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Morocco: Policies concerning violence against women; police response to cases of spousal abuse; recourse available to battered women

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 11 April 2002
Citation / Document Symbol MAR38793.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Morocco: Policies concerning violence against women; police response to cases of spousal abuse; recourse available to battered women, 11 April 2002, MAR38793.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be674.html [accessed 1 September 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.

The Moroccan government launched an awareness campaign against violence against women on 24 November 1998 (UNDP n.d.; Human Rights Watch 20 Mar. 2001). No information on the success of that campaign could be found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time constraints.

Although a woman can file for a judicial divorce if her husband physically abuses her, these cases are lengthy and complicated (Country Reports 2001 4 Mar. 2002, sec. 5). The woman must provide two witnesses to the abuse and, "if the court finds against the woman, she is returned to the husband's home" (ibid.). Furthermore, the law is reportedly lenient toward men who commit crimes against their wives (ibid.).

For women wishing to divorce abusive spouses, Human Rights Watch states the following:

Unless divorce is preceded by reconciliation attempts and there is a history of abuse proven by medical as well as police or court documentation, a woman's ability to escape an abusive husband by way of judicial divorce is severely restricted. Therefore, by failing to recognize physical acts of discipline as abusive, and by denying women adequate legal recourse to remedy such violence, the Moroccan legal system allows husbands to abuse their wives with impunity (HRW 20 Mar. 2001).

Consequently, most cases of domestic violence go unreported (Global Women's Rights 2 Apr. 2002; Freedom House 15 June 2001; Country Reports 2001 4 Mar. 2002, sect. 5).

The government and numerous NGO's have reportedly opened shelters for battered women (ibid.).

No information on the response of police or the courts to cases of spousal abuse could be found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time constraints.

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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. 4 March 2002. "Morocco." Washington, DC. US Department of State. [Accessed 9 April 2002]

Freedom House. 15 June 2001. Country Reports: Morocco. [Accessed 2 Apr. 2002]

Global Women's Rights. 2 April 2002. C.M. Cancel. "Women and Personal Status Code in Morocco." [Accessed 2 Apr. 2002]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 20 March 2001. "Morocco: Action Urged on Legal Code Reform." [Accessed 2 Apr. 2002]

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). n.d. "Support to the 1998 Campaign against Gender-based Violence in Morocco." [Accessed 2 Apr. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases.

Three oral sources did not provide information within time constraints.

World News Connection (WNC).

Internet sites including:

Africa Online.

Arab League.

Association of Middle East Women's Studies.

BBC News.

Muslim Women's League.

Sisterhood is Global Institute.

U.S. Department of State.

Women's Issues Third World Countries.

Women Living Under Muslim Laws.

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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