dynamic, in that there is growing awareness that women must be included in all structures of the State, equality has by no means been attained. In the first place, few women have been promoted, with a total that is well under the 10 per cent figure that has been achieved for Parliament, and in the second place, the portfolios given to women (Family, Child Welfare, Disabled Persons, Immigration, Literacy and Non-Formal Education) reflect the traditional distribution of roles and also have not had strong institutional mandates or adequate human and financial resources.

132. Women hold few senior posts. One woman is a King’s Advisor, eight women have been members of the Consultative Council on Human Rights (CCDH) since 2002, other women secretaries-general or central directors in the civil service, but on the whole, women are not very extensively represented. To date, for example, no woman has been appointed to a post as Wali, President of a regional council, or Governor.

133. In recent years, there has been a trend in the direction of more appointments of women to decision-making posts. By way of example, we may consider the appointments of June 2002, when a woman was made Secretary-General of the Ministry for General Governmental Affairs, an innovation unprecedented in the history of public administration in Morocco. In 2005, a woman was appointed to the post of Secretary-General in the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education, Executive Training and Scientific Research.

134. It appears, then, that women have come increasingly to be represented in administrative decision-making posts in various branches of the Government for the past few years. In some instances the appointment procedure itself has changed, becoming more objective with the adoption of open competitions for senior posts.

Women holders of decision-making posts: percentage change over time

Executive and professional
Directors, public administration
25.7 (2004)

Source: Kingdom of Morocco, The Millennium Development Goals, National Report, September 2005

135. The numbers of executive decision-making posts held by women at senior levels of the central administration vary for different services, but in general are small: in 2001, there were approximately 17 women Directors out of a total of 163, and 67 women Heads of Division out of 522.

136. As regards the judiciary, while few women hold decision-making posts, some improvement in the situation has been observable in recent years, with a trend in the direction of promotions for women practising in that sector. Women judges, for all courts and all levels of jurisdiction taken together, accounted for 17.66 per cent of the total in 2003, 18.11 per cent in 2004, 18.77 per cent in 2005, and 18.88 per cent in 2006.

137. At the level of the Supreme Court, women judges account for 16 per cent of all judges. Their ranks include 29 counsellors, nine advocates-general and seven heads of chambers.

138. Morocco’s seven administrative tribunals have a total of 19 women judges.

139. Six trial-level trade tribunals were established in 1998, and three of them have a woman presiding magistrate. Morocco has three appeal-level trade tribunals, located in Casablanca, Fez and Marrakech, with 57 women judges. At the appeal-level trade tribunal in Fez, the senior magistrate is a woman.

140. In another noteworthy development, on 8 June 1999 a woman judge who was a head of chamber at the Supreme Court was appointed as the first woman member of the Constitutional Council. In addition, a woman judge was appointed to the Council when one third of its membership was renewed on 7 June 2005.

141. Women public servants employed in the judiciary account for 44.81 per cent of the total.

142. Women lawyers accounted for 19.32 per cent of all lawyers in 2005. Between 2000 and 2005, their numbers increased from 1294 to 1672.

143. In 2005, women sworn experts and translators accounted respectively for 6.28 per cent of the total, with 154 women out of a total strength of 2295, and 28.48 per cent of the total, with 90 women out of a total strength of 316.

144. Women notaries represented 38.84 per cent of all notaries in 2005: Morocco had 202 women notaries out of a total of 520.

145. It appears that not only are comparatively small numbers of decision-making posts held by women, the posts in question are concentrated essentially in the fields of social action and education. Very few women hold decision-making posts in scientific and technical sectors.

146. In some ministries, such as the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs, the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Water and Forests and the Ministry of Public Sector Modernization, few decision-making posts are held by women.

147. Small numbers of decision-making posts are held by women in ministries that are regarded as being the province of men, such as the Ministry of the Interior. Even so, a woman has been appointed a Central Director in that ministry, in charge of fisheries and justice

148. Growing numbers of women are entering the police service. By June 2006, that service had 1083 women members, including 17 commissioners, 16 senior police officers, 95 police officers, 126 senior inspectors, 513 police inspectors, one peace officer and 315 guardians of the peace.

Type of post
Total number
Number of women
Secretary-General of department
Central Director
Executive Director

Consul General
Deputy Director
Head of department
Regional Director
Provincial or Prefectural Delegate
Public Prosecutor
Delegate (Ministry of National Education)
Director, Education and Training Services
Director of Conservatory
Local collector
Secretary-General of faculty

CERED study (1998) and Ministry of Public Sector Modernization documents (2003).

* This figure has been changed to reflect data received from the various departments.

149. It is important to bear in mind that in the early 1980s, the highest Government post to which a woman could aspire was chief of division. The fact remains, however, that it is still unusual to find women holding policy-making or managerial posts

150. The Ministry of Public Sector Modernization is currently institutionalizing gender equality on a trial basis. The innovation will be replicated in other governmental departments and agencies in due course.

151. As from the beginning of the 2006-2007 academic year, the executive training schools operated by the Ministry of the Interior will be open to women.

152. Few data are available on the subject of decision-making posts held by women in the economic sector, whether as managers with private firms or as proprietors of their own businesses. Undoubtedly, the numbers of women with university degrees have continued to increase, various businesswomen’s associations have been founded, and women are better represented than ever before. Despite these advances, it appears that it is still unusual for a woman to rise to an executive or managerial post with a firm or a professional organization or trade union. Nor has there been any tangible impact on the promotion of women’s business ventures.

153. None the less, women are increasingly starting their own enterprises; this phenomenon is perceptible in both the formal and informal sectors. It is heavily concentrated in Casablanca, which is Morocco’s economic capital (nearly 60 per cent), and is most in evidence in the service sector (37 per cent) and in the trade and distribution sector (31 per cent). These are small business for the most part (57 per cent), operating locally (31 per cent) or nation-wide (44 per cent), and to a growing extent internationally as well (21 per cent).

154. Various fields that were formerly regarded as the exclusive preserve of men are now beginning to be invaded by women. These include the repair and maintenance, construction and public works sectors.

155. Two studies, one dealing with gender and economic exclusion and the other with equal pay in the private sector, have been conducted by SEFEPH under a cooperation agreement with GTZ.

156. There are various obstacles that make it difficult for women to be promoted to decision-making posts in firms or to start their own businesses. The following are perhaps the most noteworthy:

– Cultural obstacles: many firms are afraid that women employees, especially married women employees, will be less committed to their work than men would be, while others deny women promotion on the pretext that they do not possess the steady nerves required in some situations owing to the fact that women are thought to be “naturally” more emotional;

– Administrative or financial obstacles, such as cumbersome procedures or difficulty in securing access to sources of funding.

157. In an effort to overcome obstacles of this kind, joint action by the Government, civil society and international organizations has resulted in the establishment of programmes aimed at supporting women’s business ventures. These programmes, however, are general in nature and do not make provisions for specific initiatives for the advancement of women.

158. Concerning the matter of participation by women in non-governmental organizations and associations, the official statistics and information obtained by the Ministry of the Interior do not include gender differentials. Consequently, it is not possible to state how many women hold senior posts (such as the offices of president or secretary) in associations, or what constraints confront women seeking to rise to the decision-making level.

159. Consequently, it is difficult to determine what proportion of senior posts are actually held by women, except in the case of women’s organizations

160. The Maghreb Arab Presse (MAP) news agency provides some indications in its “MEMOMAP” guide for decision-makers:

– In the field of the professions, the president of the CGEM is a man. Out of the CGEM’s 104 member associations, a woman is president of the Association professionnelle des sociétés de bourse, and another is co-president of the Association professionnelle en bureautique et informatique (APEBI). One of the 22 sectoral federations, the Association des fabricants industriels de plâtre (AFIP), has a woman president.

161. In the world of non-governmental associations, all women’s associations are headed by women. It is noteworthy that the activities of a number of development associations headed by men are of relevance to women. Some NGOs that deal with issues relating to children are headed by women.

162. A woman has recently been elected President of the Organisation marocaine des droits humains (OMDH). This is unprecedented in the history of the human rights movement in Morocco.

Article 8: Equality in political and public life at the international level

163. Morocco’s diplomatic representatives include three women Ambassadors, constituting 4 per cent of the total.

164. In 2006, only 15 per cent of Morocco’s diplomatic personnel consist of women. Of the country’s diplomats accredited to international organizations, 25 per cent are women.

165. The Moroccan delegation to the United Nations in New York includes four women members.

166. Women participate in official delegations and represent Morocco at international conferences and summit meetings, and also appear before United Nations committees mandated to follow up international instruments ratified by Morocco. A Moroccan woman is a member of the Committee against Torture.

167. The above summary shows that despite a good deal of progress, with women now holding a number of important posts, it is still difficult for a woman to be promoted to a senior civil service position.

Article 12: Equality under the laws governing nationality

168. As was stated in Morocco’s first (CEDAW/C/MOR/1) and second (CEDAW/C/MOR/2) periodic reports, Morocco recognizes that women have equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality. A woman’s marriage has no effect on her nationality.

169. When Morocco ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, it entered a reservation to article 9, paragraph 2. That reservation is now withdrawn. It was withdrawn with effect from 8 March 2006, following an announcement by His Majesty King Mohammed VI on 30 July 2005, on the occasion of the Throne Day holiday, that every child born to a Moroccan mother, whether in Morocco or abroad, would henceforth be entitled to acquire his or her mother’s nationality. He instructed the Government to reform the Nationality Code without delay, and to settle all applications for Moroccan nationality as soon as possible, provided they met the required conditions.

170. The withdrawal of the reservation to article 9, paragraph 2, and consequently the reform of article 6 of the Nationality Code, will ensure equality under the laws governing nationality, including not only equality between men and women, but equality for children as well, as they will be entitled to acquire Moroccan nationality if born to a Moroccan mother, regardless of the social conditions attending their birth (e.g. if they were stateless or were abandoned).

Articles 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14

Article 10: Equality in education

171. School enrolment, non-formal education and equality education are within the mandate of the Ministry of National Education. Responsibility for the issue of literacy, on the other hand, is shared among several Government agencies, including the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, the Office of the Secretary of State for Youth and the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs, in addition to NGOs and the private sector.

172. The field of education is regulated by the National Charter on Education and Training, in which education is declared to be a national priority second only to territorial integrity; school enrolment was to be universal by 2002. The Charter emphasizes equal rights for girls and boys, with particular attention to school enrolment for girls in rural areas.

173. In March 2000, Parliament adopted an Act making nine years of education compulsory for persons of both sexes. Since then, the Ministry of National Education has been producing detailed comparative statistics for both sexes at the local, provincial and national levels. These statistics are used to develop policies designed to promote equal opportunity for boys and girls

174. In accordance with the main lines of emphasis set forth in the National Charter on Education and Training, the Ministry of National Education has taken action to:

– Develop a strategic framework for development of the education system, laying down the lines along which the system will evolve up to 2020;

– Integrate gender equality and equal opportunity into the strategic framework.

175. The statistical data outlined below show how much effort has been devoted to the task of reducing inequality between girls and boys as far as access to education is concerned. As will be seen, school enrolment for girls climbed steadily for all levels between 1999 and 2005:

Preschool level: in 2005-2006, 290 986 girls were enrolled, out of a total of 750 000 pupils, including 106 695 girls living in rural areas, compared to 260 588 in 2003-2004 and 266 389 in 2004-2005;

Primary level: for the country as a whole, the proportion of children enrolled in school increased from 74.2 per cent in 1999-2000 to 90.08 per cent in 2005, including 95.69 per cent of girls of primary-school age in urban areas and 84.25 per cent of them in rural areas. The numbers of girls enrolled in school went from 1 891 640 in 2003-2004 to 1 864 705 in 2004-2005 and 1 929 510 in 2005-2006, out of a national total of 4 162 400 pupils, including 914 034 girls living in rural areas;

General secondary level, for children in the 12-14 age group: enrolment went up from 49.9 per cent in 1999-2000 to 64.31 per cent for the country as a whole, with 83.88 per cent enrolment for children living in urban areas and 42.53 per cent for their rural counterparts. Girls enrolled in general secondary institutions numbered 618 567 in 2005-2006, out of a total of 1 383 600 students, including 101 711 girls enrolled at schools in rural areas. The corresponding figures for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 were 514 945 and 550 680 respectively;

Vocational secondary level, for children in the 15-17 age group: enrolment was 35.4 per cent in 1999-2000 and 44.28 per cent in 2004-2005. Of the total enrolment, 63.47 per cent consisted of girls; the figure for schools in urban areas was 69.43 per cent girls. In terms of numbers, 282 79 girls were enrolled in 2003-2004, 298 064 in 2004-2005 and 316 863 in 2005-2006, out of a total enrolment of 673 300, including 17 749 girls enrolled at schools in rural areas.

