Latifa Bouchoua: Championing Moroccan Youth Aspirations for Rights.
Meet Latifa Bouchoua, a human rights activist and a founding member of the Democratic League for Women’s Rights, currently the Federation of Women’s Rights Leagues (FLDF) in Morocco. Members of the Federation are suddenly hopeful for more substantive national reform vis-a-vis equality in inheritance, child custody, and a total ban on child marriage – none of which are guaranteed under the current Moroccan family code. The first reform of the Moudawana (Family Law) took place in 2004, when it replaced the1958 Personal Status Code.
By Heidi Basch-Harod and Erin Pedersen
A Human Rights Activist is Born.
Latifa Bouchoua’s childhood was imbued with an awareness of human rights activism. Her father was a political prisoner and her mother supported families, like her own, who had loved ones detained by the government. A member of the FLDF, Latifa believes that improving the status of women in any country is at the heart of the democratic and modernist trends that Moroccans want for themselves.
The Federation of Women’s Rights Leagues (FLDF).
The Federation of Women’s Rights Leagues is an advocacy organization working with local and international NGOs to fight against discrimination and gender-based violence in Morocco. Member organizations of the FLDF have been at the forefront of documenting the gaps and challenges that hinder gender equality in Morocco, including the shortcomings of the Family Law that does not treat women and men equal before the law.
The 2004 Reform of Moroccan Family Law.
Two decades ago, a landmark, limited revision of Morocco’s family law granted women joint responsibility for their families – previously only granted to men – imposed restrictions on unilateral divorce by men, polygamy, and underage marriage. The reforms fell short, however, of preventing injustice, discrimination, and legal violence.
Source: Voice of America Africa
Closing the Loopholes Toward Greater Equality.
Reform proponents ask for the revisiting of the articles legislating inheritance, child custody, child marriages, divorce, and polygamy. Proposed new amendments to the Family Law would increase women’s equality under the law by solving a number of issues with the implementation and interpretation of the text. In a country where there is no separation of “mosque and state”, reforms must strike a balance between Islamic teachings and the reality of Moroccan society.
The Greatest Opponents of and Challenges to the Current Family Law Reform.
Calls for equality draw strong objections from within the country’s Islamist organizations, preferring a traditionalist interpretation of Islamic texts. FLDF President Samira Muheya argues, reforms are compatible with an “enlightened” interpretation of Islamic texts. Additionally, high rates of illiteracy and thus awareness amongst women of their rights – under the current Family Law or a future one – also limits the efficacy of the Family Law that seeks to improve the status of women and girls.
By Order of the King.
In summer 2022, King Mohammed VI called for rethinking Morocco’s Family Law in line with the principle of social inclusiveness. With this public statement advocating for further reform of the Family Code, women’s rights activists regained hope in their cause. Now, we are watching history unfold.
Source: Morocco World News
Watch films related
to this topic
Solace in Amal
You Can Dream: Stories of Moroccan Women Who Do
BREAKING THE SILENCE: Moroccans Speak out on Sexual Harassment
Stay Informed with our Newsletter.
Receive exclusive invitations to our programs; free films to watch from free film collection Voices For Change; news about gender equality around the world; and access to our partners’ programs.