Aziz Allilou is a student at the Higher Institute of Media and Communications (ISIC) and Morocco World News correspondent in Rabat.
Rabat- The Moroccan Ministry of Justice has reportedly received over 40,000 requests for marriage of underage girls in the last year. Although the requests were denied, dozens of them allegedly married minor girls illegally.
Akhbar Alyaoum newspaper quoted a UNICEF official as saying that over 40,000 Moroccan adult males made requests to the Ministry of Justice to marry underage girls.
The UNICEF official added that the organization is moving forward to release a study on child marriage in Morocco, which was started last year.
In 2004, Morocco adopted a new family code, which increased the minimum age of marriage for girls from 14 to 18. However, the phenomenon of child marriage is becoming more common in Morocco.
In a recent investigation, the paper revealed that in some rural areas, dozens of girls under the age of 18 get married, have children and sometimes get divorced according to the Fatiha,- the first chapter of theQuran- without court registration.
In Tiseroulin, in the province of Midlet 98 Miles from Meknes, over 50 child brides, aged between 11 and 16, are married to adult males, according to Mohamed Ouslaiman, the president of local association Azem Aberbach.
Najat Ikhich, the co-founder of Yetto, revealed that her association intervened to stop a man from forcing his 11-year-old girl to marry an adult male, after the association promised to sponsor the child’s studies until she earns her baccalaureate diploma.
Najat Ikhich said that child marriage keeps increasing in Morocco, since the government keeps ignoring the 20th and 21st articles of the family code.
“These articles give judges the power to approve nuptials with a minor if it is permitted by the child’s guardian, “ Najat said.
She adds that the place for girls is at school, rather than her husband’s house. ”I feel sorry for the underage girls who become maids in their husbands’ houses, especially those who were married off without official legal documents.