UNICEF Khadija Is One among Many

Rabat – Khadija’s alleged rape has caught the attention of UNICEF, which has reacted to the reported kidnapping and rape.In a statement made public today, UNICEF aimed to raise awareness about violence against Moroccan children.Khadija’s case became public in August, when the 17-year-old Khadija spoke for the first time about being raped. The girl said that she was kidnapped and raped by more than 12 people for two months. While media reports have questioned the truth of Khadija’s story, UNICEF argued that it calls for “the rights of children involved in this case to be respected, whether they are victims, witnesses or accused.” The statement added that “the children who could be associated with this case,” remain victims of the “absence of an integrated system of child protection in Morocco,” regardless of their social status.The organization has also published figures about the number of similar cases which were adjudicated in Morocco’s courts. According to UNICEF, courts across Morocco processed 5,980 cases of violence against children in 2017.The number caused UNICEF to call on all concerned parties, including media, to prioritize the issue above any other interests to meet acceptable standards of taking care of victims of violence.The institution also reminded the Moroccan government of its integrated child protection policy to protect children against sexual violence adopted in 2015.The project, which is part of a mid-term evaluation of the National Plan of Action for Children 2006-2015, aims to create a healthy environment for children, safe from all forms of neglect, abuse, violence, and exploitation.According to UNICEF, the case of Khadija “concerns all stakeholders of the urgent need to quickly implement these territorial devices.”The statement added, “The Child Protection Policy Implementation Program provides for the establishment, at the provincial / prefecture level, of a structure for the collection, analysis, evaluation, orientation and monitoring individual situations of children.”.UNICEF’s statement argued that Khadija’s case is not the first and will not be the last case. Sexual assaults publicized on social mediaThis year, a mass outcry erupted several times over cases with similar circumstances as those Khadija alleged.In January, a French pedophile admitted to drugging and raping two girls aged 11 and 14 in Fez. The 58-year-old pedophile claimed that he could give the children “what they were deprived of: toys, food, gifts and money.” He blamed their families for exploiting children.In March, a video of a sexual assault was posted online, featuring a young man assaulting a young girl, while someone else filmed.In 2017, another video posted online shocked Moroccans: it showed more than five teenagers sexually abusing a young girl on a moving bus in Casablanca. Nobody else on the bus appeared to do anything.Besides security authorities, the government did not release any statements regarding the cases, which received widespread outrage on social media. The government has not yet implemented Law 103-13 against gender-based discrimination, which was initially set to go into effect in August.The government, according to a government source will implement the law September 12.President of Tahadi Center and activist Bouchra Abdou condemned the delay in an August interview with Morocco World News, saying that the delay is unexplainable.It remains to be seen whether the government will fulfill its promises and implement the law next week. read more