moroccan activists fighting against child marriage, are girls safe in morocco
In Morocco, a country in North Africa, women and girls are not safe. Moroccan activists have been fighting against child marriage in order to protect girls.
Moroccan women’s rights activists had been pushing for the importance of women empowerment and an end to child marriage.
Child marriages in Morocco constituted 12 per cent of total marriage contracts between 2004 and 2019, according to data published by the Moroccan Public Prosecution.
Child marriage in Morocco
Child marriage in Morocco have been rampant, with many girls getting married at the age of 15. In 2017, 26,000 cases of child marriage were registered. In 2020, 12,000 cases of underage marriage were registered and in 2021, 19,000 cases of underage marriage were registered.
A girl, at the age of 15, was married to a man 10 years her senior. Later on, she filed for divorce because her husband was physically abusive. She dropped out of school at a young age and was forced to marry an older man. At the time of the marriage, she didn’t even know what marriage meant.
Currently, the woman is 25 years old. She revealed that she went from being 15 to being 26 years old.
According to a report by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), around 14% of 20 to 24-year-old women in Morocco were first married before the age of 18.
In 2004, Morocco increased the minimum legal age required for girls’ marriage from 15 to 18 years. It’s important to note that 81 per cent of about 32,000 requests for child marriages filed in 2019 were approved by family courts. According to official figures, judges approved some 13,000 child marriage in 2020 alone.
Women’s rights activists like Najat Ikhich are still fighting against child marriage. YTTO rights group has been working for more than ten years to combat child marriage in Morocco.
While efforts are underway to protect children, the basic issue of child marriage persists. Women’s rights organizations, non-profit groups, and international agencies are working tirelessly to stop child marriage in Morocco.