Wide Angle

Morocco : 34% of LGBTQIA+ community say they are harassed by the authorities

In a recent survey, the Akaliyat Association for the Rights of Sexual and Religious Minorities shows the extent of harassment suffered by LGBTQIA+ people in Morocco. According to this work carried out with 400 people, 34% said they had been mistreated by the authorities because of their orientation.

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Sexual and religious minorities defense association Akaliyat has said in a survey published, Friday, that the LGBTQIA+ community in Morocco is challenged by a series of inequalities.

According to its findings, the association reveals that members of said community have had their rights violated in the political, social and legislative levels, referring to the criminalization of homosexual activity in Morocco.

Carried out over a period of six months, this study was conducted with 400 people in Marrakech, Rabat, Agadir and Tangier. Respondents generally indicated that their social environment was hostile, while only 4% said that they enjoy their full rights. 58% of respondents have a negative opinion regarding the social benefits provided to them.

29% of those questioned said they had already been arrested by the authorities or imprisoned. The first half said that they had been arrested for homosexuality, while the second said they were arrested for other reasons that are related to their sexuality.

More than 63% of people reported that they have been subjected to «torture» or ill-treatment during their detention. Half of them say they were subjected to «insults, extortion, blackmail and intimidation» during the investigation, while a third said they had been subjected to physical violence and torture.

Fear of blackmail

This study also showed that 34% of LGBTQIA+ people were harassed by the authorities. Those who openly voiced their sexual orientation say that they have been arrested or searched at least twice without expressly stated reasons.

Also, 70% of those questioned said they were exposed to physical or moral violence in private and public spaces. 14% of them have filed complaints in police stations, while most of them said they do not trust «the police and the justice system» and fear «reprisals or revenge of an aggressor» which would be likely to defame them.

86.4% of those questioned express their wish that article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code be amended, in order to decriminalize homosexuality.

In the Penal Code, same-sex relations are punishable by six months to three years in prison as well as a fine ranging from 120 to 1,200 dirhams. According to the association, this contributes to «fueling hatred and violence against people».

Through this study, the NGO hopes to contribute to the opening of a «national debate» to protect the rights of these people and fight against discrimination and hatred.

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