Man arrested for keeping disabled son in chains

A 50-year-old man has been arrested for keeping his disabled son bound in chains at Baa Atoll Eydhafushi.

Haveeru reported that the case of the 23-year-old was brought to the attention of the relevant authorities by the Baa Atoll hospital after he was treated for a head injury, with police finding him bound in chains upon arriving at his house.

Meanwhile, the gender ministry and police have started investigating a case in Kaafu Atoll Guraidhoo involving the alleged abuse of 12 children.

According to information obtained by Haveeru, a gender ministry team has been deployed to the island to investigate the case, which was first brought to the attention of Guraidhoo School by a concerned parent.

“This involves children between grade 1 and 7. Some of the children have admitted to being abused. We have found out that these kids are being abused by the same group of people,” an unnamed source told the paper.

Last week, local child protection NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) said that the recent increase in reports of child abuse cases following the death of Rakeedhoo toddler Mohamed Ibthihaal was only the “tip of the iceberg”.

The high profile case of Ibthihaal resulted in a spike in reports of child abuse to the police and gender ministry as the public and media campaigned to raise awareness on the issue.

Source: Haveeru


Government appoints new deputy gender minister

Shidatha Shareef has been appointed Deputy Minister of Gender, Family and Human Rights, the President’s Office has today announced.

Shareef’s appointment comes the same month that former Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor was made Gender Minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle.

According to the government, the reshuffle was made to support proposed legal reforms concerning the treatment of victims of sexual abuse following the recent high-profile case of a 15 year-old girl charged with fornication.


Police locate under-age girl from orphanage who escaped hospital

Police have located a 15 year-old girl from the Villingili orphanage ‘Kudakudhinge Hiya’, who escaped while she was admitted to Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).

Police identified the girl as Shaba Ali Rasheed, 15, of Madharusaadhoshuge in Hulhudhoo, Addu City.

According to police, the girl was located near ADK hospital this afternoon around 3:23 pm after she escaped on Saturday night.

Police issued a statement this morning informing the public that they had commenced a search to find the 15 year-old, who fled after she was admitted to IGHM.

IGMH Spokesperson Zeenath Ali Habeeb told Minivan News the girl was admitted to the hospital a week ago and she was under the charge of the Gender Ministry.

She declined to provide further information regarding why the girl was admitted tohospital.

‘’When she was brought here she was under the charge of Gender Ministry and without the consent of the ministry the hospital cannot provide information about her,’’ Zeenath said.

Spokesperson for the Gender Ministry Aishath Rameela did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.

A growing number of under-age girls in the Villingili orphanage have recently escaped the institution, either to be returned or sent to other state care facilities.

On March 13, the Gender Ministry admitted to 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.

On March 5, police returned seven under-aged females who had escaped the  orphanage.

In January 2013, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) called for the immediate release of two underage females living in the Villingili orphanage, who had been arrested and sent to Maafushi prison. Local media alleged the girls had been discovered “fraternising with boys”.


Committee to visit Maafushi Prison and Villingili orphanage to investigate arrest of minors

Parliament’s National Security Committee will visit Maafushi prison and the Villingili to complete their investigation into the arrest of two minors from the Villingili orphanage.

Speaking at a press conference held last night at the committee meeting room, chair of the committee, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, said the committee’s decision followed questioning of the Ministry of Gender Family and Human Rights, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) and the Villingili Orphanage.

Heads of the ministries and institutions were summoned last night for questioning over the arrest of two underage females from the orphanage. The meeting started as an open meeting but was later turned into a closed meeting.

Moosa told the media the committee had learned that all concerning authorities had neglected their duties and responsibilities to protect the rights of children.

According to Moosa, DPRS officials told the committee members the two minors were being imprisoned alongside criminals undergoing their sentences.

The case was initially submitted to the National Security Committee by MDP MP for Madaveli, Mohamed Nazim.

Nazim contended that there was public concern regarding the arrest of the two minors and asked the committee to publish the details of its investigation on completion.

On January 17, HRCM called for the immediate release of the two underage females living in the Villingili orphanage, who were arrested and sent to Maafushi prison.

Local media alleged the two girls, aged 15 and 16, were arrested on December 28, 2012, after escaping the orphanage in the middle of the night to fraternise with boys.

HRCM asked the Ministry of Gender, Family and Human Rights to return the girls to the Villingili orphanage immediately, noting that their incarceration in Maafushi prison violated chapter 2, article 35[a] of the constitution.

Meanwhile, sources familiar with Maafushi prison confirmed to Minivan News that the two underage females had been moved to a separate area of the prison, but were being kept with two other underage female inmates completing their sentences.

According to the sources, at least one man was arrested in connection with the same case.