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Safeguarding the Vulnerable: Morocco's Unwavering Commitment to Child Protection

Tuesday 11 June 2024 - 09:45
Safeguarding the Vulnerable: Morocco's Unwavering Commitment to Child Protection

In a nation that places paramount importance on the well-being of its youngest citizens, Morocco has made remarkable strides in ensuring the comprehensive protection and care of children. This commitment was underscored by El Hassan Daki, the Procureur Général du Roi près la Cour de Cassation and President of the Public Prosecutor's Office, who revealed that in 2023 alone, specialized cells within public prosecutor's offices across the country provided support and assistance to 35,355 children.

Addressing a national gathering in Fez, dedicated to monitoring the implementation of the outcomes of the National Conference on the Protection of Children in Contact with the Law, Daki highlighted the alarming figures. Of the total number of children served, 26,770 were identified as victims, 1,294 were classified as being in difficult circumstances, and 7,394 were recognized as being in conflict with the law.

Daki emphasized that each child received attentive care and guidance and was directed towards appropriate legal, social, psychological, health, or other necessary services. He underscored the pivotal role played by public prosecutors in coordinating efforts between various governmental, non-governmental, and civil society stakeholders through local and regional committees for the protection of women and children. This collaborative approach aims to ensure a harmonious and complementary delivery of services, upholding the best interests of this vulnerable demographic.

To standardize and enhance the performance of public prosecutor's offices nationwide, the Public Prosecutor's Office has issued numerous circulars urging judges to bolster legal safeguards for children against all forms of violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect. Daki highlighted the Office's unwavering commitment to shielding children from harmful situations that could undermine their dignity, while ensuring the strict application of the law against those who perpetrate criminal acts against minors, leaving no room for impunity.

Morocco's penal policy, Daki noted, places issues pertaining to children among its foremost strategic priorities. The Public Prosecutor's Office accords particular significance to this demographic, ensuring that all legal powers at its disposal are activated to provide the necessary protection against exploitation, violations, and abuse.

"Morocco's achievements reflect a firm conviction in the centrality of children's well-being and a strong determination to promote their rights," Daki asserted, pointing to the nation's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the very year of its publication. This act served as a clarion call to intensify national efforts towards advancing and safeguarding the rights of children.

Over the past two decades, in alignment with His Majesty King Mohammed VI's vision expressed through numerous speeches and messages, Morocco has made significant progress in promoting the rights and improving the conditions of children. These advancements span physical and moral protection, as well as economic, social, and cultural upliftment.

Daki emphasized the particular interest held by Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Meryem, President of the National Observatory for Children's Rights (ONDE) and President of the National Union of Moroccan Women (UNFM), in protecting children's rights. Her Royal Highness's unwavering commitment to supporting social and developmental projects aimed at enhancing the living conditions of children stems from her firm belief that children embody the nation's hope and future.

Morocco has adopted a comprehensive legislative approach to ensure the prevention and protection of children, Daki noted, highlighting the various national legal texts that enshrine this approach through the enactment of legal provisions aimed at effective protection of children in contact with the law and the establishment of support mechanisms.

"This has been one of the most significant components in promoting the well-being of children and has contributed to the establishment of a child-friendly justice system that ensures easy and effective access, regardless of their status—whether victims, in conflict with the law, in difficult circumstances, abandoned, witnesses, or migrant children," Daki asserted.

Organized by the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor's Office in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and with the support of the European Union, this two-day gathering features plenary sessions presenting the current state of affairs, challenges, and pressing issues related to childhood matters.

As Morocco continues to forge ahead in its commitment to child protection, the nation's unwavering dedication to safeguarding its most vulnerable citizens shines as a beacon of hope, ensuring that no child is left behind on the path towards a brighter future.

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