A group of 21 Moroccan associations, state-owned and NGOs have decided to accumulate their resources and create a platform for alert, monitoring, and advocacy in the hopes of protecting children and women following the risks of sexual exploitation to which they are typically exposed in areas affected by natural disasters.
In a joint statement sent to MoroccoLatestNews, the signatories reiterated their heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones as a result of the Al Haouz earthquake and to Moroccans as a nation.
“Through this initiative, we aim to protect children and women survivors currently finding themselves in vulnerable situations in disaster areas, against all forms of exploitation to which they are exposed,” stated the same document.
The main objective of the collective’s action is to prevent child marriage, forced displacement (excluding displacement carried out officially by the State and/or authorized organizations), child trafficking, particularly through labor, as well as all abuses and exploitations of all kinds.
“We also fight against unjustified restrictions on women and girls’ access to state support due to gender considerations,” explained the press release.
The collective advocates for enhanced protection of these particularly vulnerable populations by urgently putting in place solutions as well as appropriate and effective legal mechanisms, such as the creation of specific support centers for children offering health and education services.
The 21 associations suggested the adoption of combined legal texts aimed at effectively combating the marriage of minors, pending a global revision of the family code guaranteeing equal rights.
Among the joint statement propositions is the establishment of a moratorium on the issuance of marriage authorizations for minors, and the adoption of a decree-law aimed at penalizing any person involved in the marriage of a minor.
The associations’ move followed ravaging incidents taking place in the Al Haouz region, following the tragic earthquake that left many dead, injured, and orphaned.
Vultures took this as an opportunity to prey on children and women, which some members of the collective heavily denounced in an interview with MoroccoLatestNews earlier this week, urging a reform of the Penal Code with a view, in particular, to child crime, accompanied by fair treatment of the victims.
Among the signatories are the following associations: Kif Mama Kif Baba, Media and Culture Association, Hiya mouvement, Bawsala, Democratic Association of Women of Morocco, Federation of Women’s Rights Leagues of Marrakech, Chorouk, Amane, Widad, Basma, Ibtissama, Khir, and more.