Justice “still out of reach” for Maldivian women, girls: Avaaz.org

Social activism website Avaaz has said it remained concerned at the “appalling state” of women’s rights in the Maldives, despite welcoming a decision by the High Court this week to overturn a controversial flogging sentence handed to a 15 year-old girl charged with ‘fornication’.

Avaaz, which earlier this year launched an online petition signed by over two million people calling for the minor’s sentence to be quashed, has expressed continued concern that justice remains “out of reach” for Maldivian women.

The flogging sentence – handed to the minor by the Juvenile Court in February after she had been charged with ‘fornication’ – was overturned by the High Court on Wednesday (August 21) after the girl was found to have previously denied confessing to having had consensual sex with an unknown partner.

Sources from Feydhoo, in Shaviyani Atoll, where the girl is from, previously told Minivan News that islanders had raised concerns regarding the suspected abuse of the minor as far back as 2009.

Local people were said to have suspected that the girl had been the victim of sexual abuse, not just by her stepfather – who has subsequently been charged with several sex offences – but also by a number of other unidentified men from the island.

The High Court concluded that the minor, found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was also unable to correctly define pre-marital sex according to the law.

“The High Court’s ruling is a step forward, but the Gender Ministry should now ensure that the girl receives a proper education, is not sent back to the custody of relatives who failed to protect her, and ensure that she doesn’t end up ghettoised because of stigma,” stated Avaaz.

“Glimmer of hope”

After visiting the country earlier this year to lobby the Maldives government to overturn the minor’s case, Avaaz said it continued to advocate for systemic legal reforms to overcome “serious hurdles women and girls face in trying to get justice for gender-based crimes”.

“Today people in the Maldives and across the globe celebrate that this young girl is free and won’t be flogged,” said Avaaz Campaign Director Jeremy Waiser. “It is a glimmer of hope which must not be an isolated case – now it’s time to listen to the majority of Maldivians and kick start major reforms to protect women and girls and put an end to flogging for consensual sex outside of marriage, once and for all.”

Avaaz pointed to the recently published results of a survey conducted on its behalf by Asia Research Partners that concluded that nearly two-thirds of Maldives nationals surveyed would support a moratorium on flogging.

According to Avaaz, the first survey of its kind to be conducted in the Maldives found an “overwhelming” 92 percent of those surveyed believe that laws and systems to protect women from sexual assault should be reformed.

With the upcoming presidential election scheduled for September 7, Waiser argued that ensuring rights for both women and girls should be treated as an issue of huge importance by all candidates standing next month.

“The ruling and the recent opinion survey should serve as a wake-up call to all candidates and parties that they cannot afford to neglect one half of the Maldivian population – women and girls want to live without fear of persecution and with dignity,” he said.

“The vindictiveness with which the Prosecutor General’s office pursued the case against this Maldivian child highlights the dangers that women and children face in the Maldives,” the statement concluded.

“Politicised” issue

Some government figures have been critical of international campaigns targeting the reputation of the country’s lucrative tourism industry in order to push for legal reforms.

Discussing the campaign by Avaaz in the Maldives, Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukhoor criticised unnamed groups for  having “politicised” the issue, arguing such campaigns they had complicated the work of Maldivian authorities.

In March this year, former Deputy Tourism Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal directly questioned the motives behind the Avaaz campaign calling them “dubious”, despite accepting a need for “capacity building” in parliament and other institutions.

“People should not be doing anything to damage the [tourism] industry. In Switzerland, you would not see a campaign designed to damage Swiss chocolate. Likewise you would not see a German campaign to damage their automobile industry,” he said.

However, organisations like the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) have this week stressed the need for strengthening measures to protect victims of sexual abuse to prevent other similar cases from occurring.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International – which has previously warned that the 15 year-old’s case was the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the country’s treatment of victims of sexual offences – has released a statement this week calling for a moratorium on flogging.

“Annulling this sentence was of course the right thing to do. We are relieved that the girl will be spared this inhumane ‘punishment’ based on an outrageous conviction,” said Amnesty’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director Polly Truscott.


31 thoughts on “Justice “still out of reach” for Maldivian women, girls: Avaaz.org”

  1. 'The vindictiveness with which the Prosecutor General’s office pursued the case against this Maldivian child..."

    Such monsters must be made to taste some wrath.

    She was ... "suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder...' PTSd needs to be treated until one dies, such is the tragedy of this injustice! lOok what these cruel savages have done to our precious children!

    Time to REALLY FIGHT for freedom from fear!

