Activists and feminists may not agree with the statement as they are now acting more than ever to condemn loopholes in the law and to call on the government to repeal other laws.
Rabat – UN resident coordinator in Morocco Philippe Poinsot has spoken about the importance of legislative reforms in favor of Moroccan women.
Poinsot referred to Law 103.13 on fighting violence against women as a model of the reforms that promote Moroccan female empowerment.
At the opening of a workshop on the law on fighting violence against women in Rabat on October 2, Poinsot “welcomed the ratification by Morocco of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women, an issue that is closely followed by the United Nations,” Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the National Council of Human Rights organized the workshop.
Speaking at the workshop, public prosecutor at the Court of Appeal Mohammed Abdennabaoui said that Morocco has made “great progress in the promotion of human rights in general.”
He added that the achievements were “reinforced with the adoption of the [103.13 law] on fighting violence against women.”
Abdennabaoui added that adequate measures were taken to “ensure its proper implementation, notably the circular by the Presidency of the Public Prosecution, calling on public prosecutors to be rigorous in this regard.”
While the judiciary system is satisfied with the law, Moroccan and international activists believe that the law has loopholes.
The law criminalizes cyber crimes, sexual harassment in the public, and all forms of violence against women
International human rights lawyer Stephannie Wilman Bordat told Morocco World News that the law itself is not enough.
Bordat said that she does not think it can be called a “law because it has 17 articles so it is really extremely short and it did not address any of the issues related to gender-based violence that Moroccan women and NGOs have been advocating for ten years.”
She added that there are many issues that have not been addressed.
The law only criminalizes some crimes, such as sexual harassment and cybercrimes.
The activist believes that the law has not done anything to facilitate the process of cases, including the arrest of alleged harassers and their prosecution.
“The law did nothing to encourage women to come forward and report new violence.”
The law, according to Bordat, does not put in place any measures to protect women subject to violence.
For the activist, women who are subject to violence need protection and support.
Asked about the new initiative of the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) to put in place support units for women subject to violence, the international lawyer thinks that the problem is more than that.
“It is not just the creation of support [units] and staff.”
“If the fundamentals of the law are the same then nothing is going to change. They create these sections there but they are still operating under the law 103-13 that does not give any directive to this person on how to do their job. It does not tell police officers how to interview new victims and how to collect evidence.”
She said that victims of cybercrimes might still feel threatened and unsure about reporting a case if their photos and footage are online because of the law against sex outside marriage.
The lawyer said the law does not encourage women, whose ex-partners share their intimate photos or videos online, because they are afraid of facing prosecution.
Bordat was not the only one to criticize the law, The US State Department’s annual report on Morocco’s Human Rights Practices for 2018 also criticized the law, emphasizing that it does not “specifically define domestic violence against women and minors.”
A recent government-sponsored survey also shows that women and girls remain victims of several forms of violence.
The data for the study, which came from January to March of 2019, indicate that as many as 54.4% of Moroccan women had experienced gendered violence at the time of the survey.
The study added that women aged 25-29 are more often the subject of violence.
The same survey showed that 12.4% of Moroccan women faced sexual assaults in public spaces in the past twelve months.