“Alarming” level of child abuse, neglect prompt Gender Ministry to push for guardianship amendment

Children’s neglect and abuse have increased to an “alarming level”, compelling the the Maldives’ Ministry of Gender, Family and Human Rights to submit an amendment that would transfer parental guardianship of children in cases of negligence.

The Ministry submitted the amendment to the president’s office Sunday (April 7), which would allow for strict legal action to be taken against neglectful parents, and guardianship to be transferred within the principles of Islamic Shari’a, according to local media.

Acting Gender Minister, Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor, said 59 cases of child sexual abuse were reported to the Gender Ministry in March and 37 of the abused children were transferred into state care.

She urged politicians and journalists to give more attention to the problem since “cases of neglect and abuse of children have increased to an alarming level”.

The number of babies abandoned after birth is also increasing, according to Minister of State for Gender and Family Dr Aminath Rameela. She noted “with dismay” that this “is being done by people with good jobs”.

Shakoor emphasised that “strict legal action” will be taken against parents who neglect their children.

“This is a situation the whole [Maldivian] society needs to take care of. Things need to be done to rehabilitate these children back into society,” said Shakoor.

“Non-profit organisations and private individuals should assume the responsibility of taking care of children who are abandoned by their parents until the children can be taken under the care of the state,” Shakoor added.

She said that close to 80 children were currently in the Villingili island orphanage ‘Kudakudhunge Hiya’ and that parents visit with gifts, but their children are “sad” the visits are brief.

The Ministry of Gender, Family and Human Rights, as well as the President’s Office were not responding to calls at time of press.

Problems with state care

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) Vice President Ahmed Tholal previously stressed to Minivan News that the number of incidents occurring at state institutions caring for children were greatly concerning.

“Incidents are occurring repeatedly. Children under the care of the state need a safe environment; it’s a concerning issue.

“The fact is there is no special shelter or place for girls in trouble with the law. HRCM has raised the issue several times – both the need for education as well as psycho-social support and counselling,” Tholal added.

He said the Maldivian government has a responsibility to protect children from being “systemically” victimised, and once the state has been notified, children should not be put back in a situation of neglect or abuse.

“Vulnerable children are often from difficult families or are abandoned and are victimised over and over again. Currently [government] support is haphazard, and we are not properly equipped. A safety net needs to be established,” stated Tholal.

In March 2013, the Maldives’ Gender Ministry admitted transferring two children from the Villlingili island orphanage ‘Kudakudhunge Hiya’ to the Centre for People with Mental Disability on the island of Guraidhoo, without determining if they were in fact special needs children.

Earlier in March, police returned seven underage girls who escaped from the ‘Kudakudhinge Hiya’ orphanage on Villingili, otherwise known as Villi-Male’. Local newspaper ‘Haveeru’ reported another two girls who escaped from the orphanage were found on a ‘bokkura’ – a small local vessel – in the lagoon near Villingili with two boys.

In January 2013, an incident occurred where two underage females living in the Villingili orphanage were arrested and sent to Maafushi prison.

The parliamentary committee investigating their arrest learned that all concerning authorities had neglected their duties and responsibilities to protect the rights of children.

In 2011, police arrested a female staff member working at the Villingili children’s home, after she allegedly physically abused a boy living in the centre.

In October 2010, the Maldives Police Service and the Health Ministry commenced a joint investigation into “serious issues” concerning the mistreatment of children at Kudakudhinge Hiya, the only orphanage in the Maldives

Children’s rights

Tholal explained that the only other institutions for children are for boys, the Maafushi island Education and Training Centre for Children (ETCC) and Feydhoo Finolhu, a Correctional Training Centre for Children run by the Juvenile Justice Unit (JJU) of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Maldives Police Service’s Child Protection Unit.

Acute staffing and budget shortfalls combined with the lack of children’s rights education and the exclusion of children’s feedback have “deprived [residents] of their liberty”. Staff caring for the children are often excluded from important decisions impacting children’s quality of life at the facilities, a recent HRCM report stated.

The report, ‘Child Participation in the Maldives: An assessment of knowledge’, highlights numerous participation and protection policy deficiencies putting Maldivian children at serious risk of harm.


13 thoughts on ““Alarming” level of child abuse, neglect prompt Gender Ministry to push for guardianship amendment”

  1. How can this be? We are the Gods blessed. We never let anyone even whisper Christianity. We dont allow pork or dogs into the country. We are 100% pure muslims. All the rest, like Indians, Srilankans are stupid thinking a stone or a cow would hear their cries for help. They are beneath us. We are the best and brightest in the region.

    God favours us. Guides us. Never lets us make mistakes. We will go to 70 virgins after we die.

    How can we ever be accused of neglecting a child? May be children's well being is not a priority with God then? Eh?

