First Published: 2014-04-13

Morocco women take fight for gender equality to Rabat streets
Participants carry banners demanding review of discriminatory laws, women's safety in public places, and equality as right, not privilege.
Middle East Online

Tough battle to win

RABAT - A group of around 800 Moroccans, mostly women, staged a march in the capital Rabat on Sunday demanding that a constitutional guarantee of gender equality be applied in the kingdom.

The march from the city centre to parliament was led by the Civil Coalition for the Application of Article 19, which is reportedly made up of some 500 NGOs, and was joined by civil society organisations, lawmakers, rights groups and lawyers.

Participants carried banners demanding a "comprehensive review of all discriminatory laws", "women's safety in public places", and "equality as a right, not a privilege".

Article 19 of Morocco's 2011 constitution guarantees that "men and women enjoy on an equal footing civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms".

However it has yet to be applied by the country's Islamist-led government.

The protestors accused the government of "stalling the application" of Article 19.

Fawzia El-Asouli, coordinator of the coalition, said that the government was also "stalling in the application of laws that protect women from violence and discrimination".

The group also called for a petition to urge the prime minister to apply laws protecting women's rights.

The coalition citing figures of the State Planning Commission says 62 percent of women in Morocco aged between 18 and 64 have been the victims of violence.

Last year, rights campaigners in the kingdom obtained the amendment of Article 475 of the penal code, which had allowed a rapist to avoid criminal charges by marrying his victim.


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