WLP Morocco/ADFM's Memorandum to the Consultative Commission for the Constitutional Reform, Morocco

Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) presented the following memorandum to the Consultative Commission for Constitutional Reform in Morocco to advocate for constitutional reforms in support of women's full equality in society.

                  

 

 

Introduction

L'Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc, which has been fighting for women's human rights for a quarter of a century, formally issues this memorandum to the Advisory Committee for the Revision of the Constitution, hoping that the expected legislative framework will translate Moroccan women's aspirations for the realization of a democratic society, whose most important manifestation is the rule of equity and de facto equality of women and men, into a reality.

The Revision of the Constitution will be a historic opportunity to translate the will of the people to make Morocco a democratic and modern country, through structured constitutional provisions, which set guarantees and conditions for consolidating justice and law in the country, which respects human rights. However, the gap that has been historically built between the two sexes regarding the enjoyment of basic rights and fundamental freedoms cannot be narrowed and will not disappear "naturally."

Furthermore, the incorporation of the principle of equality among citizens in the Constitution is not interpreted automatically to comprise explicitly gender equality. Therefore, the principle of guaranteeing equality and non-discrimination, as a basic right and a primary condition for Moroccan citizenship in private and public spheres, should be quoted in the constitution.

General Principles

L'Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc holds as foundational principles that:
The aspiration for equality in rights and behavior, and the enjoyment of human dignity, is a shared aspiration between women and men; and therefore cannot, under any circumstance or for any reason, be recognized for half of the society and denied to the other half.

Democracy is a participatory framework that cannot be based on the exclusion of any component of the society, be they women or men. It is therefore dependent on the attainment of equality and the renunciation of discrimination.

The announced revision of the Constitution goes beyond the intention of technical changes. It aims to introduce significant amendments that will raise Morocco to the level of the democratic nations;

The Constitution is an essential entry to endorse and guarantee effective equality between women and men clearly and without any ambiguity

Effective equality between women and men and the adoption of the principle of non-discrimination in the Constitution go hand in hand with Morocco's commitment to the international laws and instruments related to human rights, which are universal and comprehensive.

Considerations:

L'Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc considers that:

The current phase is a historic opportunity for the achievement of a significant jump towards the establishment of a real democracy whose most important pillar is effective equality between men and women;

The necessity and the urgent need to develop procedures designed to reach de facto equality and the elimination of discrimination based on sex has become one of the central and frequent determinants of the international standards of human rights, and modern democracies.

The positive changes that women's status had known in the last decade at the legal level still require consecration and expansion in a supreme legal text such as the Constitution in order to ensure their application;

Different experiences at the international level have proved concretely that guaranteeing rights is not sufficient; their effective implementation should be ensured as well. Therefore, the constitutionalization of procedures and positive measures will accelerate the removal of barriers to full citizenship for women and their effective enjoyment of their rights.

The need to give a strong signal, through the supreme political and legislative framework of the country, which is able, by virtue of its political and pedagogical dimensions, to positively influence the political and judicial attitudes and practices towards the promotion of equality.

The proposal of the Advisory Commission for Regionalization to amend the constitutional part on political participation to ensure equal access of women and men to electoral mandate functions is a relevant suggestion that responds to the current situation provided it is expanded.

Our expectations of the constitutional reform:

We expect that the forthcoming constitutional amendment will focus explicitly on four fundamental and integrated points that will give significance to our general demand for the constitutionalization of de facto gender equality and non-discrimination between the two sexes.

1- Defining the reference that underpins the Constitution

Explicit acknowledgment of the primacy of international human rights instruments and conventions over domestic laws and the harmonization of the latter with those conventions in a way that ensures respect for universal human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized universally, without any discrimination based on sex, color, race or belief;

Reinforcement of the country of justice and law as a consistent and coherent institutional system, including the separation of legislation and religion (secularization of law);

Emphasis on the democratic and modernist choice, based on the identification of powers and a clear separation between them, the independence of the judiciary, and the adoption of standards of good governance which require transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs.

2- Gender equality and prohibition of discrimination

Incorporating a definition of discrimination on the basis of sex, be it direct (discriminatory laws) or indirect (in reality and in the effects resulting from the legislation or public policies), as stated in the first article of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and its prohibition, whatever its source, from public authorities, private enterprises, organizations or persons, with a statement of procedures to eliminate all its forms.

Rendering de facto gender equality one of the main pillars of the Constitution through its introduction as a universal and mainstreaming value, including equality between women and men in civil, socio-political, economic, and cultural rights in their universality, indivisibility, and non-adaptability;

Acknowledging full and equal eligibility of women and men in all that relates to civic matters, and considering all the laws, regulations, contracts, and other tools of a legal nature, which seek to reduce the legal eligibility of citizens, women and men, as null and ineffective.

Creating a link between the principle of equality of women and men in front of the law and the principle of equality in rights, duties and responsibilities.

Adopting the principle of equality between women and men and non-discrimination in all public policies, including public budgets, considering it as the responsibility of the State and its representatives at all levels, with a statement guaranteeing relevant mechanisms to concretize these principles and ensure their exercise and enjoyment;

Stating legislative procedures to eradicate and criminalize all forms of violence against women, and also to criminalize trafficking in women;

Stating the unconstitutionality of all legal and regulatory texts and practices that condone discrimination and violence against women;

 

3- Emphatic procedures to remedy the shortfall in the area of equality of women and men

Ensuring the attainment of effective equality requires the constitutionalization of emphatic and incentive measures to provide these latter with a general and non-debatable legitimacy in accordance with article 4 of the CEDAW, to which Morocco has expressed no reservation, In order to avoid any hesitation, objection or doubts about the legitimacy of such measures. This can be done through the statement of the following provisions:

The adoption of parity democracy in all that relates to decision-making positions;

The statement of emphatic and incentive procedures to ensure equality in women's effective access to all functions and to electoral and non- electoral mandates of all kinds (political, professional, etc.) as well as to decision-making positions related to the former, at local, regional and national levels;

The inclusion in the Constitution of specific procedures to remedy the shortfall or the differences between the two sexes as concerns the enjoyment of socio-economic and cultural rights.

4- Provisions concerning form

Revision of the language used in the Constitution through:

Constant reference to women and men, taking into consideration that humanity is composed of both of them, and also because of the practical and symbolic nature of this reference;

Adoption of a precise and clear language in order to ensure the respect and implementation of its provisions.

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