The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has met with opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahlouf after he presented an amendment to the law on protection of the rights of children redefining all persons above the age of 16 to adults.
Currently the legal age of children is all persons above the age of 18.
”In yesterday’s meeting the commission discussed the challenges that we may face in protecting and upholding the rights of children,” the HRCM said in a statement. ”The commission highlighted the importance of providing many of the rights mentioned in the law on protection of the rights of children to all persons below the age of 18.”
HRCM also requested that all persons below the ago of 18 should have all the rights mentioned in the UNICEF’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Mahlouf presented an amendment to parliament to designate only persons under the age of 16 years as juveniles last week, lowering the age limit by two years.
”The purpose of changing the age is due to the significant increase in involvement of minors in crimes sinister in nature, and they cannot be sentenced to the full extent as they are considered minors,” said Mahlouf. ”Although they are considered as minors, they are sometimes very dangerous.”
Mahlouf said he has noted that children of the age 16-18 are more likely to be engaged in criminal activities because many finished their ordinary level education at the age of 16, and most of them did not prefer further studies which was leading them to the wrong path.
Speaking at a DRP rally Mahlouf said according to information he gathered to draft the bill, more than 600 young people have committed or have assisted committing assaults.