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Morocco: Child Marriages Continue Despite Law to Curb Practice

Morocco: Child Marriages Continue Despite Law to Curb Practice

Despite a move four years ago to curb child marriage in Morocco, the practice is still quite common in the country, according to new data provided by the authorities.

The Moroccan Justice Minister Abdel Wahid al-Radi, said that in 2007 alone, his ministry received 38,710 marriage applications involving a minor, in which about 90 percent of the cases were approved.

This despite the reform of Morocco’s Family Law or Mudawana four years ago which outlawed child marriages except in special cases that have been approved by the Justice Ministry.

Out of the over 38,000 applications, 379 involved marriage with a male child below the age of 18. The rest of the applications were for unions with female minors.

Most of the marriage applications were made by people living in the cities while only two percent were made by nomads who live in the countryside or in the desert regions.

Most of the cases involve marriage with a child aged between 15 and 17 years old.

It is believed that the applications for marriage with a minor were approved because of willingness of bureaucrats to allow such unions.

Only 4,151 applicants were denied the right to marry.

This despite the fact that various imams and Islamic politicians protested against the legitimacy of the Mudawana, accusing it of violating Sharia or Islamic law which they say puts no limits on the age for marriage.

Source: AKI – 29 July 2008

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