North Africa

This paper by Stephanie Willman Bordat and Saida Kouzzi is part of the IDLO book series Lessons Learned: Narrative Accounts of Legal Reform in Developing and Transition Countries. The term “unwed mother” is used here to refer to women who have children outside the framework of legal marriage. They and their children – defined by law as “illegitimate” – are among the most legally and socially marginalized people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, not just in Morocco.

This unofficial English translation of the 2004 Moroccan Family Law (Moudawana) was prepared by a team of English and Arabic speaking lawyers at the Global Rights head office in Washington D.C. and their field office in Rabat, and a professional Arabic-English Moroccan translator.

Marieme Hélie-Lucas, writing in 1989, talks about an alarming change in the situation of women in Algeria. A ‘Family Code’ law was introduced which removed many of women’s basic human rights. She also speaks about contraception, the problem of abandoned children and the consequences for women of the insistence on virginity at marriage.

This article traces Algerian women's struggle for full citizenship after the national liberation struggle ended in 1962. The Algerian Family Code, which became law in 1984, defines women as minors under the law and as existing only in so far as they are daughters, mothers or wives.

Pour la première fois, des artistes femmes venues d'Algérie et d'ailleurs chantent ensemble pour dénoncer le code de la famille promulgué en Algérie en 1984 et qui légalise l’infériorisation des femmes.

In 2003, the '20 ans Barakat' campaign was initiated by the association of the same name. The aim of the Campaign was to inform and raise awareness among the people in general and women in particular about the Algerian Family Code (personal status laws).

The documentary film, OUECH DEK YAL KADi (What came over you, Judge?), tells the story of women in Algeria raising their voices against the Algerian Family Code enacted on June 9, 1984.

Samia S., accused of having damaged a Quran and sentenced last September to 10 years imprisonment, was acquitted on 28 October 2008 by the judge of the criminal division of the Court of Biskra.
Samia S., accusée d’avoir souillé le Coran et condamnée au mois de septembre dernier à 10 ans de prison ferme, a été acquittée hier par le juge près la chambre pénale de la cour de Biskra.
La cour de Biskra examinera aujourd’hui le cas d’une femme condamnée, il y a un mois, à 10 ans de prison ferme par le tribunal de première instance pour avoir porté atteinte au Coran. Dans son réquisitoire, le représentant du ministère public a requis la confirmation de la peine en application de l’article 160 section 4, stipulant que « toute profanation ou dégradation du Livre Saint est punie de 5 à 10 ans de prison ». Condamnée à 10 ans de prison ferme lors du précédent procès qui s’est déroulé en septembre dernier, sans que l’accusée ne puisse bénéficier de l’assistance d’un avocat, la mise en cause, qui purge une peine d’emprisonnement dans un établissement pénitentiaire de Biskra pour une affaire civile indépendante de celle-ci, a été défendue par maître Houda Talha.
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