Remarks of UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet at the “Soulaliyat Women Entitled to Land Property Rights” event, Morocco, 9 March 2012.
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I am so pleased to be standing here on your land! I congratulate you for standing up, speaking out and demanding your rights to own land.
Through your determined leadership, through your organization of press conferences and meetings with the Ministry of the Interior, as well as sit-ins in front of parliament, you, the Soulalyates, succeeded in mobilizing the media and public opinion against the violation of your rights.
I congratulate you for obtaining official recognition of women’s rights to communal land.
That recognition came in 2010 when the Ministry of Justice issued a circular that called on authorities of the province of Kenitra to ensure that the transfer of communal land was carried out in line with the principles of gender equality.
But you did not stop there. You succeeded in building a network to strengthen advocacy on women’s rights and spread the news throughout all regions.
As a result of these advocacy efforts, the Ministry of Interior has called for gender equality principles to be applied by local authorities in the transfer of communal lands all over the country.
But the story does not stop there. It keeps getting better. In May 2011, you led a protest march to stand up for effective gender equality in civil and economic rights and their integration into the Constitution and in the new law governing collective lands.
The Soulalyates have since received financial compensation for ceding collective land and for the first time, have earned an income, in the same capacity as men, from the sale of timber from collectively owned forests.
My friends, you are the focus of this year’s International Women’s Day, Empower rural women! When rural women’s voices are heard, there is no stopping equality, dignity and justice.
UN Women is proud to be your partner together with the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women. We are proud to be your partner for gender equality. We look forward to continued collaboration!