The committee tasked with amending the Family Code is gearing up to receive civil society organizations at the start of the upcoming month starting with Feminist coordination for the Revision of the Family code. The coordination has prepared memoranda containing proposed revisions seeking to bring about a thorough reform of the current family law.
In an interview with MoroccoLatestNews, Aatifa Timjerdine, member of the coordination said that The coordination’s primary aim is to call for a comprehensive reform of the family code, with a focus on clear and unambiguous legal language.
Timjerdine, a prominent advocate for these changes, emphasized the importance of straightforward and easily understood legal wording.
“We want a law that is transparent and straightforward in its language, where every word’s meaning is clear,” she said.
Timjerdine emphasized the need for the new code to reflect the value of gender equality as outlined in Article 19 of the constitution and align with international agreements that Morocco has ratified.
The current family code is seen as upholding traditional gender norms in various areas, such as legal guardianship, polygamy, and child marriage. Timjerdine said that it’s vital to consider the evolving role of women in Moroccan society.
“Today’s women are not like those of previous generations. They aspire to economic independence and individual agency, actively contributing to the development of Moroccan society,” she said.
Timjerdine insisted on the new family code’s consistency with other legal frameworks, especially civil and criminal laws. She said that “the removal of Article 400 from the current family code is necessary because it leaves room for interpretation that might steer judges towards traditional jurisprudence for verdicts.”
Article 400 of the Family Code states that “anything not explicitly addressed in this code shall defer to the Maliki school of thought and ijtihad, which takes into consideration the realization of Islamic values in justice, equality, and good social conduct.”
Timjerdine also advocates for the removal of Article 20 which states that in cases where a minor boy or girl wishes to marry before the legally prescribed age, the family judge can grant permission after considering the best interests and justifications. This decision is final and cannot be appealed. The judge must consult with the minor’s parents or legal representative and may seek medical or social input when making this decision.
Concerning polygamy, Timjerdine questioned whether a four-page civil status, one for each wife or family, aligns with the vision that Moroccans have of a family. She pointed out that polygamy can lead to family fragmentation and undermine the dignity of women.
Timjerdine highlighted the importance of not depriving mothers of custody when they remarry. “We believe in shared responsibility for family care, a principle mentioned in the current code but not adequately enforced,” she said.
Regarding divorce, Timjerdine supports the judicial process, whether by mutual consent or initiated by one party, with no provisions for reconciliation and waiting periods.
In terms of inheritance, Timjerdine is calling for the removal of the biases that disadvantage women, saying, “The family code should eradicate any discriminatory practices that harm women.”
The new family code should include legal consequences for violations to safeguard women’s rights, particularly those who manage households and provide social services. Timjerdine highlights the necessity of a punitive dimension to ensure compliance with the code’s provisions.
Timjerdine further explained that there are prevailing stereotypes about the relationship between men and women, often portraying it as a conflict. She noted that these stereotypes have led to a wave of criticism on social media, with some opposing family code reforms and framing men as the primary losers in these changes. She believes that this perspective can only be changed through proper education in schools, within families, and through the media.