176. Support services for girl pupils are available at a number of levels. They include:

School cafeterias:

Primary level: the total number of girl pupils using school cafeteria services went from 385 350 in 1999-2000 to 443 454 in 2004-2005, out of a total of 938 648 pupils using the service;

General secondary level: the numbers increased from 2560 in 1999-2000 to 7131 in 2004-2005, out of a total of 20 152 students using the service.


Primary level: the number of girl pupils to whom scholarships were awarded increased from 85 in 1999-2000 to 158 in 2004-2005, out of a total of 475 pupils;

General secondary level: the numbers increased from 7275 in 1999-2000 to 13 047 in 2004-2005, out of a total of 40 211 students receiving scholarships;

Vocational secondary level: the numbers increased from 7004 in 1999-2000 to 13 500 in 2004-2005, out of a total of 45 508 students receiving scholarships.

177. Residential facilities:

Primary level: 37 girls lived in residential facilities run by the Ministry of National Education in 1999-2000, compared to 173 in 2004-2005, out of a total of 517 boarding students;

General secondary level: 7428 girls lived in residential facilities in 1999-2000, compared to 12 253 in 2004-2005, out of a total of 44 650 boarding students;

Vocational secondary level: there were 7117 girl boarders in 1999-2000, compared to 13 372 in 2004-2005, out of a total of 44 650 boarding students.

178. The Ministry of National Education distributed large numbers of schoolbooks and supplies, mainly in rural and peri-urban areas, in the context of a solidarity campaign aimed at helping low-income families. In 2004-2005, 93 163 girls, out of 240 769 pupils in all, received books under this campaign.

179. In an effort to encourage girls to attend school and discourage them from dropping out, school buses have been provided for the benefit of girl pupils in some rural areas.

180. In addition to these actions on the part of the Ministry of National Education, a number of programmes have been organized in an effort to promote universal school enrolment, with particular attention to the enrolment of girls, especially in rural areas. Noteworthy examples include the social priorities programme (BAJ), a project aimed at increasing the enrolment of girls in rural areas which is being conducted in cooperation with UNICEF, a project aimed at developing a strategy to promote school enrolment in rural areas, being conducted in cooperation with the United States international development agency (USAID), the establishment of new residential facilities for secondary schools, the establishment of centres for women students in some rural areas, a programme under which transport, tools and schoolbooks are made available to students, and more.

181. Despite the progress that has been made, there are still areas of inequality between the sexes. The policies applied to date have undoubtedly served to reduce inequality, but have not eradicated it, partly because the aim of universal school enrolment has not yet been attained.

182. Morocco’s education system continues to be characterized by sharp differences between city and country in terms of opportunity. Girls who live in rural areas are the main victims of the system. The causes of this situation are now clearly understood. In addition to those discussed above, the following are particularly noteworthy:

– families live a long distance from the nearest school;

– lack of residential facilities at the general and vocational secondary levels;

– inadequate school cafeteria facilities;

– inadequate scholarship assistance for girls at the general secondary level;

– inadequate basic infrastructure in schools (water supply, latrines and so on);

– school timetables do not take the needs of rural life into account;

– young girls play an active productive role in rural family life, with the result that their parents have an incentive to keep them at home;

– many families live in economically precarious circumstances.

183. Preschool education has made some headway, but only outside the public school system. It is still not widespread, and the modern sector is confined to the cities exclusively. A reorganization effort is currently under way with a view to integrating preschool education into basic education in the framework of the ongoing reform of the system.

184. At present, this type of education is subject only to the nominal oversight of the Ministry of National Education, but the Ministry is making preparations for a preschool level within Morocco’s education system.

185. For the country as a whole, a total of 764 200 children were enrolled in preschool education in 2002. A breakdown of the statistical data reveals disparities between different regions and between girls and boys. No more than 272 226 girls were enrolled, a figure that represents 35.62 per cent of the national total. In some regions, such as Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, Doukala-Abda, Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate or Tanger-Tétouan, girls accounted for under than 30 per cent of all children enrolled in preschool education.

186. Most children enrolled in preschool education attend Koran schools. Modern kindergartens and pre-primary schools are still an exclusively urban phenomenon, and the children who attend them are no more than a tiny fraction of the total.

Children enrolled in preschool education, by region

No. of pupils
No. of girls
Oued Eddahab-Lagouira
1 697
Laâyoune-Boujdour-S. El Hamra
8 753
3 775
19 936
8 759
111 933
37 706
Gharb Chrada – Bni Hssen
54 022
15 718
32 671
12 058
Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz
78 065
20 207
34 797
14 604
Greater Casablanca
89 579
42 302
61 791
28 156
40 520
11 074
14 734
6 138
59 334
27 645
28 939
13 149
Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
35 028
8 927
89 401
21 188
National total
764 200
272 226

Source: Ministry of National Education, school statistics for 2000-2001.

187. Higher education may be said to have become feminized to some extent: between 1990 and 2004, the number of women with university degrees more than tripled, increasing from 42 628 to 146 000. In some faculties (such as medicine, pharmacy and dentistry), as many as 60 per cent of the students are women.

188. In the matter of literacy, the policies that the Government has adopted are aimed at reducing and ultimately eradicating illiteracy. In the course of the 1999-2000 school year, the illiteracy rate declined from 55 per cent to 47 per cent.

189. Despite these advances, illiteracy among women continues: 54.7 per cent of Moroccan women are illiterate, compared to 30.8 per cent among men. The situation of rural women, in particular, is a source of concern: the 2004 General Census and Housing Survey estimated that illiteracy among that population group was 74.5 per cent, compared to 46 per cent for rural men.

190. Illiteracy among women is a direct consequence of low school enrolment among girls, population growth, and ineffectual literacy campaigns and programmes.

191. During the 2004-2005 school year, 469 206 persons enrolled in literacy courses. This figure includes data for a mosque-based literacy operation conducted by the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs.

192. Women accounted for 80.2 per cent of that total, a 7 per cent increase over 2003-2004. Rural women accounted for 85 per cent of all persons attending literacy courses in 2000-2001, which was a record year; by 2003-2004, women in that population group accounted for only 50 per cent of the total.

193. Other literacy programmes aimed at women in rural areas have been conducted under programmes funded by international bodies such as the World Bank or the African Development Bank.

194. In addition, literacy programmes for women have been organized by women’s associations in partnership with the Office of the Secretary of State for Literacy and Non-Formal Education.

195. A programme designed to develop basic skills for employees of Moroccan firms, including women, is being implemented under a partnership agreement among the Government, the employers’ association and NGOs.

196. The Government’s announced objective is to reduce the illiteracy rate to under 20 per cent by 2010, and to have illiteracy effectively eradicated by 2015.

Literacy course enrolment targets, 2000-2004

Enrolment target
93 000
300 000
400 000
500 000
600 000
1 893 000

197. As yet actual enrolment has fallen far short of these targets, and the Government’s political commitment in this area has evidently not yet been translated into reality, owing to the fact that budget allocations to date have been inadequate.

198. Responsibility for literacy activities is still dispersed among a number of agencies and ministries, including the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, the Office of the Secretary of State for Youth, the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture. To be sure, the range and variety of entities active in this field reveals a determination to promote literacy, but policies and programmes are marked by a lack of coordination among the various originators, and this has acted as a brake on their effectiveness. Most projects have not progressed beyond the trial stage.

199. In the area of non-formal education, official statistics show that in 2004-2005, a total of 23 863 persons were receiving this type of education, and 63 per cent of them were girls.

200. With a view to the introduction of an integrated policy on literacy and non-formal education, a Secretary of State for Literacy and Non-Formal Education has been appointed. In April 2003, the Office of this Secretary of State adopted a National Plan of Action on Literacy, under which women are identified as a high-priority target group.

201. As regards students’ choice of subject field, Ministry of National Education statistics on the distribution of students by option indicate that girls tend to go in for literary subjects and fields that constitute extensions of the domestic sphere, or, more generally, subjects that do not provide them with marketable skills. Of the students who take family-life education, 82 per cent are girls and only 18 per cent boys, whereas only 35 per cent of students who take technical subjects are girls. In technical secondary education, 91 per cent of the girls enrolled in 1999-2000 were taking commercial studies, and only 9 per cent industrial studies.

202. Beyond the baccalaureate, disparities are again observable in students’ career choices. Girls account for no more than one fifth of all students enrolled in vocational preparation courses, for example.

203. In the programme leading to qualification as a senior technician, it is noteworthy that girls accounted for only 30 per cent of the total enrolment in 1999-2000. Ninety-six per cent of female students at this level were in the Administration programme, compared to 36 per cent in the Electrical/ Industrial programme and a mere 7 per cent in the Mechanical programme.

204. The causes of these disparities are to be found essentially in gender stereotypes, which unquestionably do influence a girl’s decision as to whether to opt for a scientific or technical programme.

205. Designed as it is to achieve comprehensive gender equity and equality in the field of education, Morocco’s national strategy for the integration of a gender approach into development policies and programmes includes the following provisions:

– Integration of the gender aspect into educational curricula, the content of school textbooks, the preparation of the school zone map, and initial and further training and skills development for teaching and administrative personnel;

– Provision of the conditions required to achieve universal school enrolment, with an analysis of field trials and the use of such trials to enhance the effectiveness of initiatives undertaken for that purpose;

– Adoption of measures designed to bring about a substantial increase in the enrolment of girls beyond the junior primary stage, especially in rural areas, taking regional socio-cultural characteristics into account;

– Identification of procedures adapted to the distinctive situation of rural people when assigning support and guidance personnel;

– Support for gender-related research and knowledge production;

– Adoption of a systematic approach to the gathering and publication of gender-disaggregated data at all levels of education and training.

206. Furthermore, the 2005 national report on the Millennium Development Goals, which was the outcome of a participatory preparation process, expressly recommends the adoption of a results-based, gender-sensitive method of budgeting in order to achieve gender equality in the education system.

207. As regards vocational training (VT), the system is open to boys and girls alike, on the basis of the same conditions, at the several training levels (Specialization, Skills Development, Technician and Senior Technician). Evidence of this is to be found in the results of a study conducted in 2005 by the Office of the Secretary of State for Vocational Training on access for girls to the various vocational training programmes: the study found that there was no gender-based discrimination as regards access to those programmes.

208. For the year 2005-2006, a total of 81 887 female trainees were enrolled in the initial alternating/in-house VT system. That figure represents 44 per cent of the total number of trainees in the public and private sectors.

209. At the Specialization level, 50 per cent of the trainees are girls. This figure represents a clear increase compared to 2004-2005 (46 per cent). Female trainees account for a substantial proportion of other levels as well, including in particular the Technician level (48 per cent), followed by the Senior Technician level (47 per cent).

210. A level-by-level breakdown shows a 3 per cent increase in the proportion of female trainees at the Senior Technician level, from 44 per cent for 2004-2005 to 47 per cent in 2005-2006.

211. Over the past eight years, the numbers of girls enrolled in the initial alternating/in-house VT system have grown at an average rate of 6.3 per cent annually.

212. Private-sector VT, which has taken off spectacularly during the past decade, has responded strongly to growing demand for training for girls. In 2005-2006, 37 769 girls enrolled in private training programmes, a figure that represents 57 per cent of all female trainees, public and private sectors combined.

213. The Vocational Training and Employment Promotion Agency, the main public body responsible for VT, provided training for 33 130 girls, a figure that represents 33 per cent of all female trainees, public and private sectors combined.

214. The programmes organized by the Office of the Secretary of State for Youth provide essentially training in the garment and fabric and personal service fields, and consequently virtually all its trainees are girls. In 2005-2006, a total of 7 147 girls enrolled in the institutions run by the Office, representing 100 per cent of all trainees in the fields referred to above, and 9 per cent of all female trainees, public and private sectors combined.

