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UNICEF, AMANE and CNDH recommend an integrated child protection policy to protect children against sexual violence



UNICEF and AMANE, a Moroccan Association fighting sexual violence against children, in collaboration with the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), released this Friday, December 19, 2014, at the CNDH headquarters in Rabat, the conclusions of a national survey on sexual violence against children in Morocco.

Presented at a press conference chaired by CNDH Chairman Driss El Yazami, Ms. Regina De Dominicis, Resident Representative of UNICEF in Morocco, and Beatrice Bouron, Director of AMANE Association, this national survey sheds light on sexual violence against children in Morocco and touches on its forms, causes, causalities, etc. It recommends integrated national efforts to fight this phenomenon.

The survey concludes that sexual violence is one of the main forms of violence against children in Morocco. According to the statistics and data of the General Directorate of National Security, 11,599 cases of sexual violence against children were recorded between 2007 and 2012, mainly against girls (8129 cases). The collected quantitative data of the Ministry of Justice and Liberties shows that 26% of all cases of violence recorded in Morocco between 2010 and 2012 were against children.

Considered as a form of sexual violence, early marriages witnessed a sharp increase, according to the survey, as they increased from 18,341 in 2004 to 35,152 in 2013, i.e. 91.6%. Worse still, these numbers do not really reflect the reality, since so many marriages are still concluded with no marriage contracts, following the old traditions (by Fatiha). Some of these marriages concern girls less than 11 year-old.

There are of course other forms of sexual exploitation, including for commercial purposes. These include trafficking of children for sexual exploitation, child prostitution, child sexual exploitation in travel, tourism and pornography children, etc. but such cases are very poorly documented, as the survey notes. Children are also increasingly sexually abused and exploited through by use of the internet, mainly because of access to non-secure Internet and mobile phones that may facilitate sexual predators’ access to children.

The survey concludes that children should be protected against sexual violence within the framework of an overall policy for the protection of children. It notes that such process has already started, through the integrated public policy for child protection, which has been announced recently.

The national survey was led by a steering committee that also included representatives of the ministries of justice and health, the General Directorate of National Security and the CNDH. Children contributed effectively to the survey. Several stakeholders contributed as well through their participation in several regional workshops that were held for this reason, in the cities of Fez, Meknes, Casablanca, Marrakech and Rabat.

Morocco adhered to almost all international human rights instrument, in general, and those related to children's rights in particular, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention, 2007). Morocco also took part in many world conferences on child sexual exploitation for commercial purposes (Stockholm in 1996, Yokohama in 2001, and Rio in 2008). It hosted, in 2001 and 2004, the Arab conference and the African conference on the exploitation, sexual abuse, and violence against children.