Global Rights created this initiative to promote women’s rights in the Maghreb region of North Africa through the strategic use of marriage contracts in grassroots community mobilization and civic education. Integrating women’s rights into clauses in the marriage contracts used in the Maghreb region will allow individual women to:
· Reinforce and reiterate rights specifically protected in existing legislation;
· Clarify areas of the law that are unclear or poorly written in existing legislation; and
· Remedy discriminatory provisions in existing legislation.
The Model Marriage Contract is intended to guide future spouses as they draft their marriage contract by providing suggestions for topics to discuss as well as examples of clauses to stipulate. It is designed to remind women in particular of their rights, facilitate negotiation of the contract between spouses, and provide public officials and private professionals involved in drawing up marriage contracts with a wide range of clauses to propose to couples, while still respecting the goal of creating a contract with rights protective clauses for women and promoting equality within marriage.
This Blog is intended to serve as a forum for sharing strategies and information on the marriage contract, as well as a space for feedback and collective, participatory and ongoing rewriting of the model marriage contract based on participants’ experiences and suggestions.
The Model Marriage contract was elaborated based on an action-research conducted by Global Rights Maghreb and NGO and lawyer partners in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The 15 local NGO partners collaborated with 58 additional organisations in their communities to train 163 of their members as community consultation facilitators. They then held 119 community consultations sessions on the marriage contract in 70 diverse cities, towns and villages across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia with 1474 women in their communities to solicit their priorities and suggestions for the content of a model marriage contract as well as strategies for its implementation.
At the same time, lawyer partners conducted legal research, interviews and round tables with over one hundred local authorities, parliamentarians, public officials and legal professionals about laws and procedures related to the marriage contract. The results of these community consultations and legal research were presented, analyzed and debated during a regional workshop with all of the partners organized by Global Rights in July 2008, and the report and Model Marriage Contract are the result of these efforts.