215. Training programmes in the fields of administration and management, craft production, and handmade garments attract approximately 86 per cent of all female trainees. It is important to note that 40 per cent of the fields in which VT programmes are offered are male-dominated (with under 20 per cent female trainees), while no more than 9 per cent can be regarded as female-dominated (with over 80 per cent female trainees). Mixed fields represent 43 per cent of the total, a sharp increase since 2003, when they represented 11 per cent of the total. This phenomenon is attributable to a trend that has been observable for some time: increasingly, despite cultural and social resistance, girls have taken to enrolling in fields that have traditionally been regarded as the preserve of men.

216. Along with institutional VT, other types of training are also available. These are unregulated training programmes aimed essentially at girls from disadvantaged families and girls in rural areas. They include training provided through the Education and Training Centres run by the National Mutual Assistance (NMA) organization, and the Young Women’s Centres maintained by the Office of the Secretary of State for Youth.

217. As part of its new strategy, NMA has embarked on a plan for the restructuring of its training centres, which will henceforth be known as Education and Employment Centres and will provide young women and girls with training designed to enable them to enter socio-economic life.

218. The objectives of the plan are to provide training for girls from disadvantaged families who have never attended school or have dropped out, with a view to helping them acquire marketable skills in various types of crafts, traditional or modern (such as dressmaking, embroidery and knitting), together with courses in education, literacy, simple arithmetic and sports, with the mix of courses modulated to respond to the needs of local markets. The girls’ training is supplemented by advice on nutrition and health, how to prevent or correct malnutrition, and functional literacy.

219. At the present time, NMA operates a network of 863 Education and Training Centres, 508 of which are located in urban or peri-urban areas and 355 in rural areas. In 2005-2006, these centres provided training for a total of 64 074 girls nation-wide.

220. The Office of the Secretary of State for Youth, for its part, operates a network of 282 Young Women’s Centres providing training in home management and sewing for young women and girls between the ages of 10 and 18. In 2004-2005, a total of 26 354 girls and young women received training at these establishments.

221. The Vocational Training and Employment Promotion Agency has approximately 20 mobile training units (MTUs), which are designed as a response to the needs of rural areas and remote commercial firms in various fields: mechanical maintenance, agricultural mechanics, two-stroke engine mechanics, automotive electricity mechanics, electrical maintenance, masonry, sheet metal work, television repair, home appliance repair, carpentry, plumbing, dressmaking and office automation. The last two of these are taken mainly by girls.

222. The Office of the Secretary of State for Youth also has a number of mobile literacy and training units which provided training for 1235 girls from various provinces in 2004-2005.

223. This type of approach is based on practical on-the-job training. Its objectives include the following: to provide know-how through a vocational activity designed to leave learners in possession of a skill that will enable them to enter the job market; to contribute to the preservation of craft skills; and to provide young people in rural areas, including farmers’ sons and daughters in particular, with training adapted to the reality of rural life.

224. This form of training is open to young people who are 15 years of age or older as of the date on which the apprenticeship contract is signed and who meet the eligibility conditions. These are set by regulations for every trade or skill covered by the training.

225. This new form of apprenticeship training was taken by 13 500 young people in the course of operations conducted in 2004-2005 in a variety of craft sectors: services, construction, textile and garment, hotel and restaurant management, ocean fishing and agriculture. Of that total, 2025 were girls. In 2005-2006, the total number of learners was 29 000, including 5800 girls.

226. In the textile, garment and leather sector there were 1260 female apprentices, representing 84 per cent of all apprentices in that sector, followed by the service sector, with 77 per cent.

227. In the education sector, nearly all the apprentices were girls, who made up 92 per cent of the total.

228. Ever since 1987, the Vocational Training and Employment Promotion Agency has been conducting yearly surveys aimed at tracking the situation of VT programme graduates in the job market on an ongoing basis. These surveys, which focus on the nine months following completion of the course, yield information on employment and labour market participation rates and shed light on the characteristics of the jobs these young people have obtained, and on unemployment rates and the main causes of unemployment. The surveys also provide indications about the fit between the training programmes available and the job market.

229. The findings of this research suggest that unemployment is higher among girls who have completed VT courses. In 2003, for example, only 56.2 per cent of female graduates held at least one job after having completed their courses, compared to 65.8 per cent for male graduates.

230. Data on the characteristics of the jobs held by VT graduates of both sexes indicate that more girls than boys tend to work for wages (90 per cent compared to 83 per cent) rather than helping their parents (5 per cent compared to 8 per cent), and that more girls than boys hold permanent jobs (36 per cent compared to 34 per cent). Approximately equal proportions of boys and girls earn less than DH 1000 (28 per cent in the case of girls and 29 per cent in the case of boys), while a larger percentage of girls have earnings in the intermediate range between DH 1000 and 2000 (51 per cent compared to 44 per cent for boys). Seventy-one per cent of girl graduates state that their jobs involve use of the skills they acquired from their training. Eighty-two per cent of girl graduates work for private firms, while the corresponding figure for male graduates is 74 per cent. However, there are relatively more girls who work for small firms with 10 or fewer employees (42 per cent compared to 39 per cent).

231. The Office of the Secretary of State for Vocational Training also conducts studies on the occupational progress made by its graduates during the three years following completion of their programmes. The findings of the 2000 study indicate that girl VT graduates continue to be more vulnerable than their male counterparts to the problem of unemployment: three years after having taken their training, 65.7 per cent of the former had secured jobs, compared to 76.7 per cent of the latter.

232. A preliminary study was conducted in the second quarter of 2004 for the purpose of situating the issue of gender equality in the specific context of in-house vocational training in Morocco. The study concluded that Morocco’s initial VT system was not characterized by structural discrimination against girls inasmuch as there were no regulations or other measures restricting or prohibiting access by girls to any type of training; from a legal standpoint, therefore, all choices are open to them.

Article 11: Equal rights to employment and work

233. Morocco’s female workforce represented 50.2 per cent of all Moroccan women in 2002.

234. Owing to deteriorating job market conditions, young women in urban areas are now able to find jobs only when the economic situation is favourable, with the result that some of them have given up looking for work.

235. A gender-disaggregated breakdown of employment reveals that the numbers of women with jobs has grown substantially during the past decade. Women accounted for 19.2 per cent of the country’s workforce in 1994, but that figure has increased significantly in recent years; by 2001, it had reached an average of 25.9 per cent. This phenomenon, which attests to the far-reaching changes occurring in the job market, is observable in most sectors, albeit to varying degrees.

236. In 2002, women accounted for 34 per cent of the workforce employed in the primary sector, 37 per cent in the secondary sector, and a similar proportion for the tertiary sector.

237. Between 1990 and 2000, the crude participation rate, which is the ratio of persons in the workforce to the total population, stood at approximately 33 per cent. Among the country’s male population, it stood at 50 per cent, with one man in two in the labour force, but only 15 to 18 per cent of Moroccan women participated in economic activity.

238. Employment rates among Moroccan women have tended to stagnate to some extent. At the lower end of the scale, only 21.5 per cent of women were gainfully employed in 1993, while at the higher end, 25.2 per cent of them were employed in 2000. An analysis of the structure of the 15-and-over labour force by level of education shows that individuals without degrees account for the greater part of the labour force (over 57 per cent in 2000), while more highly educated individuals represent only approximately 15 per cent of the labour force for the country as a whole.

239. Unemployment among women living in urban areas increased from 10.7 per cent of the workforce in 1982 to 29.6 per cent in 1994, subsequently falling back to 24.2 per cent in 2002.

240. Unemployment rates are higher for women than for men. It is urban areas that suffer most from this scourge: unemployment in urban areas increased from 15.8 per cent in 1990 to 19.5 per cent in 2000, a leap of four percentage points. The disparity between men and women averages 6.5 percentage points.

241. Unemployment is particularly rampant among young urban job market entrants in the 15-34 age group.

242. Overall, unemployment among women is running at 24.7 per cent, compared to 18 per cent for men. The 25-34 age group has been particularly hard hit: unemployment among persons in this category was 28 per cent in 2000.

243. Employment rates have risen more rapidly for women than they have for men. The number of women in the Moroccan workforce went from under 1 million in 1960 to 2.4 million by 2000, whereas the male workforce grew more slowly during that period. This increase in women’s jobs reflects the expansion of the tertiary sector, while the slower growth in male employment has been the result of gradual processes of change in the agricultural and industrial sectors.

244. But even as increasing numbers of women have found jobs, unemployment among women has been climbing; this has been one of the major trends observable over the past two decades. Women are more likely than men to be unemployed, they tend to remain unemployed longer, and economic upturns bring less of an improvement in their situation. This means that unemployment among women is more structural in nature than unemployment among men, and has more of an impact. In 2002, 71.1 per cent of unemployed women had been looking for work for more than a year, while the corresponding figure for men was 66 per cent.

245. Here again, women are worse off than men: in 2002, 76.8 per cent of unemployed women (78.5 per cent in urban areas and 68.7 per cent in rural areas) had been looking for work for over a year, compared to 53.3 per cent in the case of unemployed men (55.2 per cent in urban areas and 50.5 per cent in rural areas). This situation reflects the discrimination against women that continues to characterize the job market in both urban and rural areas.

246. Jobs are an essential feature of Morocco’s development strategy. The 2000-2004 five-year plan emphasized job creation, describing it as a major challenge that must be addressed in the framework of a consistent development strategy covering all aspects of the country’s economic, social and cultural life.

247. There have been vigorous efforts along these lines in recent years. Young people have been encouraged to start their own businesses, there has been strong support for training and action to help young people to enter the job market after they have completed their training, new instruments designed to facilitate the functioning of the job market have been introduced, and labour legislation has been modernized. However, the gender dimension has been conspicuously absent from these various initiatives.

248. During the period 1999-2000, a National Survey on the Non-Agricultural Informal Sector (ENSI) was conducted by the Bureau of Statistics. The survey identified nearly 1.2 million informal production units, located essentially (71.6 per cent) in urban areas. The aggregate gross sales of these units was some DH 166 billion, or approximately DH 135 000 per unit.

249. It appeared that the role of women in the informal sector was very small and noticeably inefficient. No more than 12.4 per cent of all informal production units were headed by women, and they accounted for under 3.5 per cent of the aggregate gross sales. The earnings of units headed by women averaged only 25 per cent of those headed by men.

250. Between 1961 and 2001, the number of wage earners officially insured under Morocco’s National Social Security Fund increased from 284 782 to 1 100 000. This represents a mean yearly growth rate of 3.5 per cent. For women, the rate was 4.3 per cent: the number of women wage earners went from 41 258 in 1961 to 275 000 in 2001. For the latter year, 25 per cent of all NSSF-insured Moroccan wage earners were women, compared to 18.2 per cent in 1962.

251. An employed woman who takes leave from her employment on the occasion of the birth of her child is entitled to benefit for every day she is away from her job.

252. Since the introduction of the social security system, the number of persons receiving benefit has steadily increased, in line with Morocco’s relatively high birth rate, from 1 077 in 1962 to 17 374 in 1999, for a mean yearly growth rate of 7.8 per cent. Aggregate benefits paid by the NSSF have grown from DH 342 000 in 1962 to DH 82.1 million in 1999; this represents a yearly growth rate of 16 per cent.

253. Morocco’s labour legislation expressly provides that both women and men shall be free and equal in the matter of the right to employment. Accordingly, any discrimination based on race, colour, gender, marital status, religion, union affiliation, ethnic origin or social status serving to violate or infringe the principle of equal opportunity or equal treatment, especially in respect of hiring, the performance and distribution of work, occupational training, pay, promotion, benefits, disciplinary measures and dismissal, is prohibited under article 9 of the Labour Code. It follows from this that women have the right to enter into a contract of employment, while the prohibition on discriminatory measures based on workers’ right to join a union means that any woman, whether married or single, has the right to join a union and to participate in its administration and management.

254. Similarly, article 172 of the new Labour Code provides that subject to exceptions to be specified by regulations, women may be employed for any kind of night work, having regard to their state of health and their social situation, after consultation with the relevant employers’ associations and the most representative trade unions. The conditions that must be provided to facilitate women’s night work are specified by regulations.

255. Women and minors are entitled to a period of rest of not less than 11 consecutive hours between two consecutive days of night work. Every employer who fails to comply with this requirement is liable to a fine.

256. Under article 179 of the Code, certain kinds of work are prohibited for women, and special provisions must be made for women employees. Women may not be employed in quarries or underground in mines; in addition, women may not be assigned work that is excessively hazardous, beyond their capacity, or likely to be injurious to morality. A list of such prohibited kinds of work is issued in the form of regulations, and every employer who fails to comply with the provisions of the regulations is liable to a fine.