  2. Islam and Maldivian society encourage early marriage (and by that I mean child marriage) polygamy and having as many chilldren as possible. Contraception is frowned upon and abortion is seen as murder. With Maldivians breeding like rabbits, ignorant of any sex education and family planning, we have the perfect Islamic population pyramid.

    Add to that the low-income families, working mothers (unIslamic whores ofcourse) and single mothers unable to survive on the paltry Shariah-endorsed child custody fees and we have a system designed for neglect.

    It's funny that the Attorney General is trying to protect child abuse when it took international pressure for her to appeal one flogging case. The laws are still in the books intact, Madam AG.

  3. Reality that there are people who are not observing the real Islam and they re the victims of a nasheed disease

  4. @Mody on Mon, 8th Apr 2013 10:24 PM

    Can't you get it through your thick head. Every human being has a right to live and to be free.

    Free to choose what ever he wants to believe, as long as he does not encroach into others space. Nobody has the right to force feed others to believe his own religion.

  5. These are the ill effects of westernization and overdose of materialism.People have lost the beautiful ethics and virtues we followed for generations and were praised world over for.Today with the freedom we have to(infact forced to) give them, children no longer respect their parents , parents are 2 busy trying to make ends meet to care for their children and the time they get together at home they watch Sex and the City and the women at home watch desperate housewives and kasauti and young kids are aadicted to violent games and in need of constant 'highs'.People need to get back thieir spirituality , the whole country is surrounded by too much negative energy cox we are selling our souls to the devil.

  6. I think homosexual summed up the situation in the Maldives really well. As long as the neanderthals stick to their ancient ways of thinking, these problems will never go away. They are so dumb that even when the root cause of the problem is right in front of them, they aren't able to recognize it. This is what islam does to society.

  7. Andre,

    why the hell you are so jealous about Islam ? I suggest you to get out of your nut shell and think deeply.

    You think you know everything but you are not. You are damn fool who know nothing about Islam and your own religion too.

    You are just a devil who tried to create a hate among people. You think you created this world ?

    Get loss from this country and live among the cow worshipers ?

    You pray on a things that you made by your hand and that is more stupid than than any thing.

    How you a had made idol be superior to yourself. Your narrow mind even can not think about that.

  8. Maldivians need 90 degree shift in everything. In a small Society which is equal to Saudi prince family, why so many problems? Can’t these people live like one family when probably they are all related one way or the other? There may be even families that bonded with blood relation as close as brothers and sisters who get married and extend their families.

    It seems Maldivian are deprived from Natural habitat where love affection, caring like emotion created in human brain through observing and caring nature, animals. Dogs like beautiful loving animals are hated in Maldives. In other words Maldives is not in the realm of human civilization. Maldivian are like some alien, a different species. There is special need to tame them and make them normal human being.

  9. @Kuribee on Tue, 9th Apr 2013 10:06 AM

    Haha. I am not jealous. I am ashamed at what you are doing to the children. Molesting in the name of god. At what you and your kindred Arabian donkeys do to women. At how you treat Bangladeshi, Srilankan, Indians. At how hypocritical you are. At how you rip off girls in the family, and giving boys the fathers inheritance. At how you take on bribes, brides-divorces. At you throwing acid onto girls faces, just because they want some education. At how you terrorise locals by claiming Maldives will face a Tsunami, if we even so much has 1 disbeleiver. At how you intimidate young kids in school with 'hell is so hot' stories. At how you put the babies at risk, claiming you don't believe in vaccine... List goes on.

  10. @Mody - I pity your tiny brain and inability to think rationaly. How and why Nasheed should bear the responsibility of this is behind me. State Institutions were opened in President Maumoons regime. ETCC, Kuda kudhinge Hiyaa, JJ Unit, Guraidhoo Marukazu.. does that mean Pres Maumoon is to blame for all neglected and vulnerable children of the society? Or is Dr. Waheed responsible?? Its we as parents who are responsible for this. Its we as a community who are continuing about our own lives while these people, these children, are suffering because their OWN Family, their own blood is rejecting them.

  11. Andre, all what you have said are daily affairs in your country and it was not new things .

    But for Maldives, the recent past has changed and those things had become a major issues.

    Our social fabric is now broken and it is not because of Islam. We had the best and most peaceful time when our people were real followers of Islam.

    Our social fabric is damaged due to consistent propagandas spread by people like you and Nasheed and his associates.

    Andre , you can worship to your owns hand made idio and put the cow dung on your face. Let us be ourselves and mind your own business.

  12. Haha, I love how muslims talk about a 'true' islam. Back in the day, majority of women never wore the tent and many of them went to pray at graves. There were pictures of the flying donkey Mohamed rode to heaven, hung on people's walls. Is this the true islam you're talking about?

    Just because you didn't hear about neglect, inbreeding, pedophilia etc through news outlets during the maumoon era doesn't mean they didn't happen. You hear them now because of the freedom of expression, something born out of secularism, and rationality. Not a neo-fascist ideology like islam.


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