Protest march held in Male’ over sex crime fears

A protest march jointly organised by the Health Ministry and local NGOs took place down the main street of Male’ yesterday amidst heightened concerns regarding the prevalence of sexual violence against women, minors and persons with special needs.

Police revealed last week that 27 sexual violence cases were reported in the past three weeks, including 16 cases of child sexual abuse.

Sun Online reports that participants held up placards calling on the authorities to bring sex crimes perpetrators to justice as they marched down Majeedee Magu towards the capital’s artificial beach area. The placards carried slogans such as “stop hiding secrets of criminals” and “zero tolerance for child abuse”.

Addressing participants at the artificial beach, Health Minister Dr Aminath Jameel urged the public not to refrain from reporting incidents of sexual violence against women and children.

Members of NGOs Care Society, Society of Hope for Women, Society of Women against Drugs (SWAD), JCI and the Red Crescent were joined at the march by MPs Imthiyaz Fahmy of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Ahmed Nihan and Dr Afrashim Ali of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) as well as film stars and senior officials of the former government.

Gender Department officials meanwhile explained that the turnout was lower than expected as the event was originally planned for Friday, but had to be cancelled at the last moment due to bad weather.