257. Maternity welfare has been strengthened by the adoption of a number of legislative measures. In particular, maternity leave has been extended from 12 to 14 weeks, in accordance with ILO rules, except where provision is made for more favourable provisions under the relevant contract of employment, collective agreement or personnel policy.

258. A working mother may, with her employer’s consent, take a year of leave without pay in order to care for her child.

259. Similarly, every employer is required to ensure that a pregnant employee is assigned only light duties during the period preceding and the period immediately following her delivery.

260. An employer is not allowed to terminate any female worker’s contract of employment during pregnancy, as duly attested by a medical certificate, not only during the term of the pregnancy but during the 14 weeks following delivery.

261. Every employer who fails to comply with the above-mentioned provisions relating to maternity welfare is liable to a fine of DH 10 000 to DH 20 000.

262. The importance of protecting women from sexual harassment in the workplace is now recognized. This represents victory in a campaign waged mainly by broad segments of civil society, one that attracted the support of all parties involved. Under article 40 of the Labour Code, sexual harassment of an employee by his or her employer and incitement to debauchery are serious offences. Accordingly, where an employee resigns from his or her employment because of such acts, the termination of his or her employment is deemed to be dismissal without reasonable cause.

263. Morocco’s legislation regulating the protection of domestic workers included a provision for the enactment of a special statutory instrument. As part of the process of bringing that legislation into force, the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training has prepared a draft Act aimed at guaranteeing effective social protection, prohibiting the employment of children as domestic workers before they reach the minimum legal age of 15 years, and regulating employer-employee relations within a legal framework consistent with ILO conventions Nos. 138 and 182. Various governmental and non-governmental bodies have launched initiatives in this area; by way of illustration, SEFEPH has launched a plan of action that it calls Project Inqad. Inqad means “rescue”, i.e. the rescue of young girls employed as domestic workers, by means of a reduction in the number of girls holding jobs. The plan of action is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, and the Office of the Secretary of State for Literacy and Non-Formal Education.

264. These various measures unquestionably add up to a legislative stride forward that will help reduce discrimination between men and women. In themselves, however, they do not constitute an effective means of eliminating sexual harassment in the absence of supporting action.

Article 12: Equal access to health care services

265. In the matter of the right to health, it is noteworthy that there are a number of indicators showing that progress has been made. Life expectancy at birth, for example, rose from 67.9 years in 1994 to 70.8 years in 2004, and the number of inhabitants per physician decreased from 2 933 in 1994 to 1 780 in 2004.

266. Morocco has made considerable strides in the area of access to health care services: basic health structures have been upgraded, vaccination has been made universal, some diseases, such as polio, have been eradicated, infant mortality rates have been reduced, and various reproductive health indicators have shown improvement.

267. Since the early 1980s, Morocco has developed a health policy within the broader framework of its “health for all” strategy, which has focused particularly on basic health care service provision.

The health policy developed by the Ministry of Health features seven main lines of emphasis:

– Preparation of a regional health map as a means of correcting imbalances in health care service coverage;

– Upgrading and extension of basic health care service system infrastructure;

– Development of management policies in the areas of human resources, financial management, logistics and computer systems, among others;

– Progressively greater autonomy for hospitals;

– Overhaul of health care service sector funding mechanisms through the introduction of a system of compulsory health insurance (the system went into effect in September 2005), development of a system of medical assistance for low-income persons, and more effective cost recovery for public outlays on health care services;

– Upgraded personnel training;

– A greater contribution by the private sector to the task of enhancing the health status of all Moroccans.

268. In addition, the Ministry of Health has consistently endeavoured to promote a culture of reproductive health and to provide essential health care and family planning services. A number of national programmes have been adopted in this connection, including a national family planning programme and a national Safe Motherhood programme.

269. Morocco is also actively involved in the effort to attain the Millennium Development Goals, objectives 5 and 6 of which lie at the very heart of the Convention’s provisions concerning the right to health.

270. The monitoring of women’s health has been facilitated and made more effective as a result of the introduction of a women’s health record book.

271. Progress has been made in the area of family planning. By 2003, the contraceptive prevalence rate was 63 per cent for the country as a whole; it was substantially higher in urban areas (65.5 per cent) than in rural areas (59.7 per cent). Contraception is practised essentially by women: men’s participation rates are a mere 3 per cent in the case of modern methods, and 13.2 per cent in the case of traditional methods.

272. But while men do not participate actively in contraception as such, the fact remains that family planning is based on agreement between the spouses under article 51 of the Family Code, which is concerned with the reciprocal rights and duties of husbands and wives.

273. The Ministry of Health has devised an integrated strategy aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal mortality and also various conditions affecting mothers and newborn babies that arise during pregnancy, at the time of birth, or during the post-partum stage.

274. A number of measures have been taken in this connection, including in particular:

– Construction and renovation of maternity facilities, with a newborn reanimation unit in the delivery room;

– Improved reception and care conditions in delivery structures;

– Acquisition of advanced medical equipment to provide better care for mothers and newborn babies;

– More effective and more highly developed logistic arrangements for the evacuation of difficult cases;

– Development of an information, training, education and communication strategy for health care personnel and target population groups;

– Skills upgrading and development for health care personnel who work with newborns.

275. Under the Safe Motherhood strategy, pregnancy monitoring has also been enhanced by increasing the number of medical examinations during pregnancy to four (in the third, sixth, eighth and ninth months), instead of three, as was previously the case. In addition, the strategy provides for ultrasound examinations, medical analyses, early detection of pregnancy-related complications, anti-tetanus vaccination and supplemental iron during pregnancy and lactation, as well as two follow-up examinations for the mother and newborn child after the birth.

276. During the period 1985-1991, maternal mortality was 332 per 100 000 live births; the corresponding figure for the period 1995-2003 was 227 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births. The decline was more impressive (from 284 to 187) for urban areas than for rural areas (from 836 to 264). Despite this improvement, Morocco continues to have one of the highest maternal mortality rates among countries at the same development level.

277. One of the health care system’s main problems is the fact that it is still to some extent marginal as regards the issues of pregnancy and birth, as will be apparent from the figures given below. During the period 1999-2003, only 68 per cent of all pregnant women sought a prenatal medical consultation; the figure was only 48 per cent for rural women, whereas it was 85 per cent for women living in urban areas. A breakdown by level of education reveals an even greater disparity: only 56 per cent of illiterate women sought a prenatal medical consultation, whereas 94 per cent of women with secondary-level or higher education did so. There were other contributing factors besides illiteracy, including economic hardship, difficulty in making use of health care services in remote areas, where settlements are small and dispersed, and factors relating to cultural prejudices.

278. Deliveries under medical supervision are more common than they formerly were, but the situation is still not satisfactory, and continues to be characterized by disparities between urban and rural areas and women with different educational levels. During the period 1987-1991, deliveries under qualified medical supervision accounted for 31 per cent of the total; for the period 1999-2003, the corresponding figure was 63 per cent. In urban areas, the figure for the former period was 64 per cent and for the latter, 85 per cent; for rural areas, the figures were 14 per cent and 40 per cent respectively—a significant increase in relative terms, but still low in absolute terms. Only 49 per cent of illiterate women gave birth with a qualified person in attendance, compared to 94 per cent for women with secondary-level or higher education.

279. The post-natal consultation rate is 65 per cent for the country as a whole, 87 per cent for urban areas and 42 per cent for rural areas.

280. Indicators with a bearing on reproductive health also reveal weaknesses in terms of early detection of breast cancer, cancer of the uterus, cervical cancer, and genital tract infections.

281. Morocco’s effort to combat STI/AIDS features a national programme aimed at the prevention of prenatal transmission of STIs and HIV from mother to child, and the prevention of STI/AIDS in teenagers and young adults.

282. The national STI/AIDS control programme is based on the actions listed below.

– Treatment and care of infected women;

– Care of HIV-infected children, systematic screening of pregnant women on the occasion of their perinatal syphilis serology consultation, and treatment of any cases that may be diagnosed;

– Research on young people’s STI/AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes and practices, targeting the 15-to-18 age group on a priority basis;

– Establishment of intersectoral STI/AIDS control committees in each of the country’s provinces;

– Action in partnership with NGOs and the provincial committees to provide training for outreach personnel assigned to work with young people;

– Training for facilitators working in Young Women’s Centres with a view to enabling them to heighten girls’ awareness of the issue;

– Introduction of courses on STI/AIDS prevention in secondary-level educational institutions.

283. While Morocco still has a relatively low incidence of HIV/AIDS infection, an upward trend has been observable in recent years: from an average of 11 cases per year between 1986 and 1989, the numbers have increased to 57 cases per year between 1990 and 1999, and to 183 cases per year between 2000 and 2004. This represents a 16-fold increase in the incidence of HIV/AIDS between 1986 and 2004.

284. There has been an increase in the incidence of HIV/AIDS among women, who accounted for 16 per cent of all cases in 1986, but for 38 per cent of all cases in 2004. Women in difficult circumstances, including sex workers in particular, are at greater risk, with an estimated infection rate of 2.3 per cent in 2003, compared to no more than 0.1 per cent for the population as a whole, according to Ministry of Health.

285. The under-5 mortality rate has declined in recent years, from 76 per mille in 1992 to 47 per mille in 2004. Post-neonatal mortality rates (among infants between the ages of 1 and 12 months) have declined steadily, from 26 per mille during the period 1987-1991 to 13 per mille during the period 1999-2003. Neonatal mortality rates (among infants between birth and the age of 1 month), on the other hand, have declined more slowly, from 31 per mille during the period 1987-1991 to 27 per mille during the period 1999-2003. For the latter period, the rates were 24 per mille for urban areas and 33 per mille for rural areas.

286. Mortality reduction among female infants in their first year of life has been particularly noteworthy. The opposite trend has occurred for female children between the ages of 1 and 5 years, with mortality rates increasing from 20 per mille during the period 1982-1991 to 37.5 per mille during the period1994-2003.

287. These results may be explainable in terms of place of residence, as rural areas are characterized by high under-five mortality rates for children of both sexes. Other possible factors include mother’s level of education, household economic situation, poverty level, living conditions, and inadequate health care service delivery infrastructure.

288. The under-five mortality indicators should not cause us to overlook the progress that Morocco has achieved in promoting children’s right to health. Evidence of this is to be seen in the range of existing programmes and the results they have achieved, as summarized below.

– National vaccination programme: 90 per cent of Moroccan children are now routinely vaccinated;

– National programme for the elimination of diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infections;

– Breastfeeding promotion campaign;

– Vitamin and trace element supplement programmes;

– Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy.

289. The drive to reduce maternal mortality has required action on the part of the Government, which has undertaken various initiatives in that connection. In particular, new pregnancy monitoring centres and hospitals, complete with operating suites, have been built and existing ones renovated, and these facilities have been provided with equipment, supplies and ambulances; audio-visual teaching materials on safe motherhood and maternal mortality have been prepared and distributed; documents, brochures and data sheets on pregnancy and birth have been distributed to the provinces; the basic training programme for physicians and midwives has been revised; professional development courses have been organized for health care personnel; obstetricians/gynaecologists have been assigned to the country’s prefectures and provinces; midwives have been integrated into the public service; awareness programmes on the risks associated with pregnancy and birth have been prepared for the information of the general public; and, lastly, meetings have been organized on dealing with complications arising from pregnancy and birth.

290. In an effort to reduce regional and geographic disparities, the Ministry of Health has begun to regionalize the health care service sector. An initial step in this direction has been taken in the Oriental region, where the first Regional Health Directorate has been established. This pilot experiment in decentralized health service administration has been conducted as part of a health sector management support programme that is being executed with the assistance of the European Union.

Article 13: Finance and social security

291. In addition to the information on the effort to eliminate economic and social discrimination presented in the above discussion on articles 10, 11 and 12, we may note that a number of measures have been taken in the context of Morocco’s drive to promote funding for entrepreneurship among women. This is one of the strategic factors in the country’s drive to eradicate poverty, which is increasingly a phenomenon that affects women more than men.

292. Despite the growing significance of the gender dimension, however, it has not yet been adequately interiorized in economic development strategies. Furthermore, while women and men are guaranteed equal access to sources of funding under the law, cultural and social considerations may be impediments in practice.

