Discrepancies in rape statistics highlighted in NGOs report

A coalition of NGOs have condemned the performance of the judiciary and the State for its treatment of criminal cases, especially those concerning rape.

Maldivian Detainee Network, Trasparency Maldives, Rights for All, Maldives Aid, Madulu, Democracy House, Maldives NGO Federation and Strength of Society issued a statement “condemning the increase in serious crime and the failure of the state and responsible authorities to convict those responsible for these crimes.”

The statement referred to statistics on crimes such as murder, child abuse, assault with sharp weapons, and threats to journalists and others in the media, comparing these with the number of crimes investigated by police, the number sent to the Prosecutor General’s office and the number tried in the Criminal Court.

The NGOs said the blame for the “failure to deliver justice” should not be placed on the new democratic system or human rights safeguards, “but rather [on] the unsatisfactory implementation of these systems and safeguards.”

They “note with great concern that there is not a single case of ‘rape’ in the statistics maintained by either the PG or the Criminal Court.”

Technical misunderstanding

Information provided by the Maldives Police Service (MPS) to Transparency Maldives states that in 2009 ten cases of rape were reported to police, eight of which were investigated and five sent to the Prosecutor General (PG)’s office.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said in the instance of these rape cases, the three that had been labelled as ‘finished’ by police but were not sent to the PG were still “being checked” by police before being sent to the PG’s office.

“Sometimes we check and update information,” Shiyam said, “and there could be other documents being collected.”

Information gathered by the coalition of NGOs from the Criminal Court show zero cases under ‘rape’ were prosecuted in 2008 and 2009.

But Senior Judge at the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed said the Criminal Court had processed six cases of rape during the year.

Deputy Prosecutor General Hussein Shameem said the discrepancy was “a misunderstanding of technical terms.”

“If consent is lacking, regardless of whether or not there was intercourse, the case would fall under sexual misconduct,” he said.

Shameem said when the PG’s office received cases from the police, they decided whether or not to prosecute it depending on the evidence.

He added that the statistics from the police might “not give a clear idea” of the number of cases, as the PG’s office might prosecute for a different offence.

“For example, if police investigate a case for rape, and within the document we find evidence for battery and assault, we would prosecute both charges.”

In the document provided by the Criminal Court, 37 cases falling under the category of “sexual misconduct” are shown as being received by the court.

Of those, nine were dismissed due to lack of evidence while fourteen were tried.

Aishath Velazinee from the Judicial Service Commission said the remaining fourteen cases did not appear asdismissed or tried because they were still being processed by the court.

She said that “because rape is not a crime under the current Penal Code” cases of rape would fall under the category of “sexual misconduct”.

“The existing Penal Code is not adequate,” she noted, adding that under the new Penal Code (which is still tabled in the Parliament) rape, including spousal rape, would be considered a crime under its own category.

Rising concerns, rising crime

The coalition of NGOs said “lack of communication between the [State] authorities” was one of the “main reasons behind the recent failure to convict criminals.”

They called upon the State to “comprehensively study and identify the causes for the recent rise in crime, in particular, identify why convicted criminals are able to offend repeatedly.”

The Human Rights Commission Maldives (HRCM) has also recently condemned the rise in crime.

In their 2009 annual report released on 9 March 2010, they claimed the crime rates in the country had risen, and communities in the Maldives have reached a state of fear, mainly because of “failure to enforce sentences for convicts.”

The United States 2009 annual country reports on human rights, published on 11 March 2010, also expressed concern for increased violence against women in the Maldives and lack of convictions by the judiciary.

The report cited that “In 2008 the Ministry of Gender and Family released data showing an increase in the reported cases of violence against women, although NGOs believed that most cases remained unreported.”


6 thoughts on “Discrepancies in rape statistics highlighted in NGOs report”

  1. We commend the work of our NGOs for taking up and bringing such issues to light. Rape is such a problematic issue and it must be one of the most under reported crimes in the country. And it is a pity that even those cases slip through the cracks. That does not give any encouragement for victims of rape and abuse to try get justice. And lets not even talk about marital rape, which is not even acknowledged as a crime!

    Legal and judicial reform is so overdue, and so critical in this country, in order to protect the dignity of the few brave women who come forward with such cases.

  2. "A coalition of NGOs have condemned the performance of the judiciary in its treatment of criminal cases, especially those concerning rape.- by Laura Restrepo Ortega"

    just shows how biased Minivannews is in reporting news, reading the article it is clear that the coalition of NGO's have condemned the state, the prosecutor generals office and the implementing agencies including the Maldives police service that is apart from the judiciary, but it is written in away that it looks like the entire issue was with the judiciary and that the government was doing 'excellent' even though of the 10 cases reported for rape in 2009 only 5 cases were investigated and sent to the prosecutor generals office.

    and it is not unusual for minivannews afterall,

    the only news regarding the auditor general on minivannews, is the statement given by the auditor general even though other newspapers had the stories that covered the statements issued by the Anti Corruption Commission and the Parliaments Financial Committee.

    Minivannews is just a hardcore mdp propaganda machine.

  3. @mariyam. the statement by the NGOs were first covered in Minivan News in the footer of an article related to police apprehending suspected gang leaders. the few paragraphs on the press statement gave the impression that the statement was related to only gang violence and that the NGOs were calling for an end to gang violence only. in fact, by reading the dhivehi press statement that the article linked to, one can fairly understand that the statement was dealing with appalling crimes in the country, including child abuse and rape. now an article is here again giving the impression the press statement condemns the performance of the judiciary. the truth is the statement was calling upon all concerned authorities to be responsible and take action. whatever has happened to the quality of journalism in Minivan News?

  4. Original statement available at the following link:

    English version:

  5. Isnt it time that someone pushed and lobbied for that new penal code to be passed through the Majlis. Its been tabled for what seems like years now. Does anyone think about the reasons why it hasnt gotten to the stage where they havent even started debate on it.

    The police, the judicial system, nor the PG office can do much difference in how they work unless that bill is passed, as I understand it.

    We apparently dont have 'rapists' according to the current penal code. Just very badly behaved people.

  6. NGO's seem to be the only ones concerned about the crime crisis of this country. Where are the politicians?


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