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CNDH organizes a National Meeting on “Marriage of Minor Girls: Abolish the Exception… Restore the Norm”

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) and the Council of Europe are organizing a National Meeting on “Marriage of Minor Girls: Abolish the Exception… Restore the Norm”. This event will start at 8:30 am on Friday 22 March 2019 at Hotel Farah, Rabat, Morocco.

This event is part of the Program "Ensuring Sustainable Democratic Governance and Human Rights in the Southern Mediterranean" (Program South III, 2018-2020), funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Also organized as part of the commemoration of the International Women’s Day, this event is bringing together experts, civil and institutional actors to render the outcome of the national campaign on child marriage which was launched on 6 March 2019. This national campaign included 30 activities which were organized by the CNDH through its 13 regional commissions.

The National Meeting is part of active dynamics aiming at developing a memorandum on combating the marriage of minor girls. It also aims at mobilizing stakeholders to fight this phenomenon.

The proceedings of this meeting will be an opportunity to share local, national and international experiences.

It will schedule three panels focusing on the following themes: “Marriage of Minor Girls: institutional initiatives”, “Marriage of Minor Girls: Good practices at the international level” and “Marriage of Minor Girls: Local dynamics”.In addition, this event will culminate in a final session devoted to the presentation of conclusions and recommendations.

Hence, participants will focus on several topics including the analysis of the marriage of minor girls’ phenomenon and its socio-demographic, and on the legal and social dimensions. They will also address factors contributing to surging up underage marriages, consequences of this phenomenon and its impacts on fundamental rights and freedoms of women and children and their physical and mental integrity.

Further on, stakeholders will analyze the international context related to the marriage of minor girls and sharing best practices in this field. Besides, they will identify mechanisms to counter the marriage of minor girls and define tendency related to preventing, protecting and promoting the right of this category.

The opening session of the national meeting will be chaired by Mrs. Najat M’jid, Member of UN Civil Society Advisory Board on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

Mrs. Amina Bouaaych, CNDH President, Mr. Mohamed Aujjar, Minister of Justice, Mr. Ahmed Chaouqui Benyoub, Interministerial Delegate for Human Rights, Mr. Philippe Holzapfel, Head of Political Section at the EU Delegation in Morocco and Mr. José Luis Herrero Ansola, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Morocco will take part in the opening session.

This event will lead to conclusions and recommendations reflecting the potential perspectives of actions in this field by various concerned actors. 

It should be noted that 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. 48,291 marriages were registered in 2014 with 95% of the marriage of minor girls which means 45,786 child brides. As consequences, violations of their economic and social rights are rising as well.