293. Women workers represent only a modest proportion of the workforce, but one that is steadily growing: they accounted for some 28.4 per cent of the total in 2004, compared to 77.5 per cent for men, whereas in 2001 the corresponding figures were 25.6 per cent for women and 78.1 per cent for men.

294. In the private sector, while women are coming to occupy an increasingly prominent place in service firms, they are still concentrated mainly in the textile and agri-food industries, which are characterized by relatively unfavourable working conditions and low pay. This is an illustration of the fact that wage discrimination persists in the private sector; in many instances, women earn little more than the minimum wage. This discrimination becomes progressively less perceptible at higher earning levels.

295. Access to resources, credit and capital continues to be marked by inequality resulting primarily from cultural factors. Similarly, loan conditions, including in particular high rates of interest, constitute an obstacle to the funding of business ventures launched by women.

1990 (%)
1994 (%)
2004 (%)
% gainfully employed women in the non-agricultural sector (urban areas)
% gainfully employed women in the non-agricultural sector (rural areas)
% women by social and occupational status:
Domestic service worker
Cooperative member or associate
Women as % of unemployed population

Source: The Millennium Development Goals, September 2005, p. 26.

296. However, it is important to view the situation in perspective, as a number of actions and initiatives have been undertaken with a view to promoting economic and social participation by women. The most important of these are listed below.

– A “Gender and Development” project launched by SEFEPH in partnership with UNFPA. This project is a useful means of combating poverty;

– A project aimed at enhancing the skills of women entrepreneurs, which was been developed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Agency. The project was originally launched in 2000 and was renewed in 2003 in collaboration with UNIDO and the National Agency for Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises;

– Introduction of the Young Entrepreneur loan programme, under which 26 per cent of all loans have been made available to women applicants, and also the self-employment support programme and the National Business Incubator Programme;

– Establishment of the National Agency for Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises and Regional Investment Centres;

– Action to foster the establishment of women’s cooperatives in urban and peri-urban areas;

– The expanding social economy sector, which is being promoted in the framework of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), among other programmes.

297. Morocco has enacted legislation on micro-credit, strengthened national and regional microfinancing institutions, and provided support for micro-credit associations. These various initiatives have served to make financing more readily available to women who are unable to qualify for credit from conventional banks. The UN has recognized Morocco has a leader in the field of micro-credit.

298. In 2001, the State-run Hassan II Fund allocated DH 100 million for development of the activities of microfinancing associations. Thanks to this grant, the support mechanisms and performance of approved micro-credit associations have been strengthened. As of the end of September 2001, nearly 230 000 micro-loans totalling DH 167 million had been issued. This sector is dominated by two large associations, Al-Amana and La Fondation Zakoura Micro-crédit/UAF-crédit, which between them account for 85 per cent of all micro-lending. Most loans (77 per cent, on average) are made to women, and some associations lend to women exclusively. Micro-credit is more of a rural than an urban phenomenon: 57 per cent of all loans are made to borrowers in rural areas, while the other 43 per cent go to borrowers in urban areas. A variety of activities are targeted for funding, but the main ones are commerce (43 per cent) and crafts (30 per cent), followed by agriculture, textiles, services and other activities.

299. The Al-Amana Association, the leader in the field, has a variety of lending formulas. It offers a 14-week “seasonal loan” with a ceiling of DH 2500, an “express loan” for up to six months, with a ceiling of DH 4000, and a “hirafi jadid loan”, which may be for as much as DH 7000 over a term of eight months; reliable, solvent clients with viable business operations are eligible for a one-month deferral.

300. La Fondation Zakoura MC, for its part, has made approximately 240 000 loans since its inception to persons who would like to start their own businesses but have no capital. Women make up 97 per cent of its clientele, running small business operations at some 300 different places in various parts of the country. The foundation employs 347 managers and field loan officers. Increasingly, its lending activities are accompanied by professional training and development workshops for project operators; it also organizes exhibitions to give them an opportunity of sharing their know-how and marketing their products.

301. The State is concerned to promote the economic integration of women, foster their participation in development, and reduce poverty and unemployment among them. Accordingly, having regard to the gender dimension, it is incumbent upon the State to take specific measures to that end, including:

1. Mobilization of the business sector by introducing incentives expressly designed to encourage women entrepreneurs;

2. Establishment of guarantee funds to support business ventures started by women;

3. Action to increase the numbers of women represented within economic decision-making bodies, especially at the municipal level and within professional associations.

302. As regards women’s right to participate in recreational activities, sports and all aspects of cultural life, we may state at once that those rights are recognized without discrimination in any form. Activities of the kinds mentioned are within the field of competence of the Office of the Secretary of State for Youth and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

303. Women have access to recreational and sports facilities under the same conditions as men. The State encourages the founding of sporting and cultural associations. In addition, it is noteworthy that compulsory physical education courses are a feature of primary and secondary education.

304. Moroccan women have frequently competed successfully in sports, not only in national events but in regional and international events as well. Some women are beginning to make their way into decision-making bodies in the world of sports as well, albeit in very small numbers as yet.

305. The Office of the Secretary of State for Youth has developed the concept of “Sport for All”, bringing sport to the people by moving sports facilities out to peri-urban and disadvantaged areas in response to the constraints arising from isolation and economic vulnerability which prevent children, especially girls, from enjoying the benefits of sports and games. However, rural children in general, and girls in particular, are confronted with serious economic, social and cultural barriers relating to the social image of girls in those areas, and consequently it is difficult for them to exercise their right of access to activities of these kinds.

306. The work of promoting cultural activities and facilitating access to those activities has been furthered by the Ministry of Culture’s policy of bringing culture closer to the people. Various initiatives in that connection have been undertaken since 2003. The most important of these are outlined below.

– Establishment of cultural centres in a number of Moroccan cities, including Tétouan, Es-Smara, Kelaat Sraghnas, Moulay Driss Zerhoune and Assa Azzag, and installation of facilities in them;

– Continued support for publishing firms and theatre companies;

– Expansion of the national network of public libraries, of which there are now 21;

– Provision of facilities and donations of books to approximately 11 libraries;

– Organization of a number of symposia on Arab and foreign cultures;

– Organization of festivals and exhibitions on the cultural heritage in Rabat, Fez, Marrakech and Tétouan;

– Celebration of World Book Day to enhance awareness of Moroccan books and encourage reading;

– Establishment of the National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco, which will unquestionably contribute to the promotion of cultural rights in Morocco.

Article 14: Rural women

307. Development initiatives generally, and rural development initiatives in particular, have increasingly come to include among their objectives the improvement of socio-economic conditions for rural women, promotion of their rights, and recognition of the important role they play in sustainable human development and the elimination of poverty. The State is determined to reduce disparities between urban and rural areas; this aim has been officially formulated at the highest level by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and is endorsed by all, with extensive involvement on the part of civil society.

308. In addition, Morocco hosted the Fifth Summit of First Ladies of the International Steering Committee on the Economic Advancement of Rural Women. This summit meeting afforded an opportunity for collective analysis and an exchange of good practices, resulting in proposals for ways of helping decision-makers and other persons involved in rural development identify their targets and coordinate their actions more effectively with a view to reducing disparities and exclusion and promoting social justice.

309. Before proceeding to a survey of the trends emerging from indicators relating to the economic, social and legal situation of rural women, we may note that the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Maritime Fisheries (MADRPM) was one of the first governmental agencies to designate a gender focal point.

310. Another noteworthy initiative is the development of a plan of action for integration of a gender approach into agricultural and rural development policies, programmes and projects. This plan, which is currently being prepared, features seven main lines of emphasis:

– More income for disadvantaged rural communities, including their women residents;

– Upgrading women’s economic conditions;

– Guaranteed health care services for rural women, men and children;

– Improved hygiene and nutrition for disadvantaged rural communities;

– Guaranteed schooling for girls and boys living in rural areas to at least the end of the secondary level by 2015, reduction of illiteracy to 20 per cent for both men and women by 2010, and the eradication of illiteracy by 2015 for all persons between the ages of 10 and 25;

– Promotion of extension programmes for men and women;

– Development of appropriate vocational training for boys and girls.

311. Rural women have benefited directly from social development projects designed to provide access to health and education services, including in particular rural development projects and projects aimed at putting rural areas in touch with other parts of the country. These programmes have included the social priorities programme (BAJ), the rural community drinking water supply programme (PAGER), the rural electrification programme, and the national rural roads programme.

312. Data relating to access to health care services and maternal and infant mortality rates in rural areas have been discussed under article 12 above, on equal access to health care services. Similarly, education and literacy indicators were analysed in the discussion on article 10, on equality in education.

313. In addition to the above-mentioned data, it is essential to note that under the national strategy for universal basic education, future programmes will include an approach expressly designed to encourage school attendance in rural areas, placing particular emphasis on residents of rural areas and their environment. The main features of that approach are outlined below:

– Access to schools and action to combat the dropout phenomenon;

– Subsidized school expenses for low-income families;

– Teachers’ living and working conditions;

– Provision of basic services for rural communities;

– Action to strengthen adult education and literacy programmes to enhance parents’ awareness of the benefits of education;

– Development and upgrading of school meal facilities;

– Preparation and adoption of a differentiated resource allocation and disparity correction policy in the context of a broader vision of land-use planning and inequality reduction.

314. In the matter of literacy, the Ministry of Agriculture has joined forces with the Ministry of Employment, Social Development and Solidarity to launch a functional literacy programme based on the use of agricultural activities as a teaching tool.

315. This programme is being funded by the National Literacy Programme. In 2004 a total of 3 873 girls and young women signed up for courses, compared to 2 479 in 2001.

316. Formal vocational training institutions are few and far between in rural areas, owing to the socio-economic conditions prevailing in those areas. For the country as a whole, persons from rural areas account for no more than 2.5 per cent of all persons enrolled in vocational training courses. Girls represent 18 per cent of all such persons from rural areas, and 1 per cent of all girls enrolled in training courses for the country as a whole.

Numbers of persons enrolled in vocational training courses in rural areas, by level, 2005-2006

Total number enrolled
Number of girls
% girls
Skills Development
2 692
1 092
Senior Technician


4 503
Source: Statistics provided by the Office of the Secretary of State for Vocational Training.

317. With a view to correcting these disparities, an apprenticeship training programme for young people living in rural areas has been instituted, one that is tailored to rural conditions. The programme was launched in 2001, and by 2004-2005, 13 500 young persons had taken training under it. Of these, 6300 were young persons from rural areas, 12 per cent of them girls. Target enrolment under the programme for 2010 is 60 000 young persons living in rural areas.

318. Data for 2005-2006 indicate that despite a substantial increase in the number of young persons from agricultural backgrounds who have taken training under this programme (10 000 to date), there has been no increase in the percentage representation of girls, who continue to account for 12 per cent of the total.

319. The apprenticeship training programme in agricultural techniques is aimed at young persons living in rural areas who have not been to school or have completed a functional literacy course. The target clientele also includes farmers’ sons and daughters who expect to take over from their parents at the head of the family farming operation.

320. The objectives of the apprenticeship training programme are as follows:

1. To help upgrade the performance and competitiveness of farming operations by meeting those operations’ needs for skilled personnel who will be able to contribute to the task of modernizing them, and by training a new generation of farmers who will be receptive to technological innovations and the professional organization of agriculture;

2. To enable young persons in rural areas to acquire know-how by practising an agricultural or para-agricultural occupation that will provide them with a skill and enable them to enter the job market.

321. The process on which the apprenticeship training programme is based is outlined below.

– Selection of rural young people and identification of their training needs;

– Selection of farming operations where the training is to take place;

– Development of training targets and instructional tools by training personnel in the employ of agricultural vocational training institutions, on the basis of the training needs as previously identified;

– Selection and training of field instructors as a means of enhancing training quality;

– Introduction of work-study programmes, having regard to the conditions of the apprentices themselves and the conditions of the environment in which they live. General and technological training is provided in a formal classroom setting by training institutions, which also monitor the subsequent hands-on training on farms;

– Yearly evaluation of training and awarding of certification upon successful completion of the training cycle.

322. Rural women participate extensively in economic activity. Employment rates for women in rural areas are in the vicinity of 40 per cent, with some variability for different regions.

323. Agriculture is the main form of economic activity for rural women, providing jobs for approximately 92 per cent of employed women in rural areas. Rural women tend to enter the job market at an early age: 32.3 per cent of women with jobs in rural areas are under 19 years of age, compared to 11.1 per cent of economically active women in urban areas.

