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Reform of the Moroccan Penal Code: encouraging news, according to PACE rapporteur

Strasbourg, 27.01.2014 – Fatiha Saïdi (Belgium, SOC), PACE rapporteur for the Equality and Non-Discrimination Committee, on the “situation of women in emerging democracies following the Arab revolutions”, declared.

“I am delighted with news from Morocco that the House of Representatives has approved an amendment to article 475 of the Moroccan Criminal Code. The perpetrators of an abduction or rape of a minor will no longer be able to avoid conviction by marrying their victim.

This reform, called for by the Parliamentary Assembly in its Resolution 1873 (2012) on ‘Equality between women and men: a condition for the success of the Arab Spring’, was demanded by Moroccan civil society following the suicide of Amina Filali, a girl who opted for death over a life spent married to her rapist.

This parliamentary vote is a step in the right direction and confirms the Moroccan authorities' determination to enhance the status of women.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the country's authorities to strengthen their stance in this area, in particular by adopting legislation and policies that coherently and systematically combat violence against women, geared to the protection of victims and recognition of their rights. I hope that Morocco will move closer to the standards laid down by the Istanbul Convention and consider the possibility of signing up to it. Our Moroccan counterparts know that they can count on the Parliamentary Assembly and more generally the Council of Europe to co-operate in this respect.”