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Morocco’s Civil Registration Law Allows Foreign Names, Gender Rectification

Banning titles such as "Moulay", "Sidi", "Lalla", allowing Amazigh transcriptions, a hermaphrodite clause, and the digitization of the Civil Status system are some of the many highlights of Morocco’s new amended Civil Status law.

Morocco’s House of Representatives has approved a draft law amending the country’s existing Civil Status laws.

The amended bill was adopted by the Government Council on June 17, and was submitted to the Committee of the Interior of the House of Representatives for examination on Tuesday, June 29. 

The new amendments to the civil status bill, numbered 36.21, addresses several widely discussed issues.

In the context of birth certificates, Article 33 of the new law stipulates that last names must be "neither a family name, nor a name composed of more than two first names, nor a city, village or tribal name, as it must not be of a nature to harm public morals or public order." The article also bans first names that may be the object of mockery.

Article 34 bans titles such as "Moulay," "Sidi" or "Lalla," unless the person can provide documents proving “cherifian” lineage. The same article also says that the chosen name can’t be followed by a figure or a number.

Contrary to the provisions of Law No. 37.99 on the Civil Status, the reform bill does not impose a first name with a Moroccan character or origin.

Another important measure of this Bill is the introduction of Tifinagh (Amazigh Alphabet) in Civil Status records and family booklets. Article 47 stipulates, in this context, the inscription in Arabic, Tifinagh, and Latin characters of the names and surnames of the child and their parents are now required.

The new Bill also provides special provisions for the civil registration of twins through Article 27. A birth certificate is now required for each twin, as opposed to the previous practice of registering both twins on one same certificate.

As for the most mediatized addition to the national civil status legislation, it is the new framework for hermaphroditic newborns’ civil registration. 

Article 28 of the 36.21 bill states that after birth, the certificate of hermaphrodite newborns shall assign the newborn a gender and that this assignment may be corrected in the future. 

"In the event of a sex change of a hermaphrodite, the civil status will be amended by a judicial decision of the competent court.”

Digitization of Civil Status documents 

The amendment to the bill aims to make civil status a fully digital service so as to build the development of e-government through the creation of a civil status registry, a system for recording, storing, and securely securing civil status information.

It provides the possibility of creating a digital civil and social identity for every Moroccan citizen or foreigner residing in Morocco, as determined by the law which sets out the targeting of state support program beneficiaries and the establishment of the National Register Agency.

The provisions of this text apply "to all Moroccans" and can "benefit foreigners" in the event of births or deaths in Morocco. 

Declarations of birth, death, marriage, and divorce will continue to be made in Civil Status offices in all municipalities in Morocco. Consular posts in foreign countries will also handle these declarations for Moroccan citizens living abroad.

The novelty lies in the use of the computer system dedicated to these declarations, knowing that "citizens will be able to make a pre-declaration, through the digital platform" as provided by Article 19. An upcoming regulation will establish the process for pre-declaration and pre-registration.

A computerized system will be used to prepare and validate every civil document, and all signatures will be done electronically beginning with the drafting and validation process.

The Bill states that "the form, content and methods of delivery of all copies of electronic civil status records will be determined by upcoming regulations" during which time "current identity booklets, civil status and family booklets" will continue to be used and are still valid.


Source: Morocco World News.

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