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The Moroccan Debate on Inheritance

The Moroccan Center of Human Rights recommended that all forms of discrimination against women, including in matters of inheritance be eliminated
Moroccan women sing at the Women Center of Ouarzazate, Ouarzazate, Morocco. Photo Hollandse Hoogte/Nick Hannes

A recommendation by the Moroccan National Council for Human Rights on 20 October 2015 that all forms of discrimination against women, including in matters of inheritance, be eliminated led to a raging debate between supporters and opponents.

While the supporters rely mainly on the provisions of the 2011 constitution and the UN definition of discrimination against women as any distinction, exclusion, or restriction made on the basis of sex, the opponents rely mainly on the Quranic verse “Males shall have two shares (of inheritance) while females have one,” which clearly states that women should inherit half of what men do.

The debate has been taken up by the media (including social media), political parties, NGOs, and individuals. For example, lawyer and human rights advocate Mustafa Almanusi, who fervently supports the recommendation, stated that he will take measures that will ensure that the division of his estate amongst his wife, sons, and daughters is made on equal terms, meaning that, upon his death, the members of his family will receive equal shares of his estate. By so doing, this supporter of human rights wants to set an example for all Moroccans.

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