  2. Highly doubt avaaz would know what most Maldivians want. Doubt the people that took part in the online survey are an accurate representation. If majority wanted laws changed, then they would be changed. If there is no popular support to change laws then there's nothing authorities can do.

  3. 34 is right. The only reason Dhivehistanis haven't started stoning adulterers and chopping off hands is because they are afraid of losing tourists due to possible international pressure. In the end, they don't worship allah either, but the dollar bill.

  4. human being,

    For minivan it is 3rd day 3rd version.

    For you it is everyday and every version ad nauseum the same complaint about the fact that facts are being pointed out.

    You got shit on your arse, don't blame the 'kaffirs' for pointing it out, just clean yourself up.

  5. @peasant.
    who is blaming the kaafir here? and what has "Islam" done wrong here? Let's put things to right context.

    Somebody raped a girl. That girl was prosecuted in a secular court with a secular constitution. Even then everybody including the govt, the courts, the police, basically everybody worked hard to get her out of the case. Now that she is out of the drama then why trying to replay the whole ordeal in media? That's my point. This is all about dirty politics of MDP trying to make appropriate noise to western media to get their sympathy and support. This sympathy and support they are getting at the expense of the country's tourism.

    Got this much?

  6. 3 days published ? I know Maldivian press which broadcasts and writes already for 18 months 'it was no coup'. Azima ?? As AG She was in favour of flogging. Through her firm she provided the defense lawyer who did a terrible bad job. Now she's there again, still and again defending the flogging, but hidden, and not the victim. I don't know if Azima has kids. If so, wondering if she would let happen flogging to her daughter. Or her mother. Funny f***os, those flogging extremists. When you ask them : would you allow flogging to your kid, the answer is never 'yes'. If you ask them "would yoy marry your 13yo daughter to a guy of say 37", the answer is always "no". But applying to others, no problem. Sick, sick people who turn and twist to justify such retarded practices.

  7. There is no political will to pass new legislature, reforming the laws on the part of parliament. The parliament dead set cripppling the different factions atnany cost.

  8. Secular court? Secular constitution?

    Now what have you been smoking?

  9. Secular court which bases its verdicts on barbaric religious law and secular constitution based on an Arab religion. LOL. Proposed Penal Code is secular too and that's why it has Mohammaden punishments included in it. It's hilarious when mullahs don't even know what secular means.

  10. @homo
    If you mean by barbaric law,the islamic sharia, then what are we supposed to do? We all muslims have to abandon our 'barbarity' and embrace your homo lifestyle? we the 99% have to do as you please? How about some respect for the belief of the majority? there were lots of noises about democracy no?

  11. LOL! To mullah minions, secular courts are based on backward barbaric Shariah and democracy means tyranny of the majority. My, my. I'm learning a lot today. New definitions.

  12. @human being

    The Maldives is not a secular state. the constitution decrees every Maldivian to be muslim to be a citizen.

    You must be joking when you said "the govt, the courts, the police, basically everybody worked hard to get her out of the case". They did not. It was only after Avaaz took on this case that this ruling was overturned. Dr Waheed is trying his best to take the credit for this.

    The fact is that the government did nothing to prevent the matter going to court. Who is trying to politicise this? You are.

  13. I am so glad that Avaaz and Amnesty International took up the cause of the young victim and campaigned on her behalf. They have clearly and properly shamed institutions and organizations in the Maldives which failed to empathize with the young victim. Most of our politicians too failed to defend her rights. Equally, I am amazed that the Attorney General criticized those who championed the girl's cause. Does she really not know that human rights promotion requires political mobilization? Does she think it is proper to legalize human rights violations?

    It is obvious that the over-turning of this case does not set a precedent against the prosecution of the next rape victim-- the court said nothing that improves the public's understanding of how sharia may be applied in ways consistent with human rights norms. It advances neither jurisprudence nor human rights. It only shows the power of naming and shaming!

    There is a lot more work to be done! The next step should be to vote in the candidate most likely to respect the fundamental rights of the people, and fix the judiciary as a priority!

  14. @"human being": Your so-called 'shari'a law' allows the rape of children. We will not respect your "belief" as your "belief" put our children in harm's way.

    So if your al-lat and al-uzza want to challenge me to a fight because I want to protect Maldivian children from your perversions, tell them to come down here.

  15. I agree with human being. Just let us Dhivehistanis be. We need to stone adulterers and execute apostates and homosexuals. Is it really too much to ask for? We want our freedom to suppress anybody who doesn't agree with us!

