Spread the love
Rabat – Lions Club International (LCI) – District 416 Morocco hosted on April 1 a symposium addressing the issue of child marriage.
Experts and researchers from different fields including economists and sociologists, legal and health professionals, along with civil society actors, shared their expertise and viewpoints to holistically address a complex issue.
The symposium took place under the theme “Moroccan child brides, a growing phenomenon,” according to Morocco’s state media.
Although the legal minimum age for marriage in Morocco is 18, UN Population Fund statistics show a 14% child marriage rate in the country between 2005 and 2019.
Abdelhak Terrab, former district governor of Lions Club Morocco, stressed the importance of public awareness campaigns aiming to educate the public and prevent early/forced marriage. He also recommended that the national education policy include the issue.
The former district governor called for stopping the informal child marriages known as “Orf.” It is a customary marriage which is not registered with the authorities. He also urged the authorities to fight against school dropout and girls’ illiteracy.
Morocco’s Minister of Solidarity and Social Development Jamila El Moussali emphasized the importance of involving Moroccan universities with efforts to stop child marriage, according to the same source.
The minister pointed out that including professors and students as stakeholders would allow for a more thorough approach to addressing the issue of child marriage in Morocco.
She added that her ministry has established several spaces for women to highlight the role of women in society so that they can fully enjoy their rights.
Minister of Land Development Nouzha Bouchareb called on all concerned parties to work together and cooperate to determine the source of the problem.
She explained: “The protection of minors’ rights whatever their gender, is everyone’s responsibility,” and that the “issue calls for a collective mobilization to sensitize families to the fact that child marriage minors do not solve family problems, but rather constitute a heavy additional burden on society.”
“As part of the implementation of the High Royal Directives, the government has made efforts to promote the level of all social categories, in particular women and girls,” she added.
Ahmed Reda Chami, President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), lamented the current situation of girls in Morocco. “More than 30,000 authorizations are granted annually to marry underage girls, which means that the childhood of these girls comes to an abrupt end every year.”
Globally, almost 400 million women now aged 20-49 were married before the age of 18, according to the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC).
The growth of child marriage in Morocco “will lead to more frustrated or unhappy children, whose childhood has been hijacked, to more school dropout, to more illiteracy, to more abandonment of children,” said Global Leadership Team (GLT) Former Governor of LCI Khalil Hachimi Idrissi.
Lions Club International is a non-political organization headquartered in the US state of Illinois that has an active interest in the civic, cultural, social, and moral welfare of the international community.