324. Rural women, regardless of whether they are gainfully employed, must still devote a substantial fraction of their time to domestic work. Carrying drinking water is a task that may take up to six hours a day, while fuel-gathering may require one to two days a week, and is very laborious in many instances.

325. Rural women are increasingly active within associations and cooperatives in an effort to achieve greater representation and participate in decision-making. This initiative is strongly encouraged by the State.

326. The promotion of women’s cooperatives is contributing to the emancipation of rural women. There were 306 women’s cooperatives in 2003 (compared to 240 in 2004), with a total of 9134 members.

327. Agricultural cooperatives, with 4444 members, account for 57 per cent of all women’s cooperatives. They operate in various sectors, including poultry production, rabbit production, argan oil production, prickly pear production, and agricultural product processing.

328. The Office for Cooperative Development (ODECO), which is mandated to promote, support and advise the cooperative sector in Morocco, has joined with various other bodies to initiate a number of promotional efforts for the benefit of rural cooperatives. ODECO also organizes national and regional seminars and workshops with a view to enhancing the awareness of rural women and providing them with training, support and guidance, and as a means of establishing partnership relations with national, regional and local associations, local government, universities, and training and research institutes.

329. The traditional division of labour between the sexes in rural areas tends to restrict women to the functions of reproduction and housework, and this is a contributing factor in rural women’s continuing isolation from the business activities of cooperatives. Making matters worse, most rural women are uneducated and are unfamiliar with the world of business, and as a result of these factors, they have not shown much interest in joining cooperatives.

330. While rural women’s associations have attracted growing numbers of members, they are relatively new and are still inadequate. These associations are active in a number of areas, including:

– Literacy courses for young women and adult women;

– Family planning services;

– Information, education, communication and awareness-raising actions aimed at rural women to help them understand their rights;

– Support for the establishment of production cooperatives;

– Design and execution of income-generating projects for rural women.

331. While the actions and initiatives undertaken by these associations have been highly laudable and very useful, women’s organizations are still confronted with difficulties in the areas of project management, communication and networking capabilities. In addition, some of these organizations have tended to be undemocratic in their internal operation, and this has tended to make their situation somewhat precarious.

332. Various supporting measures designed for the benefit of women’s associations have been applied through partnership agreements with ministries or other Government agencies. Projects funded under agreements of this kind give priority to the promotion of women’s issues, rural development, basic social services and strengthening the capacities of the associations in question.

333. Despite their 40 per cent participation rate, rural women are not associated with farm or home decision-making. For the country as a whole, only 4.4 per cent of all farming operations, accounting for 2.5 per cent of Morocco’s useful agricultural area, are managed by women. Input use levels remain low, at 51 per cent for fertilizers, 16 per sent for selected seed, and 33 per cent for pest control products. Eighty-one per cent of all farmers (and 98 per cent of all women heads of farming operations) are illiterate, and their operations represent 76 per cent of the country’s useful agricultural area (UAA), while farmers who have been educated beyond the primary level represent no more than 9.6 per cent of all farmers and work only 13.4 per cent of the UAA.

334. In the light of this situation, the Ministry of Agriculture has adopted a programme of socio-economic development initiatives. A budget allocation expressly earmarked for income-generating activities for rural women was made available by the Ministry’s Teaching, Research and Development Directorate in 2002.

335. This budget allocation is used to finance initiatives designed to benefit rural women. In areas of rain-fed farming, funds are channelled through Provincial Agriculture Directorates and Work Centres.

336. In irrigated farming areas, it is Regional Agricultural Development Boards that are mandated to preserve progress made under projects designed to provide support for women’s activities. To that end, Boards assign the necessary personnel and provide adequate material and financial resources to ensure that ongoing actions can be sustained.

337. The aim of the income-generating projects programme launched by the Teaching, Research and Development Directorate is to upgrade socio-economic conditions for rural women. Both individual and group projects are executed under the programme. The aim of these projects is to improve such activities as small stock raising, horticulture, the establishment of women’s cooperatives, and activities designed to add value to agricultural products, such as packaging, bottling and the like.

338. Experience acquired under the income-generating projects programme in the course of the past four years reveals that small stock raising is the most popular form of activity among rural women. Furthermore, since the approval of the budget allocation in 2002, the numbers of women involved in these projects have increased substantially, from 1260 in 2001 to 2 610 in 2004. Government spending for the programme has grown significantly, from DH 981 000 in 2001 to DH 4 million in 2004.

339. Agricultural extension initiatives are also aimed at women as well as farmers, and are tailored to their needs. Growing numbers of women are reaping the benefits of these initiatives: in 2001 there were 33 168 women beneficiaries, in 2002, 43 472, in 2003, 58 968 and in 2004, 74 124. In other words, the total has more than doubled since 2001.

Articles 15 and 16

Article 15: Equality in legal and civil matters

340. Under Moroccan law, men and women are expressly recognized as equal before the law, with the same right to a fair trial.

In addition to the data presented in the core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.23/Rev.1 of 15 April 2002, relating to the right to seek legal remedies), we may note at this point that draft legislation has been prepared that makes provision for the establishment of administrative courts of appeal. This measure will afford a means of consolidating the law’s guarantees of the right to seek redress through the courts.

Equality in civil rights has been further strengthened by a number of legislative provisions, further confirming that men and women are equal in the eyes of the law.

341. In the sphere of criminal law, for example, under the new Code of Criminal Procedure, which was promulgated on 3 October 2003, a wife who wishes to sue her husband for damages may do so without being required to petition the court for permission.

The same applies to the reforms of the Penal Code discussed in Part I of this report concerning such matters as adultery and other offences committed where one of the spouses is absent and out of the country, as provided in articles 418 and 491 of the Penal Code (see Part I above).

342. In the sphere of family law, a new Family Code has been adopted, under which husband and wife are deemed to be equal in respect of their marriage during the marriage. The joint responsibility of husband and wife is recognized, and provision is made for new forms of dissolution of marriage that are favourable to the wife. These reforms have eliminated discrimination against women to a great extent, in an area of law which has traditionally been regarded as characterized by persistent inequality.

343. Under the new Family Code, a minimum age at which individuals may lawfully contract marriage has been set, viz. 18 years for both men and women. This provision has served to harmonize the age of civil majority and the age of political majority, thereby recognizing that men and women are equal in terms of legal capacity.

344. Under the new system of family law, girls and boys are deemed to be equal as of the age of 15 years, inasmuch as the law grants them the right, at that age, to choose the person who is to have custody of them. Under the former Code of Personal Status, in contrast, boys enjoyed that right when they reached the age of 12 years, whereas for girls it was 15 years.

Similarly, grandchildren are now entitled to inherit from their maternal grandfather in the same way as they are entitled to inherit from their paternal grandfather.

345. Women and men enjoy the same rights with respect to the conclusion of contracts and the administration of property. Under article 6 of the former Commercial Code and article 726 of the Code of Obligations and Contracts (DOC), a married woman who wished to enter into a contract of service as a nurse or to engage in business was required to obtain her husband’s permission first, but since the repeal of those articles, Moroccan contract law contains no discriminatory provisions.

346. Moroccan women have full compettence to hold, administer and dispose of property. The only restrictions are those contemplated under provisions of the law relating to incapacity. Incapacity may arise from legal minority, extravagance, weakness of the mental faculties or insanity, all of which are conditions requiring the protection of the individual concerned, or incapacity resulting from a criminal conviction. In either case, the restrictions apply to all, without discrimination in any form.

347. Moroccan women have full capacity to own and manage property; marriage has no effect on their situation in that respect. Moroccan law has incorporated the provisions of the Malikite school of Islamic law prescribing a matrimonial regime of separation of property. Marriage does not entail the merging of the parties’ respective assets.

348. Under article 49 of the new Family Code, however, husband and wife may make an agreement concerning the management, beneficial use and sharing of assets acquired during the marriage. This agreement is set out in writing in a document separate from the marriage contract, and the adouls (witnesses under Islamic law) inform the parties of that option at the time the marriage contract is concluded. In 2004, 312 agreements were concluded between husband and wife concerning the common management of property acquired during their marriage. A slight decrease (of the order of 5.45 per cent) was observed in 2005, with 295 such agreements between spouses.

349. These new provisions of the Family Code do not imply the introduction of a regime of community of property, inasmuch as they apply only to property acquired during the marriage. They do, however, afford a means of recognizing the domestic work performed by women and their full participation in the management of the affairs of the household.

350. Freedom of movement is guaranteed under the Constitution for women on the same footing as men. This right has been effective in practice ever since the abolition of the requirement for a married woman to secure her husband’s permission to obtain a passport. Equality in terms of freedom to choose a residence and domicile was the subject of a declaration by Morocco at the time of its ratification of the Convention. As noted earlier in this report, Morocco has withdrawn the declaration in question and now recognizes the provisions of article 15, paragraph 4.

Article 16: Equal rights in family matters

351. Morocco’s new Family Code was adopted during the preparation of the third and fourth periodic reports on the follow-up and evaluation of its implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The adoption of the new Code marked a turning-point in the history of Moroccan law in the sphere of the family.

352. Without repeating what has already been said earlier in this report about progress in this connection (see part I, under article 15), we may note at this point that the drafting of this statutory instrument constitutes a response to the legitimate aspirations of Moroccan society, including in particular its feminists, NGOs concerned with women’s rights, NGOs concerned with human rights, intellectuals and politicians, all of whom have worked for an egalitarian, fair and equitable system of family law.

353. Various measures aimed at supporting the Family Code have been adopted, including the establishment of family justice divisions of courts and the appointment of judges specializing in family cases, the establishment within the Ministry of Justice’s Civil Affairs Directorate of a unit mandated to monitor those divisions, training and professional development for family court judges, the introduction of family law as a field of specialization in faculties of law, and the establishment of special facilities for battered women in court premises.

354. A number of initiatives have been launched with a view to ensuring that the Family Code is widely distributed and implemented more effectively outside Morocco. These have included meetings with judges seconded to Moroccan embassies and consulates abroad, the appointment of family judges competent to perform marriages in European countries where there are sizable Moroccan communities, such as France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Spain, and the printing of an explanatory circular on how the Family Code applies to the Moroccan community abroad.

355. Since the promulgation of the Family Code, the Government and civil society have conducted a yearly evaluation. On 12 June 2006, the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Consultative Council on Human Rights and in collaboration with UNDP, organized a seminar for the purpose of evaluating the Family Code after it had been in force for two years. Despite the relativity and difficulty of this task, owing to the short base period available for the purpose, the fact remains that a certain amount of light has been shed on the effectiveness of the Family Code, the constraints that have arisen, and the challenges that must be addressed. In addition, a Parliamentary committee visited the family justice divisions of the courts in Casablanca and Benslimane to investigate conditions there and to determine to what extent the Code was being enforced.

356. Furthermore, the Family Code has been very widely distributed and brought to the attention of society at large. This effort has entailed the participation of all concerned, including Government agencies, the media, civil society, the universities, and others.

357. By way of illustration, the Ministry of National Education has prepared a guide to the principles of equity, equality and justice enshrined in the Code and their incorporation into school textbooks. The Ministry of Justice, for its part, has prepared a practical guide to the enforcement of the Code. At the initiative of women’s rights associations, audio-visual documents aimed at the general public have been prepared, including some in vernacular Moroccan. Lastly, SEFEPH has joined forces with GTZ to prepare a simplified illustrated version of the Family Code in Arabic and French.

358. Men and women who are of sound mind may lawfully contract marriage upon reaching 18 years of age. However, special authorization to contract marriage may be granted to a young man or woman who has not yet reached that age. The decision to grant such authorization rests with the family court judge competent to perform marriages. The judge issues his decision, stating the grounds therefor, after hearing the persons wishing to contract marriage and their representatives.

359. Equality between men and women in the matter of entering into marriage and freely choosing a spouse is enshrined in the Family Code, which defines marriage as a pact founded upon mutual consent and a lawful, permanent union between a man and a woman, undertaken for the purpose of founding a stable family under the guidance of the husband and wife. This provision has terminated the principle of the husband’s authority that was enshrined in article 1 of the former Code of Personal Status.

360. The principles of freedom and equality in the matter of entering into marriage are implicit in the rules governing offer and acceptance, which are deemed to be fundamental to the validity of a marriage, so that any defect in respect of compliance with them may make the marriage invalid.