  16. So long Sharia remain a divine masterpiece, Allah is owner of the universe and the fear of Allah’s hell freezes the human cognition as driving force of the society ,unless these people change from two dimensional array to three dimensional array ,it is better to be silent .. Every they see is flat and a flat brain can’t see everything. For a two dimensional brain the conception of the world is very simple; the world was created about 10000 years ago by an entity which has all characteristics of evil human being , who has all human emotion like, anger, happiness, revengefulness. He created everything for human being, the mosquitoes, flies, bacteria, wild animals, all the varieties of vegetation including opium poppy marijuana and toxic plants .
    You are talking about people who don’t have ability to conceive the reality that we are living totally in a different world then this rudimental perception of the people who lived totally in a different world some 2000 years before. They didn’t have microscope to see what a naked eye can’t see. They didn’t have a slightest idea about quantum theory and Einstein’s general relativity. They didn’t know about cell division and mutation; they didn’t have technology of carbon dating to analyze fossil record to find the ages of different species lived on the earth. They didn’t have telescope to see the birth of stars, forming galaxies to know exactly how our universe came to existence.
    No point to explain anything to these mentally retards that sharia is not something rained down from the sky; they have no iota of doubt about their belief, and living in close society confined to small tiny Islands in the infinite ocean they have not developed a three dimensional brain.

  17. @all the kuffar out there.
    engaing kuffar in dialogue very tedious. They go around in circles. some points.

    If they are the majority, they will want minority to respect the majority. If they are minority, the majority, the tyranny of majority principle kicks in"

    Everyone knows Maldives never stoned an adulterer or implemented any form of sharia punishment except some political punishments given in Amin didi's regime. He along with all the other presidents up to date has been secular. The courts, the parliament, basically every position of power is secular. so why all this islamophobia?

    the kuffar cannot are wayward and cannot stick to any topic of discussion. Their hatred of islam is so great that they cannot stand rational discourse.

  18. First newspeak, now historical revisionism and more confusion of the words "secular" and "democracy". All laced with a good dose of ad hominems. If only MinivanNews allowed death threats, it'll be a perfect Islamofascist response. Loving this. Mullahs and their minions are really frustrated by this ruling. LOL.

  19. doc shaheed no longer a minister in our government so now he fully empathises with victims of the justice system. hehe

  20. @"human being", I know you enjoy abusing children with the blessing of your kaahinun. However, don't try to canvas your vices on us. The majority of us Maldivians are against child abuse sponsored by your so-called religion.

    Whine about hatred if you want, but when you lust after our children, hatred is the first thing you can expect.

    Followed by war.

  21. @human being,
    Correct, these homos and atheists want one thing that is to fulfill their own sexual desires on the expense of others. If this country hadn't had the Muslim part in the constitution (which i do not know what to think of now as nothing Islamic is in this country plus is giving a bad name to every good person), it’s confusing to say where it would be???

    This bunch, If they do not have this freedom to harass women by making them prostitutes, have the consented sex whereby rape them by the use of intoxicants, make them naked by telling them they have beautiful bodies, put them into films and raping them there by calling it as an act of art, then they will definitely go for the Islam part, wouldn't they?? There's no question about it!

    Now basing on these great advanced Ape western minds, and basing the thoughts on seyku Nasheed who says we need other alternatives to address all issues including women, then, this is the ultimate decision reached(that is by critically researching western culture and how they have reached solutions)

    Women raping issues- create brothels where you can harass women legally with the support of the govt who do not have any other option but prostitution.

    Consented sex where both partners benefit- which in turn makes sex boring and women cheap. It also gives men the chance to harass other women while they keep their wives at bay. At home they cannot think about anything else but the affair which makes them neglect their own children and life.

    Look at their people’s negativity about marriage. They think marriage is a burden, is afraid of the responsibility- bunch of cowards??!!

    However we also should think about the effect an allegation of rape has on a men. An allegation can destroy a men’s life and this is increasing.

    False allegations of rape are now common

    The Alarming Rise Of False Allegations Of Abuse
    People are really clever now, including women.

    Then the ultimate alternative- Take depression pills and drugs which will slowly eat your brains out.

    400% Rise in Anti-Depressant Pill Use: Americans Are Disempowered -- Can the OWS Uprising Shake Us Out of Our Depression?


    In spite of this, there are very good things advocated by the west like sports and recreation but the really famous ones cheat with the doping bit so I am actually confused about which method to choose.

    Lance Armstrong Says He Cheated, Lied, Bullied During Career

    Got any other ideas????kekeke

  22. Shimy,

    I have no idea what your rambling verbal diarrhoea exactly means.

