Will the number of early marriages increase? This is the fear of many associations and organizations that campaign for children’s rights. Also, to fight against this scourge and as part of the 16 days of activism to put an end to gender-based violence, the Droits & Justice and Les Citoyens associations are jointly launching a national campaign called #MazalTefla (Still a Child).
As a reminder, according to article 20 of the Family Code, “ the family judge in charge of the marriage can authorize the marriage of the boy and the girl before the age of capacity envisaged, namely 18, by reasoned decision specifying the interest and the reasons justifying this marriage, after having heard the parents of the minor or their legal representative, and after having had recourse to a medical expertise or carried out a social inquiry”.
Concretely, in 2018, the Ministry of Justice registered no less than 32,104 applications for child marriage against 30,312 in 2006. Between 2011 and 2018, 85% of marriage applications resulted in the authorization.
Through #MazalTefla, the two associations hope to raise public awareness of the early marriage dangers, by calling on testimonies from victims and experts, and by highlighting the state of play and key figures around the marriage of young girls, as both organizations explain. But the goal is also to challenge the public authorities, urging them to repeal articles 20, 21, and 22 of the Family Code and thus to harmonize the legislation with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), ratified by Morocco in 1993. Because there is an emergency.
The repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic have weakened already very precarious families … An increase in school dropout, and by extension, early marriages are feared. Early marriages, as a reminder, often endanger the life and health of these young girls: rape and domestic violence, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal and neonatal mortality, etc.