361. In addition, any person who has been induced to consent to marriage through coercion or deceit may petition for termination of the marriage within two months following the day on which the coercion is removed or the deceit becomes known, with the right to claim compensation.

362. A woman who is of legal age may either contract marriage herself or delegate her father or some other relative to contract marriage on her behalf. The requirement for her to act through her legal guardian has thus been abrogated. Freedom to enter into marriage is regarded as a right, one that a woman who is of legal age may exercise in accordance as her choice and interest may dictate.

363. Since the promulgation of the Family Code, Ministry of Justice statistics show an upward trend in numbers of marriages contracted, from 236 574 in 2004 to 244 795 in 2005, for a 3.48 per cent increase.

364. At the same time, the number of marriages concluded by women themselves, without the presence of their legal guardians, went from 34 475 in 2004 to 49 175 in 2005, for a 42.64 per cent increase, indicating that this provision of the Code is being interiorized in Moroccan society.

365. The new Family Code, the full text of which is appended to this report, represents a break with the former provisions of the Code of Personal Status. Under the latter, wives had rights that their husbands were bound to respect, and husbands had rights that wives were bound to respect. This approach effectively legitimized the husband’s authority. The Family Code, consistent with the definition and purpose of marriage formulated therein, makes provision only for reciprocal rights and duties (article 51), thereby abolishing the wife’s duty of obedience and establishing the joint responsibility of husband and wife.

366. The reciprocal rights and duties of husband and wife during their marriage are as follows: legal cohabitation, and equal treatment in cases of polygamy; respect, affection, and preservation of the family’s interests; management of the household’s affairs and protection of the children; agreement in decisions relating to management of the family’s affairs, children and family planning; good relations between each spouse and the parents of the other spouse, and reciprocal right of succession.

367. The Family Code has retained the institution of polygamy, but it is now subject to authorization by a judge. An application for authorization to contract a second marriage must indicate the objective, exceptional grounds for polygamy, and must be accompanied by a declaration on the applicant’s financial situation, as provided under article 42 of the Code.

368. Polygamy is prohibited where there is reason to fear injustice between the wives, or where the wife has inserted a clause stipulating monogamy into the marriage contract, in accordance with the provisions of article 40 of the Code.

369. The Family Code emphasizes mediation and reconciliation as means of maintaining the stability and cohesion of the family. It also makes provision for preservation of the rights of both first and second wives by stipulating that the first wife must appear for a hearing in the judge’s chambers in an attempt at reconciliation. In the event that reconciliation proves not feasible, where the wife petitions for divorce, authorization to conclude the second marriage is granted only provided the husband deposits with the office of the Clerk of the Court, within seven days, a sum adequate to cover the rights of the wife and children, if any. If upon the expiry of that period the sum in question has not been deposited, the husband is deemed to have withdrawn his application for authorization to engage in polygamy.

370. The rights of the second wife are also safeguarded by the requirement that she must be informed of the marital situation of her prospective husband, and the requirement that her opinion and consent must be obtained in the form of a formal written statement, as provided under article 46 of the Family Code.

371. Polygamous marriages decreased in number from 904 in 2004 to 841 in 2005, for a 6.97 per cent decline. This suggests that polygamy may ultimately disappear in practice.

372. The dissolution of any marriage now requires a court decision. Both husband and wife must be present after an attempt at reconciliation, followed by a second attempt where there are children. The only situation in which both spouses are not required to be present is a petition for divorce on the grounds of the husband’s absence.

373. The Family Code has introduced two other forms of dissolution of marriage: divorce by mutual consent, and divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. The latter procedure terminates conjugal life by reason of disagreement so profound as to make conjugal life impossible, as certified in a written report by mediators designated to reconcile the husband and wife. The dissolution of marriage on the grounds of irreconcilable differences has been instituted to simplify the procedure.

374. In addition, Moroccan law regulates divorce in return for a consideration, with a view to eliminating unconscionable considerations that jeopardized the rights of the wife and might also infringe on the rights of the children, such as the wife’s renouncing her right to the custody of the children or her support payments.

375. A woman may lawfully petition the courts for divorce on any of the grounds contemplated in article 98 of the Family Code: failure on the husband’s part to observe one or more of the conditions stipulated in the marriage contract, hardship, non-support, absence, redhibitory defect, an oath of abstention from marital relations or desertion. However, a woman may not lawfully seek a divorce in return for a consideration.

376. The Code contains many provisions aimed at safeguarding the rights of the wife and children. Some of those provisions are designed to guarantee the interests of all parties, and of the children in particular, by specifying that the ex-husband shall be required to pay the cost of the children’s lodging, independently of the cost of the ex-wife’s maintenance. The purpose of these provisions is to ensure that the wife and children will have somewhere to live after the ex-wife has completed her waiting period.

377. The simplification and rapidity of procedures under the Code are noteworthy, especially in respect of the dissolution of marriage, which should not take more than six months, and in respect of support payments, which must be settled within one month at most. In all cases, the interests of children are the main consideration.

378. A further illustration of the equality of rights and responsibilities upon the dissolution of marriage is to be seen in the fact that in the event of a revocable divorce, the husband does not have an automatic right to take his wife back before the expiration of her waiting period: he must state his intention of doing so before two adouls (witnesses under Islamic law), who immediately inform the judge. Before issuing the certificate of revocation, the judge summons the woman to inform her of the matter, and if she refuses, she may seek a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences under the provisions of article 124 of the Family Code.

379. The unequal aspects of the effects of divorce have been mitigated to some extent, especially as regards the grounds on which the woman loses custody of her children in the event of her remarriage. In the first place, this does not happen in all cases, but only where it is in the children’s interest. In the second place, a woman who remarries does not lose custody of a child who is under seven years of age, a child to whom separation from his or her mother would be detrimental, a child affected by a disease that would make nurturing difficult for any person other than his or her mother, a child whose mother is his or her legal guardian, or a child to whom the husband is related within the prohibited degrees.

380. The incidence of divorce declined substantially after the promulgation of the Family Code: there were 44 922 divorces in 2003, but only 26 914 in 2004, a 40.09 per cent decrease. An increase of 10.23 per cent was observed in 2005, with 29 668 cases of divorce, but even taking this into account, the incidence of divorce is markedly lower now than it was before the promulgation of the Family Code. Interestingly, more couples are now divorcing by mutual consent: there were 4 949 divorces of this kind in 2005, up from 1 860 in 2004.

381. As we have seen, the Family Code has expressly instituted joint responsibility of husband and wife in all matters concerning the management of the household’s affairs and the upbringing of the children. None the less, some areas of inequality persist, especially as regards the matter of guardianship and legal representation: the mother is the legal guardian only in the father’s absence or incapacity, or where the father has been stripped of his paternal authority. Moreover, a mother who has custody of a child may travel abroad with the child only after securing the permission of his or her legal guardian.

382. Women and men have equal rights to decide on matters relating to family planning and to have access to available information and means in that area (cf. the discussion on article 12 above). As we have seen, Morocco has withdrawn its reservation to this paragraph of the Convention.

383. Under the new legislation governing kafala (the legal placement of children in families), a child may not be placed in the care of an unmarried woman, whereas formerly children could be placed in the care of married persons only.

384. In Morocco, a woman’s marriage has no effect on her family name, her choice of profession or occupation, or her acquisition, management, administration and enjoyment of property; married women have full legal capacity in those matters (cf. the discussion under articles 11 and 15 above).

385. In accordance with the provisions of article 16, paragraph 2, a minimum age for marriage is specified in Moroccan law. Every person under that age who wishes to marry is required to obtain authorization from a court, and such authorization must include a number of guarantees to safeguard the paramount interests of the minor concerned. Both marriages and divorces are registered in court registries maintained expressly for that purpose, and a copy of every entry is sent within 15 days to the civil registrar at the place of birth of the husband and wife. Where one of them was not born in Morocco, the copy is sent to the King’s Prosecutor for the trial court in Rabat. The civil registrar transcribes the contents of the entry in the margin of the birth record of both the husband and the wife.

386. Morocco has withdrawn its reservation to article 16, paragraph 2.

387. It will be apparent from the foregoing that the provisions of the Family Code address the Committee’s concerns and recommendations as formulated in paragraph 26 of document CEDAW/C/2003/CRP.3/Add.7.

388. The effectiveness of the Family Code can hardly be assessed adequately as yet, of course, since it has been in force for only two years. However, a number of constraints and difficulties have emerged, including in particular difficulties attributable to inadequate infrastructure and logistic resources and a lack of awareness and training among officials responsible for enforcing the Code and the persons in charge of publicizing it and propagating an understanding of it throughout Morocco’s social fabric.

389. It has proved difficult to obtain a hearing before one of the family justice divisions within courts, and this has been a factor limiting the effectiveness of the Code. Women still prefer to turn to help centres and legal and psychological support centres, which are regarded as more readily accessible. Evidently it will be necessary to establish independent family courts.

390. In addition, despite the simplification and promptness of the procedures for which provision is made in the Code, petitioners have to wait for long periods for rulings on divorce and support cases.

391. There are even what might be termed deficiencies in the wording of the Code itself. For example, the Code does not specify a threshold age below which special permission to marry before the lawful age of 18 years may not be granted. Another weakness is that the Code’s provisions on the joint administration of property acquired during marriage do not include standards for evaluating the wife’s contribution in the form of domestic duties, where there is no contract between the spouses.

Action to combat violence against women

392. Since the early 1990s, the silence surrounding the issue of violence against women has been broken, thanks to the unremitting efforts of women’s associations. Today, the Government is massively committed to the effort to stamp out this scourge. Civil society actions in this connection have been manifold, ranging from advocacy, awareness-raising and research to the holding of a yearly symbolic tribunal on violence against women.

393. A number of initiatives along these lines have been conducted. Some of these were noted in Morocco’s second periodic report (CEDAW/C/MOR/2). In addition, various statutory instruments have been enacted, as we have seen in several passages of this report (cf. the discussion of articles 1, 2, 3 and 11 of the Convention).

394. This dynamic process culminated in 2002 with the announcement of a national strategy to eliminate violence against women. The Strategy was developed by the Ministry for the Status of Women in partnership with UNFPA, UNPD and UNIFEM.

395. A key aspect of the development of the strategy was a qualitative field study. All parties directly or indirectly concerned with the issue, both from Government agencies and from civil society, participated in the study, the outcome of which was a detailed picture of the various forms of violence against women in Morocco.

396. The strategy addresses the legislative and institutional settings and the advocacy aspect. The development of the human and material resources and institutional structures directly relevant to the effort to eliminate violence against women was addressed through a series of practical measures designed as responses to the need for more numerous and diversified community outreach structures, and the need to establish specialized medical units attached to temporary shelters providing support and counselling for battered women.

397. The strategy also emphasizes other short-, medium- and long-term aspects, including education, awareness, information, research, training and partnership. It also suggests approaches to the task of developing public policies that will treat violence against women as a top priority within the overarching framework of the development, democratization and modernization process

398. The objectives of the strategy are as follows:

1. Development of data bases as a prerequisite for scientific investigation of the phenomenon of gender-based violence in Morocco;

2. Action to make the various forms of violence against women criminal offences as violations of human rights;

3. Results obtained and progress made in the effort to eliminate violence against women shall be included among human development indicators;

4. Preparation of a national response to the issue of violence against women.

399. The strategy is being implemented in the framework of an operational plan that was initiated in 2004 by SEFEPH. The plan features a participatory approach, with concerted action on the part of the various partners concerned. Its main lines of emphasis were announced on the occasion of the launch of the yearly national campaign to combat violence against women, which has been organized every year since 1998 and was strengthened in 2004 and 2005 with awareness caravans in a number of cities.

400. Five areas were identified in the operational plan as meriting priority: availability of services for women who have been the targets of gender-based violence; research and action; training; awareness, and advocacy. Provision is made for two implementation bodies: a steering committee and a number of thematic working groups.

401. The steering committee is a tripartite body with 19 members: eight representatives from Government ministries and agencies, eight from battered women’s associations and help centres, and three from university-based research groups. It was officially launched on 23 March 2006. The committee’s working tools include an organizational chart, a training programme, and an annual action plan. The steering committee is an arm of SEFEPH.

402. In 2002, the Ministry for the Status of Women published a guide on support centres for battered women. Yearly updates have been published in 2003, 2004 and 2005 by SEFEPH.

