By Safaa Kasraoui
Rabat – 91 percent of children in Morocco are exposed to violence in their daily lives, a report published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed.
Enitled “Progress for Children with Equity in the Middle East and North Africa”, the report aims to highlight the most prevalent andcritical issues facing children in North Africa and the Middle East region, including violence, underage marriage and child labor.
The report showedthe majority of children exposed to violence are aged between two and 14 years old, and that the violence exists in several forms, including: physical, verbal and psychological.
Child marriage was a key focus in the report, which stated three percent of married Moroccan women, currently aged between 20 and 24, were married before the age of 15. UNICEF said underage marriage was common result of “poverty and lack of education.”
According to the report, some countries from the upper and lower middle-income range, such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia,“have made progress in various areas of children’s development.”
Although Morocco has made a significant progress regarding child development, the source added that it still remains “somewhat behind in the areas of health, school retention in primary education and employment at lower secondary level.”
Published in February but revised in May, the report also affirmed that girls are more likely to drop out of secondary schools than boys in the kingdom.
During a press conference held on June 12, Moroccan NGO INSAF Association reported that at least 80,000 children are currently working in Moroccan homes and the vast majority areunder the legal minimum age of 15.
However, the number of children currently working in Morocco is a sharp decrease from 1990, when the High Commission of Planning (HCP) reported that 517,000 children were working.