Moroccan lawyers called on the National Council for Human Rights to address the unfair trials of protesters and to revise the Family Code.
Rabat – The Moroccan Bar Association (ABAM) has called for an investigative committee to examine rights infringements in the trials of protesters from several movements across Morocco, including the Hirak Rif, Jerada, and Zagora.
The remarks were made at the 30th General Conference of ABAM in Fez.
In the general statement of the conference, ABAM noted that the trials had several violations of fair trial rights. In the last year, courts have sentenced protesters involved in several movements to prison terms. In the Hirak Rif, activists protested against social disparities; in the eastern Jerada protests, locals took to the streets after informal minors died when illegal mines collapsed.
In October 2017, locals in the southeastern city of Zagora were protesting lack of drinking water.
ABAM called on the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) “to carry out its functions as a constitutional institution in accordance with the Paris Principles in dealing with the human rights files and unfair trials and the several forms of torture and inhuman treatment the detainees were subjected to.”
They highlighted the need for ABAM’s practical involvement in drafting and ratifying all legislation, especially the Civil Procedure Code, the Criminal Procedure Law, the Judicial Organization Act, and the Non-Constitutional Payment Act.
They also called for the adoption of substantive and constitutional criminal legislation that takes into account the Constitution, Morocco’s human rights obligations, and the Havana Declarations on Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. In particular, the bar noted the right of the accused to obtain effective legal assistance in the pre-trial research stage.
The conference also called for a revision of the Family Code, saying paragraph 3 should be removed from Article 45. The paragraph stipulates that a wife who refuses polygamy is divorced by the court. The bar also said Morocco should repeal Article 16 of the Family Code which only recognizes marriages if the couple has notified the court of their marriage within a certain period of time.
Third, the Moroccan lawyers called for the abolition of Article 19, which authorizes the marriage of a minor if there is a waiver, the adoption of the right of nannies to travel freely with children without permission, and for the law to consider a woman’s work within the house as a contribution to the family’s funds.