Human Rights Watch Calls for Stronger Government Response to Domestic Violence

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international non-governmental organization, “Moroccan police, prosecutors, judges, and other authorities often fail to prevent domestic abuse, punish the abusers, or assist survivors.” Morocco is currently drafting new legislation on domestic violence. HRW recently sent a letter to the Moroccan government, asking that it ensure any new laws include strong protections for victims of domestic abuse, including access to long-term, enforceable orders of protection. The organization also said the legislation should include clear responsibilities for police, prosecutors and the judiciary in handling cases of domestic violence. HRW based its recommendations to the Moroccan government on interviews with survivors of domestic violence in Morocco, as well as human rights groups, shelters and lawyers who work with victims.

According to official government data and HRW, nearly two-thirds of women in Morocco experience violence in their lifetime while fifty-five percent of women experience violence at the hands of a spouse. Very few women reported their abuse to the police or other authorities. Even women who did report a violent incident said they received little or no help or protection from a violent spouse, with police refusing to arrest abusers and prosecutors failing to investigate violent crimes. Morocco has a limited number of shelters for women victims of violence, leaving women with few options for leaving a violent home.

For more information, please also see the 2015 shadow report on violence against women in Morocco submitted by the Advocates for Human Rights and the Moroccan women’s non-governmental organization, Mobilizing for Rights Associates (MRA) to the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Compiled fromMorocco: Tepid Response on Domestic Violence, Human Rights Watch (February 15, 2016).