403. A number of help centres for battered women have been established, some by the Government and some by NGOs. In particular, SEFEPH has established a network of help centres to provide battered women with legal and psychological support and assistance. The network has recently been expanded: eight new centres have been founded in the Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Fez and Oujda regions, with the support of UNFPA and in partnership with associations in the regions in question.

404. In March 2002, the Ministry for the Status of Women organized a national forum on action to combat violence against women. In 2003, SEFEPH organized a workshop for newly fledged magistrates who had recently graduated from the Higher Institute of Judicial Studies with a view to sensitizing them to the issue of violence against women. SEFEPH also organized the first regional forum on violence in December 2005.

405. The Crimination Investigation Directorate, which is an arm of the General Directorate for National Security, has appointed a gender focal point and established a new special Domestic Violence Unit headed by a police commissioner. In January 2001, the Directorate instructed all police stations in Morocco to gather monthly statistics and information on battered women.

406. In 2002, units reserved for battered women were established within Ibn Sina Hospital in Rabat and Ibn Rochd Hospital in Casablanca. A feature of each of these units is a record expressly designed to keep track of patients who are victims of domestic violence.

407. The Ministry of Justice is currently developing a sectoral plan for the purpose of combating violence against women.

408. In an effort to upgrade the quality and accuracy of official statistics on violence against women, SEFEPH recently signed a partnership agreement with the Office of the High Commissioner for Planning (the Government agency in charge of producing statistics) for the purpose of developing an institutional information system on gender-based violence in Morocco. Under that partnership agreement, a field survey of Government agencies was conducted to identify methods, carriers and variables used to gather data on gender-based violence.

409. Concurrently with this project, SEFEPH, working in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health, the General Directorate for National Security, the Royal Gendarmerie, women’s associations and legal and psychological help centres, has set up a national “green number” (080008888) for battered women and girls, to enable them to contact specialized services such as sympathy, guidance, and legal and psychological counselling. At the same time, the line will serve as a source of quantitative and qualitative data on gender-based violence. The “green number” was announced in November 2005, during the national campaign to combat violence against women headed by the Prime Minister.

410. The Ministry of Justice has sent a circular to all public prosecutors instructing them to take appropriate action to enhance the effectiveness of their efforts to combat violence against women and to ensure that battered women are received and dealt with humanely. Measures to that end are outlined below.

– Establishment of a communication unit for the purpose of keeping in touch with help centres, such unit to be headed by a woman deputy prosecutor or deputy King’s Prosecutor;

– Support and training for help centres and action to provide them with information about required procedures;

– Professional development for judges to enable them to perform their duties adequately when dealing with cases involving battered women;

– Action to ensure that help centres are informed of the schedules of walk-in clinics;

– Periodic meetings with help centres in the interests of more effective coordination;

– Partnership with other relevant Government agencies to ensure that help centres have adequate facilities;

– Enlistment of the services of social workers to conduct investigations for the benefit of battered women;

– Action to ensure that battered women are received and dealt with by women members of the Criminal Investigation Directorate;

– Arrangements whereby investigating personnel can be accompanied by help centre representatives;

– Legal aid for low-income women;

– Mediation in domestic violence cases in the woman’s interest, with all necessary measures taken to ensure her protection.

411. A number of studies and surveys on violence against women have been conducted, by Government agencies such as SEFEPH, individuals, or women’s associations. By way of illustration, a study entitled “Current status of ongoing initiatives in the effort to combat violence against women in Morocco” was conducted by SEFEPH in August 2004.

412. In response to a memorandum from the network of help centres for battered women, centres run by women’s associations have decided to organize themselves into a network in their turn (the Ana Rose network) with a view to optimizing the support services available to women. This step has enabled them to pool their awareness and training efforts and to establish a data base on battered women that provides the various agencies involved with quantitative and qualitative data on the extent of this phenomenon, its various forms, its origins, and the like.

Part III: Follow-up to international conferences

1. Follow-up to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

413. The Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons (SEFEPH), committed as it is to the objective of achieving gender equity and equality through the systematic, permanent integration of a gender approach in all development programmes and policies, has prepared a national strategy for that purpose, with the support of GTZ, the German Agency for Technical Cooperation, and the close collaboration and participation of the various relevant Government agencies, NGOs, political parties and the private sector.

414. The strategy is based on the principle of respect for human dignity, equality and justice, as taught by Islam and as enshrined in the Constitution and the various conventions that Morocco has ratified, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and having regard to the Millennium Development Goals as well.

415. A sector-by-sector plan of action to follow up and coordinate implementation of the provisions of the strategy is currently being drafted by SEFEPH. The plan of action is designed to address two primary concerns: the integration of a gender approach, and the development of effective coordination among the various parties involved.

416. The strategy expresses a general concern on the part of the Government of Morocco: to pursue sustainable, equitable human development founded on justice and gender equality.

417. It features two major strategic objectives, which may be formulated as follows:

– That development policies and programmes shall be designed, influenced and directed fairly and equally by women and men; and

– That women, men, girls and boys shall profit from and derive fair and equal benefit from development policies and programmes.

418. The task of attaining these strategic objectives will require the adoption of two complementary approaches:

– A specific approach, designed as a targeted response to women’s distinctive needs in an effort to enhance their socio-economic and political situation and correct the various forms of inequality and discrimination that affect women more than they do men;

– A comprehensive approach that takes the gender aspect into account in a systematic way in all areas (legal, political, social, economic, cultural and the like), at every stage (design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation) and at all levels (macro, meso and micro). The aim of this approach is to prevent discrimination and ensure that development-related institutions and development policies and programmes become routinely egalitarian.

419. The strategy calls for the needs, aspirations and specific interests of both sexes to be taken into account in all areas. It features a five-level structure within which areas for action on a priority basis are to be addressed. Those areas are the ones identified in the Beijing Platform for Action, namely:

– civil rights;

– representation and participation in decision-making;

– social and economic rights;

– social and individual patterns of behaviour;

– institutional and political integration.

420. The principle of equality is both the underpinning and the ultimate objective of this strategy. Equality, as the term is used here, denotes primarily the construction of new roles for women and men which will ensure that while their differences are respected, both will participate fairly and fully in all areas.

421. The national strategy for gender equity and equality incorporates a gender approach into development policies and programmes, thereby constituting a robust general framework for practical action in all priority areas aimed at reducing disparities based on social roles that penalize women. The strategy’s main lines of emphasis and areas for action are designed to provide impetus for a dynamic process of planned, progressive change in the direction of greater equality, in terms not only of individuals but of the very structure of society itself.

422. In 2005, Morocco prepared a national report on Beijing + 10. A copy is appended to this report.

2. Follow-up to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

423. The Government of Morocco has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and regularly submits reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

424. Morocco has also recognized the Committee’s competence to receive individual communications, in accordance with article 14 of the Convention.

425. Moroccan law includes no provisions based on racial discrimination. On the contrary, there are various statutory instruments that expressly prohibit racial discrimination, including the Code of Public Freedoms, the Labour Code and the Penal Code (see article 1 above).

3. Follow-up to the special session of the General Assembly on children

Following the adoption of the Declaration and Plan of Action for “A world fit for children” on the occasion of the first special session of the General Assembly on children ever held, Morocco developed a National Plan of Action for “A Morocco fit for its children”, covering the decade 2006-2015.

426. The NPA is the outcome of a broadly based initiative with input from all organizations involved directly or indirectly with the issue of children’s rights: Government agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector and international cooperation. The plan was prepared with support from UNICEF.

427. To facilitate the work of preparing the plan, two structures were established: a special Ministerial Commission on Children headed by the Prime Minister, which mobilized all the relevant Government agencies, and a Drafting and Coordination Committee, the work of which was coordinated by SEFEPH.

428. The main lines of emphasis identified for the NPA are as follows: promotion of a healthy life, availability of a high-quality education, and protection from maltreatment, exploitation and violence. These main lines of emphasis are articulated as 10 objectives, all of them aimed at enhancing the welfare of children in Morocco. Those objectives are as follows:

– Promotion of the right to a healthy life;

– Promotion of the child’s right to development;

– More effective provision of the child’s right to protection;

– Strengthening of children’s rights through universal civil registration and participation;

– More meaningful equity development;

– Enhancement of the capacities of persons who have obligations in respect of children;

– Increase and optimization of budgetary and human resources allocated for the realization of children’s rights;

– Establishment of partnership and accountability mechanisms;

– Development of an information system and a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of children’s rights;

– Guaranteed conditions for implementation of the National Plan of Action in the framework of an intersectoral and multisectoral approach.

429. A copy of the National Plan of Action is appended to this report.

List of Abbreviations

ADS Social Development Agency

BAJ Barnamaje Aoulawiate Ijtimaia (social priorities programme)

GSB Gender-sensitive budgeting

CCDH Consultative Council on Human Rights

CEF Education and Training Centres

CMIDEF Moroccan Centre for Information, Documentation and Research on Women

CT Work Centre

DPA Provincial Agriculture Directorate

FFD Front of Democratic Forces

FIDH International Federation of Human Rights

VT Vocational Training

IER Equity and Reconciliation Commission

INDH National Initiative for Human Development

MC Micro-credit

MNP National Popular Movement

MP Popular Movement

ODECO Office for Cooperative Development

MDG Millennium Development Goals

NGO Non-governmental organization

PI Istiqlal Party

PJD Party of Justice and Development

PND National Democrat Party

PPS Party for Progress and Socialism

RNI National Rally of Independents

UAA Useful agricultural area

SAFEPH Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons

UC Constitutional Union

UD Democratic Union

USFP Socialist Union of Popular Forces


Consultative Council on Human Rights: Bilan des actions en cours en matière de promotion de la culture des droits de l’homme [summary of actions currently under way aimed at promoting a culture of human rights].

Consultative Council on Human Rights: Annual reports for 2003 and 2004.

Espace Associatif and Fondation Droits et Démocratie: Développement démocratique et action associative au Maroc [democratic development and action by associations in Morocco].

National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics: Training activities on “Taking the gender dimension into account in the Millennium Development Goals”, 19-23 December 2005.

Ministry for the Status of Women, Protection of the Family, Child Welfare and the Integration of Disabled Persons: Évaluation du plan d’action national pour l’intégration de la femme au développement [evaluation of the national plan of action for the integration of women in development]

Ministry for the Status of Women, Protection of the Family, Child Welfare and the Integration of Disabled Persons: National strategy to eliminate violence against women, 2002.

Ministry of Human Rights: Rapport initial sur mise en œuvre du Protocole facultative à la Convention des Droits de l’Enfant relatif à la traite des enfants, la prostitution des enfants et la pornographie impliquant les enfants [initial report on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography].

Ministry of Finance and Privatization: Plan des Nations Unies pour la realisation des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement: mise en œuvre au Maroc, evaluation et suggestions [United Nations plan for implementation of the Millennium Development Goals : implementation in Morocco, evaluation and suggestions].

Kingdom of Morocco: Rapport national sur les Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement [national report on the Millennium Development Goals], September 2005.

Kingdom of Morocco: Rapport sur cinquante ans de développement humain [report on 50 years of human development]

Kingdom of Morocco: Rapport sur la situation de la femme rurale au Maroc [report on the situation of rural women in Morocco], Fifth Summit of First Ladies of the International Steering Committee on the Economic Advancement of Rural Women, May 2004.

Kingdom of Morocco: Third periodic report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, September 2004.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: National report, Beijing + 10, February 2005.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: Operational plan for the National Strategy to Eliminate Violence against Women, June 2005.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: General report on the national campaign to eliminate violence against women in November 2004, under the watchword, “Violence against women is everyone’s responsibility; we must condemn it”, June 2005.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: Figures de la précarité : genre et exclusion économique [faces of insecurity: gender and economic exclusion], 2006.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: National strategy for gender equity and equality through the integration of a gender approach in all development policies and programmes, May 2006.


Ministry for Housing and Urban Planning: Statistical data on housing conditions of households, by sex and place of residence, 2000-2001

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: National report, Beijing + 10, February 2005.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: National strategy for gender equity and equality through the integration of a gender approach in all development policies and programmes, May 2006.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: Operational plan for the national strategy to eliminate violence against women, June 2005.

Kingdom of Morocco: Rapport national sur les Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement [national report on the Millennium Development Goals], September 2005.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: National plan of action for children, 2006-2015, “A Morocco Fit for its Children”, December 2005.

Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Disabled Persons: National Charter for improvement of the image of women in the Media, Family Code.

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