On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day 2017, ARC reiterates the central role of right to life, survival and development in realizing the rights of the child in the Maldives.
Noting that 10 out of 63 murders in the Maldives since 2000 are of children, ARC wishes to stress that through Universal Declaration of Human Rights, world leaders proclaimed that by virtue of their birth, human beings are bestowed with certain inalienable rights, including right to life, survival and development. It is further augmented by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which Maldives is a party to.
Since its adoption on 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has served as a beacon for humanity and a common standard for the promotion and protection of basic rights and fundamental freedoms in every country. Today, as the world begins a year long 70th Anniversary of UDHR, this is also a time for a moment of pause and self-reflection, not only of the incredible journey of millions of people who have fought for basic human rights, but also of the continued struggle of millions more, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized in our societies, especially children.
The Maldives is one of the earliest state parties to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) and since then, children’s rights have been a key area of focus for successive governments – both in improving the situation of Maldivian children, and in promoting child rights abroad. The Maldives has also ratified its first two optional protocols.
Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) believes that today, International Human Rights Day, provides an opportune moment to reinvigorate efforts to enhance government policy and existing mechanisms, to strengthen the child protection system in the country. ARC therefore reiterates its call for the ratification of the Third Optional Protocol to CRC by the Maldives.
For rights to have meaning, all victims must have access to a justice system that will protect their rights and address violations. Despite noteworthy efforts by the Maldives internationally, domestic justice for child victims remains elusive due to reasons such as lack of funding and training on the implementation of the Convention and its provisions, and absence of comprehensive laws to deal with the issues.
Maldivian governments have continued to enthusiastically co-sponsor various UN resolutions on child rights, signed numerous treaties, and promoted the rights of the child as a priority area, including in its membership in the UN Human Rights Council recently. While these efforts should be commended, much more needs to be done to ensure that these initiatives are reflected domestically.
The implementation of the country’s international commitments must be made a priority, in order to strengthen the existing child protection and legal systems, and effectively safeguard the rights of the child in the country.