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Morocco: Petition Launched Against Bill Authorizing Maids to Work at Age 16

Source : | 15 May 2016 |  Society | 852 views

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Rabat – A number of international lawyers have started a petition under the slogan “No to the exploitation of minors working domestic jobs” against a bill in the House of Representatives that aims to authorize minors as young as 16 to work legally as maids in Morocco.

On Monday, the Committee on Social Sectors approved bill 19.12, which also regulates working conditions for domestic servants, with seven members supporting the release of the draft for a vote by the entire legislature. Two other committee members opposed the draft’s release.

Critics of the bill say the minimum age to work as a maid should have been raised to 18 before it became tabled vote.

According to a report by Hespress, the lawyers protesting the bill have amassed over 1600 signatures over the past few days. Signatories of the petition insist that children must have the opportunity to enjoy their rights to their full extent. They say that May 9 represents a “sad day” for young girls in Morocco because the law “destroys [their] dreams of a better life” and “exploits their childhood.”

“In the name of the children of Morocco and its young girls, we ask of you all to shoulder your responsibilities completely as representatives of the nation in the general voting session of the bill and to make the appropriate decision based on the constitutional principles and international treaties to which the kingdom has agreed,” the group’s statement said to the national legislature.

 “Take into consideration the opinions of the National Council on Human Rights, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and also other experts in the field.”

The signatories of the petition also emphasized that allowing 16-year-olds to work as domestic servants would make them more vulnerable to exploitation via their socioeconomic disadvantages. The bill would be against the development of the country and decrease the minors’ chances of becoming economically and socially integrated in society, they added.

Abdeslam Saddiki, Minister of Employment, has previously defended the bill as “international laws indicate that the minimum working age should not be lower than the mandatory schooling age,” which is 15 in Morocco. He has also said the draft’s other provisions, which, among other new rules, require employers to sign a contract with the servants, would “lift the injustice” maids have been suffering for years.

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