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International Women’s Day: CNDH is launching a national campaign "Marriage of Minor Girls: Abolish the exception… Restore the norm"

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) is launching a national campaign “Marriage of Minor Girls: Abolish the Exception… Restore the norm”. 

This campaign is in line with the recommendations of the National Plan of Action on Democracy and Human Rights that advocate continuing the societal dialogue on reviewing Article 20 of the Family Code relating the authorisation of underage marriage. 

In accordance with international conventions ratified by Morocco, mainly those relating to the rights of the child, the legislator set 18 years old as the legal age of marriage. Yet, the Family Code provides for “derogations” in exceptional cases.

In fact, Article 20 of the Family Code states that le juge de la famille chargé du marriage (the Judge who delivers marriage authorizations) may authorize the marriage of a girl or a boy under the legal age of marriage in a substantiated decision explaining the interest and reasons that justify this marriage. The judge should previously have heard the parents of the minor or his/ her legal representative. Likewise, the judge should have proceeded to medical expertise or had conducted a social survey.

However, statistics and practice show that this exception from the norm has become the norm. The number of child marriage is growing and so does violations of their economic and social rights relating to this phenomenon.

The national campaign comes as part of the CNDH contribution to fight against child marriage. It is a series of events on issues relating the marriage of minor girls. It is organized, at first stage, at regional level. Therefore, the CNDH’s Regional Commissions (CRDHs) are planning, from 6 to 16 March 2019, around 30 events.

These events are aiming to raise awareness on marriage of minor girls, to contribute to public debate and advocate against this calamity. Relevant stakeholders, including judges, lawyers, journalists, professors and civil society are actively participating at this campaign. And key moments of this campaign will be several testimonies of victims of child marriage in Morocco that will be presented.

Different aspects of the marriage of minor girls will be addressed at the CRDHs’ events, mainly; “Marriage of Minor Girls in international conventions and Moroccan law”, “The role of media in raising awareness of women’s rights and fighting against the marriage of minor girls”, “Marriage of Minor Girls in texts and its implementation”, etc.

Furthermore, several meetings with minors, parents, officials, women in prison, etc. to raise awareness on this problem. In addition to that, CRDHs will also screen documentary films and contribute in radio programs on this subject to enhance awareness.