Moroccan lawyer Aisha Qalaa: Family Code needs reform

“The adoption of the Moroccan Family Code is an important step for women; however, it still causes a series of problems leading discrimination, injustice and inequality,” Moroccan Lawyer Aisha Qalaa said, calling for the reform of the family code.


Morocco - A new family code, known as the Moudawana, was unanimously adopted by the Moroccan parliament in February 2004 thanks to the struggle of women’s organizations in the country. Although the Family Code is considered an important step in terms of protecting the integrity of the family, women still face discrimination, injustice and inequality when they want to use their right to file for divorce. Aisha Qalaa, lawyer and the president of the Moroccan Association for Victims' Rights (AMDV), said that the Moroccan Constitution guarantees equality between men and women, “However, they are not equal when women want to use their right to file for divorce.”

‘The definition of divorce must be changed’

Emphasizing that the definition of divorce in the Family code must be changed, Aisha Qalaa said, “While men can file divorce without showing a reason, women can file for divorce for several reasons such as harm, abandonment, failure of a husband to provide financial maintenance, absence of the husband for more than one year, latent defect, and abandonment. Some articles of the Family Code must be amended to ensure equality.”

Aishaa Qalaa criticized political figures and parties for not daring to amend the Family Code. Pointing to the international convention ratified by Morocco, she said, “Morocco has signed and ratified a number of international conventions and documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that protect women from all forms of discrimination; however, Moroccan women still face legal discrimination.”

‘Half of society face problems in the courts’

Speaking about the problems in the implementation of the Moroccan Family Code, Aisha Qalaa said, “The adoption of the Moroccan Family Code in 2004 was like a revolution for society. But after the 2011 Moroccan Constitution, several problems emerged about women’s rights and the protection of children's rights. Today, we have to demand an amendment, because half of society faces problems in the courts.”