Local child protection NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) has condemned “systematic flaws” in child protection systems following the death of a three-year-old boy in Vaavu Rakeedhoo.
ARC called on the state to enhance protection measures without delay after it emerged that authorities had been made aware of the regular abuse suffered by Mohamed Ibthihaal prior to his death.
“ARC remains deeply concerned about the systematic flaws in the child protection system in the country, and that cases of child abuse continue to be neglected and overlooked due to the deficiencies in the legal, judicial and social sectors tasked with the promotion and protection of the rights of the child in the Maldives,” read the statement.
Ibthihaal’s body was found in his home just before midday yesterday (January 28), with locals describing severe bruising to his left ear and genitals.
Police have revealed that the mother has been taken into custody after the Criminal Court produced a warrant. Haveeru has reported multiple island sources as saying that she has confessed to the killing.
Rakeedhoo Island Councillor Abdulla Rasheed told Minivan News that officials from the Ministry of Law and Gender were also on the island, while the victim’s siblings were in the care of their grandmother on another island.
History of abuse
ARC’s statement revealed that it had been unable to receive information from the ministry on the case, though the island council has said the ministry was aware of the mother’s record of abuse.
The gender ministry has yet to release any statements on the incident, though the Family Protection Authority has today denied having any prior knowledge of the case.
ARC has been joined by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon today in welcoming the launch of investigations into the Rakeedhoo abuse case.
Dunya stated that the death of the boy once again underscores the critical need to strengthen the national child protection mechanism and highlights the absolute vulnerability of children in society, read a foreign ministry press release.
“Every child is a precious gift from God who makes our lives joyous and wholesome, and it is our duty to protect and safeguard them” said Dunya.
ARC called upon the government to update legislation on child protection, noting that the state is obliged under international law to assure the protection of children.
“ARC strongly urges the Government to conduct an assessment of the State’s capacity to respond and react to cases of abuse with a specific view to enhance the child protection system by providing sufficient resources to Family and Children Service Centres (FCSC) in the Atolls, and to establish an effective monitoring mechanism to ensure the safety of children who are removed from their home environment.”
The NGO noted that the existing legislation on child rights was adopted in 1991, calling on the government to submit the draft Child Protection Bill to the People’s Majlis at the earliest opportunity.
As members of the public prepare to hold a rally in support of child protection tomorrow afternoon in Malé, ARC arranged an event titled ‘Break the Silence on Child Abuse’ at the Youth Centre in the capital.
The event – held between 5pm and 6pm – is seeking to raise awareness of the role individuals can play in preventing child abuse.
“In the wake of this horrific incident, ARC invites everyone to attend this event and vow to fulfill our individual responsibility to work together to ensure that never again will such an atrocity be committed against children in our country,” read a statement regarding the event.
The NGO has also called upon media to observe ethical practices by not publishing pictures or personal details of the victim.
Pictures taken of Ibthihaal just weeks ago by a local photographer has been used widely in the coverage of the case (see main picture), but some outlets have today published images of the boy’s dead body.
(PHOTO: IBRAHIM ASAD)
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8 thoughts on “ARC condemns “systematic flaws” after death of Rakeedhoo toddler”
Glad to see action being taken place in protecting all children , eventhough its too late.but better late than never.I hope Arc and the public will keep the pressure until concrete steps are taken.we must all contribute to see the correct steps taken.
I hope the monster who did this gets life or death penalty...but
Her side of the story must also be heard.I believe she also has a story to tell....
Good work by ARC and other NGOs to keep tabs on the government to bring these issues to the public front. Most of the time the government tries to hide whats really happening, and declines to share responsibility for such issues. Despite the amount of money spent on Gender Ministry and other departments, they have failed to protect our children. Maybe the NGOs are doing their job for them, we should give those funds to ARC and other active enjoys.
Glad to see a strong statement from ARC condemning this. Now, the Government and Gender Ministry needs to step up and reconnect with the public sentiment.
Thank you for using this word. At least some one is thinking correctly.
ARC may be doing good work. But More important is a mechanism that protects the marginalized, such as kids without a father. If gov does not have one ARC should propose a provisional mechanism untill such time our Government grows up and develop such a capacity
... Even if it's an NGO, Arc is not without its responsibilities. So not kick the can down the road
Too late to try get credit yet there is nothing concrete your organization has done for the children of Maldives. You didnt even lend a hand to the youth who organized the event but made your own indoors to get get credit and maybe more funding.
Words dont help, actions do, and if you have done anything let us know. Stop blaming the government for everything. If you and other NGOs were practical, that boy would be alive and many others would be safer. Tell us if any of the main ARC leaders have gone out to remote islands to find out the truth about children and women yet you receive so much funding? Stop this game as not everyone can be fooled. We know who you are and everything you do. Enough is enough.
This issue isn't about one person or a single organization. Get your facts right. Atleast some one is has been raising awareness about the issue for the past few years. They are the only ones around who have consistently raised this issue with different governments. The job of the NGOs is to make government accountable, not to do their job for them. Not only ARC but all other NGOs have tried hard to stop this, too bad the government doesn't think this is a priority - you just need to look at the State budget. Maybe it's people like you with 7th century mentality that thinks pedophilia is ok that needs to be put behind bars. Then maybe we will not have this problem.
Such a sad story, and it's happening all over the world.
Where is the father? What is his role in all this? And why is no one asking this question?
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