A new family code in Morocco, known as the Mudawana, is having differing effects on women's rights in the Islamic kingdom and the disputed territory of Western Sahara, which falls under Moroccan rule. Earlier this year, Moroccan King Mohammed VI pushed the Mudawana through parliament. As of February 2004, Moroccan women no longer have to obey their husbands by law, something many Moroccan men saw as enshrining their right to use their fists on disobedient wives.

Reporters sans frontières (RSF) says it is extremely concerned over the abrupt imprisonment of Anas Tadili, editor of the weekly "Akhbar al-Ousbouaâ", on 15 April 2004. While officially arrested over a legal matter dating back 10 years, RSF fears Tadili may have been detained for an article published in his newspaper, and that the arrest was in fact the result of political pressure. On 9 April, Tadili's paper published an article entitled "Homosexuality and the political class in Morocco", more

According to Amnesty International and other credible human rights monitoring groups, the human rights situation in Western Sahara remains among the worst in the world. Any demonstration of support for independence is brutally suppressed. Even displays by the Sahrawis' of their distinct cultural identity is actively discouraged, says Stephen Zunes, an associate professor of Politics and chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. Zunes was speaking more

Hadija begs for money in the bustling alleys of the ancient walled city of Rabat, Morocco's capital. "My husband repudiated me when I was three months pregnant," she says. Under Morocco's old family code Khadija's husband and thousands of other Moroccan men could verbally divorce their wives at any time, and their decision was legally binding. Khadija was thrown out of her family home.

Thousands of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa are braving cold and wet nights in Moroccan forests in the hope of getting to Europe. The forests near Rahrah are only about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Spain and when the weather is clear, the European mainland can easily be seen from the top of a hill. But trips across the rough Mediterranean sea aboard inflatable boats are very risky. Some 4,000 migrants have drowned in the past five years trying to get into Spain.