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UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Maldives (CRC 14-03-2016)
The Committee considered the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Maldives (CRC/C/MDV/4-5) at its 2077th and 2079th meetings (see CRC/C/SR.2077 and 2079), held on 19 January 2016, and adopted the following concluding observations at its 2104th meeting (see CRC/C/SR.2104), held on 29 January 2016. 6.
C. General principles (arts. 2-3, 6 and 12)
- The Committee is concerned about:
(a) The discrepancy between article 20 of the Constitution, on equality of all citizens, and article 9 (b), which requires citizens to be Muslims and provides that non-Muslims are excluded from obtaining citizenship;
(b) Continued discrimination against girls in law and practice, including subjecting them to the will of their paternal guardians under the Family Law and the denial of inheritance;
(c) Reports that some political figures and religious leaders have made remarks that are considered to be demeaning to girls and promote gender-based discrimination;
(d) Continued discrimination against children born out of wedlock or following out-of-court marriages, including denial of the right to establish a legal relation with their biological father and to carry their biological father’s surnames, as well as denial of inheritance;
(e) That children who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex are stigmatized and marginalized in the society.
- The Committee urges the State party to make greater efforts to ensure that all children within its jurisdiction enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Convention without discrimination. The Committee also urges the State party to amend its legislation in order to eliminate any discrimination against girls, children born out of wedlock or following out-of-court marriages, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex children. The Committee further urges the State party to investigate and punish all cases of political figures and religious leaders making remarks that are demeaning to girls and that promote gender-based discrimination and violence. The Committee encourages the State party to use legislative, policy and educational measures, including sensitization and awareness-raising, to end stigmatization of girls, of children born out of wedlock or following out-of-court marriages, and of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex children.
Freedom of the child from all forms of violence
- While welcoming the adoption in 2012 of the Domestic Violence Act and the activities carried out to raise awareness about its provisions, the Committee is concerned that the Act is not interpreted as prohibiting corporal punishment of children. The Committee is particularly concerned that:
(a) Violence against children, abuse and neglect are widespread at home, at school and in the community;
(b) The level of reporting of cases of domestic violence is low, and law enforcement officers are often reluctant to take action and arrest perpetrators of domestic violence, believing such violence is justified in Islam;
(c) Shelters required under the 2012 Act are yet to be established and family and protection services centers and safe houses are underfunded and unavailable;
(d) While gang-related violence is escalating, especially in Malé, limited measures have been taken to protect children from gang-related violence and deaths and from involvement in gang-related activities;
(e) Children have been exposed to violence during protests that ensued after 7 February 2012;
(f) Children who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex face intimidation and overt threats.
- With reference to its general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, and Sustainable Development Goal 16, target 16.2, on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Ensure that corporal punishment is unambiguously prohibited under the Domestic Violence Act;
(b) Ensure the enforcement and implementation of the 2012 Domestic Violence Act, including by establishing the required shelters, adequately funding protection services centres and safe houses, providing adequate capacity-building for law enforcement officials on violence against girls within the family, and increasing reporting through awareness-raising efforts;
(c) Establish a national database on all cases of domestic violence against children, and undertake a comprehensive assessment of the extent, causes and nature of such violence;
(d) Institutionalize, as also recommended by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children during her visit in May 2013, a high-level platform bringing together all leading departments and institutions responsible for child protection concerns to meet periodically and formulate a comprehensive strategy, stipulating concrete budgeted interventions, for preventing and combating violence against children and child abuse, including with a focus on gang-related violence;
(e) Create a unified, coordinated and comprehensive child protection system;
(f) Take all measures necessary to prevent violence against children, as well as their exposure to violence during political protests;
(g) Prevent intimidation and threats directed towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children.