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Morocco adopts law criminalising harassment against women

Women in Morocco [Facebook]

Morocco’s parliament has adopted a law to combat violence against women which will criminalise “acts considered forms of harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill treatment” of women in the country.

The law was first drafted in 2013 and was ratified by a vote of 112 for the motion and 55 against and one abstention.

The law was hailed by rights groups and activists as a positive step for Moroccan society which suffers from high numbers of violence against women and sexual harassment.

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Women took to the streets calling for more to be done in creating safe spaces for women in public following a string of rapes and harassment last year. In August, a video posted online showing a young woman on a bus being sexually molested by a group of boys with no one coming to her aid sent shockwaves through the country and intensified calls for more to be done by the Kingdom.

According to rights organisations the law passed yesterday still has a long way to go before real changes ensue in Morocco and women are protected. The law was criticised for failing to mention the problem of marital rape and aspects of the Family Law which sets women as at disadvantage.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Morocco’s High Commission for Planning, more than 40 percent of women aged between 18 and 64 said they had been “victims of an act of violence at least once”.

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