Great News – On January 18, 2007, the Moroccan Government passed a bill to reform the countryâ€™s nationality code which will enable women the right to pass on their nationality to their children. Although the bill has passed at the Cabinent level, it is awaiting approval from the Parliament, which hopefully will come next week.
The law was amended in line with the countryâ€™s family code, the Moudawana, meaning that only Moroccan women who have married Muslim men in accordance with the Moudawana would benefit.
The Moroccan Minister of Communication, Nabil Benabdallah, is quoted in The Magharebia, a news source reporting on the Maghreb region, as saying, â€œthe bill is an important step towards the emancipation of the Moroccan woman, after the reform in the family code (mudawana). Thus, the child will acquire Moroccan citizenship even if the father is a foreigner, but only if he is a Muslim and married according to the rules of the mudawana.â€
According to the same article, â€œOnly 1,646 [children] have been able to obtain Moroccan citizenship since 1965. Applications for citizenship are considered by the Ministry of Justice, which has now announced that it will begin considering 500 new applications.â€
This new bill is the result of a long period of collaborative work between campaign partner Association DÃ©mocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) and several womenâ€™s and human rights organizations. The groups have been applying pressure to the Moroccan Government to encourage the introduction of new legislation. ADFM held a press conference and staged a protest outside the Ministry of Justice in December calling on the Government to align the Nationality Code with the Moudawana Family Code. ADFM was very active in the campaign to reform the Moroccan family code. To read their argumentations for reform, see the Guide to Equality in the Family in the Maghreb.
Many families are now hopeful that women and children will be able to apply for Moroccan citizenship and receive basic social services which were denied to them before because of their lack of Moroccan citizenship.
On January 31st, ADFM in Morocco is organizing a debate on â€œThe New Legislation of the Nationality Codeâ€. The debate will take place between womenâ€™s groups and members of Parliament. Stay tuned for more information on this next week.
Read two articles covering Moroccoâ€™s latest Nationality Code development:
* â€œMoroccoâ€™s Nationality Code amended,â€ in The Magharebia (In English)
* â€œLe Code de la nationalitÃ© marocaine a Ã©tÃ© rÃ©formÃ©â€ on Yabiladi.com (In French)