Morocco. In February, Parliament passed a law that would protect women from forced marriage and violence and sexual harassment in public places. However, a ban on rape in marriage was not included in the law, something that the human rights organization Human Rights Watch criticized.
According to Countryaah.com, Rabat is the capital city of Morocco, a country located in Northern Africa. The Moroccan newspaper Assahifa al-Ousbouia revealed in April that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is a descendant of the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad. In a family tree, the newspaper had mapped Queen Elizabeth in direct descent until the 600s when the prophet was living in Saudi Arabia. According to British researchers, the theory, which gained wide international spread, is not entirely unbelievable. An article in the British newspaper The Economist stated that the Queen is also a distant relative of both the King of Morocco and the King of Jordan – and in addition to the Iranian Ayatollan Ali Khamenei.
In May, Morocco severed diplomatic relations with Iran. The reason was that Iran, through its allies – the Lebanese Hizbullah movement – provided the Western Sahara independence movement Polisario with weapons and military training, according to Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita. Iran’s foreign ministry and Hizbullah rejected the charges.
The leader of the protest movement Hirakal-Chaabi – Nasser Zefzafi – was sentenced in June to 20 years in prison on charges of having “undermined public order and threatened national unity” in connection with the protests in the Rif region in 2016. A further 52 activists were sentenced to prison sentences of between 2 and 20 year. In the Rif region, where the social and economic problems are great, protests have been going on since 2016. After the verdict against Zefzafi was announced, hundreds of protesters gathered in the capital Rabat.
In October, a new law to protect girls working with housework came into force. Among other things, the law meant that a minimum age of 18 years should apply. In addition, a minimum wage for household services should be introduced.
International migration organization IOM reported during the year that the number of migrants who came to Spain by boat from Morocco, or via the Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla, had increased. The reason was that fewer people took the dangerous route via Libya to Italy.
During the summer, Italy closed its ports, further increasing the flow of migrants to Spain.
In August, media reported that Moroccan authorities forcibly displaced “hundreds, maybe thousands, of migrants” from camps in northern Morocco further south in the country. According to human rights groups, it was a way to deter refugees from entering the EU.
In December, two Scandinavian women were found brutally murdered at their tent near a popular hiking area in the High Atlas Mountains. The women studied at a Norwegian university where they entered a program focusing on outdoor life. According to the Moroccan police, the act, which was investigated as a terrorist offense, was aimed at tourists and not specifically at the women. In the same month, 18 people were arrested with suspected links to the double murder. Four of them had appeared in a video in which they swore the terror group IS allegiance.