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Cablegate: Morocco: King Withdraws Reservations to Un Women's

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRB #1150 3471806
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121806Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9434
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0871
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1099

UNCLAS RABAT 001150

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL KWMN MO
SUBJECT: MOROCCO: KING WITHDRAWS RESERVATIONS TO UN WOMEN'S
CONVENTION

Sensitive but Unclassified, Please Protect Accordingly

1. (SBU) Summary: In what is being hailed as an important
symbolic step, King Mohammed VI announced in a December 10
speech that Morocco will lift its remaining and outdated
reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The objections
covered conferral of nationality, equity in marriage and
family issues which have been superseded by Moroccan law.
Although domestic legal procedures must be followed before
the reservations can be formally withdrawn at the UN,
Government of Morocco interlocutors predict smooth and quick
internal ratification of the announcement. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On December 10, on the eve of the 60th anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in a speech
delivered in his name by Royal Counselor for Legal Affairs
Mohammed Moatissim, King Mohammed VI highlighted Moroccan
progress in the field of human rights. In the remarks, the
King announced that Morocco will lift its reservations
against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). (Note: Morocco
ratified the CEDAW in 1993. End Note.) "Given the advanced
legislation adopted by our country," the King said, "the
reservations are now obsolete."

3. (SBU) Morocco's first reservation addressed the second
paragraph of article 9 of the CEDAW which stipulates that
&the States grant a woman equal rights to those of a man
with regard to the nationality of their children." As a
result of amendments made to the Family Code in 2004 and the
Nationality Code in 2006, Morocco's objections to article 9
are illegal under its own laws. Its second reservation
relating to article 16 and the requirement for equity in
marriage and family relations has similarly been overtaken by
developments in Moroccan law and jurisprudence. Morocco will
also lift its reservation to article 29 relating to modes of
arbitration between the signatory states.

4. (SBU) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Director of
Humanitarian and Social Issues Abdelmounaim El Farrouk told
PolFsn that the GOM lodged the reservations in 1993 when it
first acceded to the CEDAW. Farrouk explained that, although
the King made public his intent to rescind the GOM's
objections, certain standard procedures must be followed to
gain pro forma Ministry of Justice concurrence, including the
official publication of the decision, before the UN can be
officially informed of the reservations, withdrawal.
Farrouk did not, however, anticipate significant delays or
problems with the process.

5. (SBU) Media reported that many women's rights NGOs
praised the King's decision, describing it as a sign of
growing recognition of full-fledged equality between men and
women. Chairman of the Moroccan Organization of Human
Rights, Amina Bouayach, told the press that the decision
would have a positive effect on the drafting of national laws
and gender-related government decisions and programs.
National coordinator of women's association Joussour,
Ghizlane Benyaich, publicly commended the announcement but
stressed that it should be coupled with domestic mechanisms
to ensure actual enforcement of CEDAW provisions in Morocco.
Chairwoman of the Women's Action Union Nezha Alaoui told
PolFsn that it was an important symbolic step towards
establishing true gender equality.

6. (SBU) Comment: Since most of the issues covered by the
reservations have been addressed by current legislation, the
rescinding will not have a concrete effect. However, the
action has important symbolic value as a message to segments
of society still resistant to reform. Women's NGOs are
particularly hopeful that the fact that King himself carried
the message will spark improvements in local government and
judicial sector handling of women's issues. This underscores
the continuing, if incremental, progress on gender equality
also addressed in Casablanca septel on violence against
women. End Comment


*****************************************
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/rabat
*****************************************

Riley

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