New Publication: The Legal Status of Children Born out of Wedlock in Morocco

According to a study made by the Moroccan NGO Insaf (Institution Nationale de Solidarité avec les Femmes en détresse), 27’199 women gave birth to 45’424 children without being married in Morocco in 2009.1 Every single day, 153 children of unknown paternity were born, of which 24 were abandoned.2 Not as high but just as alarming numbers of the year 2008 were published in a report by UNICEF and the Ligue Marocaine pour la Protection de l’Enfance in 2010.3 And the rising number of court cases dealing with the issue of abandoned children (5'274 cases in 2009 and 5'377 cases in 2013) indicates that it remains a matter of concern.4 In 1990 Morocco has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This was a first big improvement for the rights of the Moroccan children and their mothers in general. In 2004 the family code of Morocco’s Personal Status law – the Moudawana – was reformed. Concerning the children’s rights, the commitment to the CRC directly influenced the reform of the family code. The various amendments of the Moroccan law in the past thirty years have significantly improved the legal situation. However, the issue of illegitimate and abandoned children remains worrisome as it is not merely a legal but more a social and cultural problem deeply rooted in the Moroccan society.

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Stephanie Rüst