    But I'd wager that getting laid might solve some of your issues.

  23. @peasant,

    eheheee, that will suite you better,after all you, wives, homos are the ones rambling about not having the freedom to get laid with each and every women.

    Alas, you can ask homosexual for advise, i got the idea from him!!

  24. Now, look at this Ahmed Shaheeds rambling, i presume he's "the" Dr Shaheed- special repeteur to Iran from UN.

    He asks whether it's "proper to legalize human rights violations"

    Well,where are all the human rights violations you are referring to when Israel is concerned??eh! I find they have violated hundreds of resolutions of UN??

    Human rights doesn't come in when you talk about all the sanctions that you have put forward to Iran? Does it?

    Iran sanctions now causing food insecurity, mass suffering

    Barbaric US-led sanctions killing Iranian children: Dr. Alireza Marandi


    You really think everyone is as crazy, dumb as this minivan commentary bunch!??

    THIS IS ADDRESSED TO 'THE dr SHAHEED OF MDP, if it is him!!!

  25. Shimy, since you mentioned me don't worry, I have a girlfriend with whom I have a great sex life unlike you preaching here and then having a jerk session to western women later on lol.

    Also, I'm very disturbed by something you said.

    'Consented sex where both partners benefit- which in turn makes sex boring and women cheap.'

    So are you saying that women should be raped? It does look like it, and really, it doesn't surprise me considering how sexually frustrated you come off as. But next time you do rape someone, I really hope you get caught.

  26. Wives and concubines,

    Look, you, yourself is admitting that this country is a secular country by presenting your relationship status.
    So what's all the halluballu about??

    This is how you view life-
    Somebody gets raped- fault of Islam
    People commit crime-fault of Islam
    people commit adultery- fault of Islam
    people do abortion-fault of Islam
    Even when all of these are prohibited, your minds try to convince yourselves that it is the fault of Islam because you hate it so much. Maybe you are not happy about something that you have done??? you always find others to blame??

    Now, you will definitely take the grossest meanings out of what i have said and that's no surprise to me because if it's not your way, it's the high way,isn't it?? You will allege people of rape, gross acts and the lot. Look at the status "human being" is in??
    ehehe!Remember, only god knows a persons intention. And you are not god!

    Now what i meant was infidelity and extra marital affairs!

    That if men, have an option of sex out of marriage, then he'll definitely choose that. Maybe you are not sure about your relationship that's why you have a girlfriend!Maybe????

    extra marital affairs cause a lot of damage to family and children and mostly men commit infidelity.

    It's not just about the couple; infidelity can cause lasting damage to children

    BTW, aren't you the ones, calling out to banish corporal punishment??? So why are you damned on catching a rapist???He'll just go to prison, eat, read comics, do community service or something. I sure do not wish that on a wicked rapist but the ultimate punishment!???

  27. There is no fault of Islam; it must be the venom of Islam that corrupts the minds of people like you. You are corrupted to a level that you guys think all your dumbness and ignorance is fault of others, that America or West is against Islam and hate you because they think you are so much advanced….?,. When something happens in Middle East, people like you relate everything to Islam, and you guys even not considered as Muslims by these Arabs, go crazy and behave like animals.
    You are an expert by cutting and pasting the events in the Middles East relating those events as if the West is against Muslims , and you corrupt innocent people’s mind who live in places like your tiny fishing villages who has no business what is happening in the Middles East.
    You must get of your corrupted mind and start rethinking when you relate America and West with Islam. For your information America wants you guys to remain in the Dark Age, stick with your old bullshit garbage so you will never reach to their level. If you do a bit research with clear mind you will know that American policy is to keep Islam alive. Without Islam they will not be able to control the oil in the Middles East. If Islam is not driving force in this region America would have lost its grip on them long ago.

    Do you think America want Middle East to be a secular democratic place like Japan, I think Islamic intoxicant is worse than marijuana and you are hallucinating.

  28. my post is for shimy who thinks the West is up to their nose to destroy Islam because Muslims are so advanced????

  29. Manike

    Oooh, so there are people who read my comments.Good.

    You really think you know what the great advanced ape brains really want? They want power, nothing else! Even if it requires annihilating a whole loads of people like the native Americans who were the real inhabitants of the land, they won't hasitate! They have done it in the past, and they will do it now. Fact.

  30. And no need to get all jerky and wide eyed about. the cut and paste bit. I thought.you said we were the pot heads:-)


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