Women in Morocco’s prison system are ‘treated like slaves’
A new report by the United Nations says women in Morocco have “suffered far worse abuses” than their male counterparts in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Women in the country’s prisons are denied access to basic medical care, they are not allowed to wear clothes and are often forced to work in the home, the UN report says.
It also describes conditions in Saudi’s al-Nabah prison in the capital Rabat where women are segregated from men and subject to “inappropriate physical and sexual abuse”.
The report was commissioned by the UN Women’s Office and the Moroccan Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), a women’s rights NGO, and was published on Wednesday.
It said: “The report has highlighted the extent to which women are not considered equal in Moroccan society, and has highlighted instances where they are subjected to physical and psychological abuse and sexual harassment.”
It also highlighted the systematic and systemic abuse and discrimination against women in Saudi and Qatar prisons.
“The report, titled “Women in Prison: Unrest in the Kingdom of Morocco”, was commissioned following the death of a female prisoner, who was convicted of “terrorism-related offences” after she attempted to break into a Saudi prison.
Saudi Arabia and its neighbours have long faced accusations of human rights abuses.
In 2016, a British court sentenced an Egyptian woman to five years in prison for “making a false statement” to police and was later released.
The kingdom’s authorities have also been criticised for its treatment of women.
Last year, the International Criminal Court ruled against a Saudi judge’s decision to jail the wife of an alleged al-Qaeda member on terrorism charges.
In Qatar, the country that hosts the 2022 World Cup, the Qatari authorities have come under fire for the alleged “honour killings” of female prisoners and their families.
A UN report last year found that more than 1,200 women had been murdered since the Gulf state opened its borders in the early 1990s.
The Gulf country has also been embroiled in a deadly row with its neighbours over the death penalty, which the kingdom says is a punishment for crimes that are “unjust”.
The UN report also criticised Qatar’s treatment of its own prisoners.
It found that the “highest levels of mistreatment” of women prisoners were “unacceptable” and highlighted the “failure of the government to address these issues”.
Al Jazeera’s John Sudworth, reporting from Doha, said the UN has now issued a global call to arms to “bring to justice those responsible for the mistreatment of women and girls in the kingdom”.”
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE are just three of the nations where the mistreated women and children continue to be exploited.”