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Morocco: The treatment of homosexuals, including protection offered by the state and the attitude of the population

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 5 March 2007
Citation / Document Symbol MAR102328.FE
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Morocco: The treatment of homosexuals, including protection offered by the state and the attitude of the population, 5 March 2007, MAR102328.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469cd6af0.html [accessed 20 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to the director of prevention programs for men who have sex with men of the Moroccan Association for the Fight Against AIDS (Association marocaine de lutte contre le sida, ALCS), [translation] "there is no state protection" for Moroccan homosexuals (24 Jan. 2007). In addition, two international non-governmental organizations indicate that sex between adults of the same sex is prohibited in Morocco (ILGA Nov. 2006, 3; AI July 2006). According to the magazine TelQuel, Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code of 1962 states that any person who [translation] "commits a lewd or unnatural act" with an individual of the same sex may be sentenced to 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment and fined 120 to 1,000 Moroccan dirhams (MAD) [approximately CAD 16 to 136 (Canada 15 Jan. 2007a and b)] (6-12 Jan. 2007; Ottosson 2006, 11; ALCS 1 Feb. 2007).

Corroborating sources indicate that there is no organization in Morocco that defends the rights of Morocco's gay community (ALCS 23 Jan. 2007; OMDH 19 Jan. 2007). The President of the ALCS stated that there is [translation] "only the ALCS, which does not work with homosexuals in general, but with male professionals to raise awareness and prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections and AIDS" (23 Jan. 2007).

In 23 January 2007 correspondence, the President of the ALSC stated that, although homosexuality is quite common in Morocco, homosexuals are stigmatized. An article in the Moroccan daily Aujourd'hui le Maroc states that Moroccan homosexuals are subject to [translation] "jeers and public condemnation" and that [translation] "those who are regularly called 'fags' rarely go out in public" (11 June 2004b). Another Aujourd'hui le Maroc article indicates that [translation] "homosexuality in Morocco is tolerated behind closed doors but repressed in public" (Aujourd'hui le Maroc 11 June 2004a; ibid. 15 June 2004). In 24 January 2007 correspondence, the ALCS director of prevention programs for men who have sex with men provided the following information. The director stated that although one progressive French-language media outlet has made some progress in dealing with the topic of homosexuality, [translation] "Moroccan society is still largely homophobic." He also indicated that Moroccan homosexuals [translation] "keep their homosexuality to themselves," and that those who come out are [translation] "rejected" by their friends and family. Moreover, Moroccan society does not even [translation] "suspect" that lesbians exist.

A Radio France Internationale (RFI) article states that the Moroccan police [translation] "harass" and often [translation] "raid" places where homosexuals meet (RFI 30 June 2003). Two articles from Aujourd'hui le Maroc report that, in June 2004, 43 homosexuals celebrating a birthday in a reception hall were arrested and detained (Aujourd'hui le Maroc 15 June 2004; ibid. 11 June 2004b). The detainees were released 48 hours later (ibid.; see also ILGA 16 June 2004). Moroccan sources of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) explained that the incident was [translation] "a mistake on the part of a homophobic public servant and not a deliberate action by the state" (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Amnesty International (AI). July 2006. AI Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network. "Sexual Minorities and the Law: A World Survey." [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]

Association marocaine de lutte contre le sida (ALCS). 1 February 2007. Correspondence from the director of prevention programs for men who have sex with men.
_____ . 24 January 2007. Correspondence from the director of prevention programs for men who have sex with men.
_____ . 23 January 2007. Correspondence from the President.

Aujourd'hui le Maroc [Casablanca]. 15 June 2004. Aziz Daki. "Répression policière au Maroc – Tétouan : descente dans une salle de spectacle gay." (International Lesbian and Gay Association, ILGA) [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]
_____ . 11 June 2004a. Aziz Daki. "Dossier : le droit à la différence." (Minorites.org) [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]
_____ . 11 June 2004b. Adam Wade. "Dossier : les homos dans l'imaginaire marocain." (Minorites.org) [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]

Canada. 15 January 2007a. Bank of Canada. "Convertisseur de devises – taux du jour." [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]
_____ . 15 January 2007b. Bank of Canada. "Convertisseur de devises – taux du jour." [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]

International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). Novembre 2006. Daniel Ottosson. "LGBT World Legal Wrap Up Survey." [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]
_____ . 16 June 2004. Anas Jazouli. "Répression des gays au Maroc – Les homosexuels incarcérés ont été libérés." [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]

Organisation marocaine des droits humains (OMDH). 19 January 2007. Correspondence from the Executive Director.

Ottosson, Daniel. 2006. "Legal Survey on the Countries in the World Having Legal Prohibitions on Sexual Activities Between Consenting Adults in Private." (International Gay and Lesbian Association). [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]

Radio France Internationale (RFI). 30 June 2003. Bruno Daroux. "Les homosexuels entre résignation et optimisme." [Accessed 15 Jan. 2007]

TelQuel. 6-12 January 2007. Karim Boukhari. "Scénario 2007. Et si le PJD prenait le pouvoir?" [Accessed 31 Jan. 2007]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT), United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United States Department of State.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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