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HRW calls on Morocco to strengthen laws on domestic violence

Ahram Online , Tuesday 1 Mar 2016
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report on Monday calling on the Moroccan government to adopt laws that protect survivors of gender-based and domestic violence.

The report was part of a series of interviews and stories by the watchdog organisation on survivors of domestic violence in Morocco.

The latest story focuses on a 26-year-old female victim of domestic abuse who was interviewed by the US-based rights organisation, along with 19 other women and girls in Morocco in September 2015.

The survivor recounted how she often went to the police to file a report, at times covered in blood or almost naked.

She said that the police disregarded her reports on the grounds that they did not have the right to enter her house.

They would tell her to go to a doctor to get a medical certificate, but she had no ID and no money.

She explains that her husband would cover her nose and mouth until she lost consciousness.

"He did this to shut me up when I cried or shouted so people could hear me. He wanted to kill me,” she said.

Earlier in February, HRW wrote a letter to Moroccan officials – Minister for Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development Bassima Hakkaoui, and Minister of Justice and Freedom Moustapha Ramid – calling on them to consider domestic violence law reforms.

HRW stated that the bills should specify police and prosecutor duties in handling any domestic violence case, in addition to the inclusion of marital rape as a crime in Moroccan law.

"The bills should also require prevention measures, including awareness-raising, educational curricula, and sensitising the media about violence against women," the HRW letter said.

In 2014, a bill to combat violence against women was announced and was considered a small but positive step to an issue that has been affecting Moroccan women for years.

Beirut-based NGO Legal Agenda said that the bill guaranteed temporarily removing abusive husbands from their house, in addition to barring the husband from approaching the survivor, her home, workplace or educational institution.

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