ARC calls on the State to prioritize safety and wellbeing of children living under State Care at Fiyavathi Shelter

ARC expresses deep concern regarding recent events at Fiyavathi Shelter, which houses children under State Care who are below 13 years. The incidents that occured on 17th September 2021, where children were seen unsupervised on the roof of the Shelter and calling out to the public that they were being mistreated, was a culmination of events over the last two weeks whereby events of possible mistreatment towards these children were brought to the attention of the public. While state officials have denied any mistreatment, these events have caused the public to gather outside the Shelter on numerous occasions. ARC therefore calls on relevant authorities to urgently investigate the reasons behind these repeated incidents to ensure accountability from the management of these shelters. Any incidences of mistreatment must be dealt with immediately, and urgent action needs to be taken to ensure the protection and well-being of these children.

Scenes from Fiyavathi are extremely alarming and have the potential to cause serious injuries to children. ARC therefore reiterates its calls on the State to improve security at shelters, and ensure the safety of our all children housed at the Shelter. ARC also reiterates it’s previous statement calling on relevant institutions to conduct a fire and safety audit of the Shelter to ensure that similar incidents do not recur. ARC further highlights that such incidents can be indicative of lack of adequate support, and calls on the State to ensure that these children are being provided with all forms of support that they require, in a manner that respects and protects their rights and dignity.

ARC notes that the number of children living at state care in Male’ City has been decreasing over the last few months, as more and more children are being moved to different Shelters across the country. Incidents such as the events in Fiyafathi add on to a series of recent negative events at Kudakudhinge Hiya, including 4 fire incidents in three months, which is a result of a numerous issues within the shelters, including the failure to adequately manage the facility and address the needs of children. ARC has brought several of these issues to the attention of State agencies as well as independent institutions on various occasions.