Thursday, 29 February 2024 09:46

HRH Princess Lalla Meryem Chairs Ceremony in Marrakech to Celebrate International Women's Day

Thursday, 08 March 2018

Marrakech - HRH Princess Lalla Meryem, Chairwoman of the National Union for Moroccan Women (UNFM), chaired, here on Thursday, a ceremony to celebrate the International Women's Day.

After the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran and the playing of the national anthem, HRH Princess Lalla Meryem delivered, on behalf of the National Union for Moroccan Women, an opening address on the occasion of this day, held this year under the theme: "The dignity of women, between violence and precariousness".

In her address, Her Royal Highness said that "Moroccan women's conditions have improved significantly. Women in our country have achieved tangible gains in many fields," noting that “as is the case in many other nations, those gains were not handed on a silver platter; they are the result of the struggle and sacrifice of several generations of women.”

HRH Princess Lalla Meryem recalled, in this respect, “women’s role in the resistance movement.” “Moroccan women played their part for the achievement of freedom and independence; they raised generations of Moroccans and have contributed to building modern Morocco,” said Her Royal Highness.

On this occasion, she said that “His Majesty the King - may God assist him - is doing his utmost not only to empower women, improve their conditions and open up new horizons for them, but also to make sure Moroccan women achieve a status similar to that enjoyed by women in more advanced countries.”

Her Royal Highness added that her status as a princess “does not prevent me from being an activist, especially in the area of advocating for women’s and children’s rights. That is because I am aware of the problems faced by Moroccans and, just like them, I am confronted with similar personal and family issues.”

HRH Princess Lalla Meryem also noted that one of the most important gains made by women in Morocco is adoption of an advanced family code, adding that the latter “does justice to women, preserves the rights of children and promotes balance and stability within the family.”

“There are people who claim that the family code is not applied, but this is simply not the case since family courts have been enforcing the code’s provisions,” said HRH the Princess, stressing that “the problem lies in the fact that many women, especially in rural and remote areas, are still unaware of the existence of the family code and of the protection and rights it offers them.”

Her Royal Highness underlined, in this regard, that "notwithstanding the general rule which says that 'ignorance of the law is no excuse', it is a fact that the rights of many women are being undermined, either because of ignorance of those rights or because of a lack of legal and material means to ensure they are respected."

“In spite of the adoption of the family code, the establishment of family courts and the existence of advanced legal texts, there is still much to be done in order to women’s rights better known,” she said.

“We must therefore act to support state efforts and seek government assistance in outreach activities, in promoting awareness of the contents of the Family Code and of women’s rights in general, and in enabling women to benefit from the guarantees offered by the law, such as access to an interpreter, where necessary,” HRH Princess Lalla Meryem insisted.

Regarding the situation of women and children, Her Royal Highness said that there are still many pressing issues and problems in connection with this issue, notably, the problem of underage marriage, the fight against violence, discrimination against women, child labor, especially the question of domestic workers.

“These are all issues of deep concern which are being extensively debated within society and are closely followed by civil society,” stressed HRH the Princess.

“To contribute to the social dynamics and to the national debate on these current issues, I suggest, as a women and child rights activist, that a request be submitted to His Majesty the King, listing the various issues faced and making reasonable proposals to address them,” HRH Princess Lalla Meryem pointed out.

“We shall request His Majesty to ask the government and the institutions concerned to address the various issues relating to women and children because we know how keen His Majesty is the see those issues resolved through a national, participatory approach that respects the rights and duties of all parties as well as the nation’s sacred, immutable values and Moroccan religious and cultural particularities,” she said.

Her Royal Highness expressed, on this occasion, her pride in “the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s decision to make me Goodwill Ambassador for the empowerment of women, for the defense of the values underpinning the family and the institution of marriage and for combating the marriage of underage girls.”

Speaking on this occasion, representative of UN Women in Maghreb, Leila Rhiwi, commended the interest of Her Royal Highness in women's issues and her multiple actions to promote the living conditions of this section of society.

Praising the progress made by the Kingdom over the last twenty years in promoting the conditions of women, the UN official said that much remains to be done, particularly with regard to raising women's awareness of their rights and obligations.

On this occasion, HRH Princess Lalla Meryem chaired the signing ceremony of two agreements between, on the one hand, the National Union for Moroccan Women (UNFM) and, on the other hand, the Public ministry and the Moroccan Agency of International Cooperation (AMCI).

The aim of the first agreement is to strengthen the skills of the Union's executives, and to develop exchanges between the two parties, particularly through the creation of units for women and children within courts.

The second agreement establishes a partnership under which the Moroccan Agency of International Cooperation will support the UNFM in strengthening the capacity of its executives in order to promote the Union's action at the African level.

On this occasion, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Yousef Bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, presented to HRH Princess Lalla Meryem the title of "OIC Goodwill Ambassador", in recognition of her actions for the advancement of women's conditions and the protection of children.

Subsequently, Her Royal Highness followed explanations on the project "Dar Al Korb" (House of proximity), initiated by the UNFM in partnership with Barid Al Maghrib and the INDH, a project that provides women in situations of vulnerability with living, training and capacity building spaces.

HRH Princess Lalla Meryem also was briefed on the actions undertaken as part of the restructuring of the UNFM, in particular the strengthening of the interaction with the regional delegations of the Union and the institutions which come under it through the use of new information and communication technologies.

At the end of this ceremony, Her Royal Highness posed for a souvenir photo with participating women.


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