ARC Condemns Child Abuse Case Leading to Death in V. Rakeedhoo

Date: 28 January 2015

Advocating the Rights of the Child (ARC) condemns in the strongest terms the recent case of child abuse, resulting in the passing away of a three year old boy in Vaavu Rakeedhoo. Upon receiving the news of this appalling incident through media sources, ARC had inquired from the relevant government authority, the Ministry of Law and Gender on the background and details of this case. ARC had been informed that the Ministry would only be able to provide additional information once the ongoing investigation reaches a point of completion. ARC welcomes the announcement by the Prosecutor General’s Office of its decision to launch immediately, a criminal investigation into the details surrounding the death of the minor. ARC hopes that the investigation will bring more clarity into this incident and hold those responsible to account. It further hopes that the details of the investigation will be made public at the earliest possible opportunity. ARC remains deeply concerned about the systematic flaws in the child protection system in the country, and that cases of child abuse continue to be neglected and overlooked due to the deficiencies in the legal, judicial and social sectors tasked with the promotion and protection of the rights of the child in the Maldives. ARC strongly urges the Government to conduct an assessment of the State’s capacity to respond and react to cases of abuse with a specific view to enhance the child protection system by providing sufficient resources to Family and Children Service Centres (FCSC) in the Atolls, and to establish an effective monitoring mechanism to ensure the safety of children who are removed from their home environment. ARC recalls that the existing legislation on child rights in the Maldives was adopted in 1991 and calls upon the Government to submit at the earliest, the draft Child Protection Bill for passage in the People’s Majlis. ARC believes that the Government and society as a whole, has a clear obligation to prevent children from discrimination, neglect, abuse and exploitation. As a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Government remains legally responsible, under international human rights law, to promote and protect the rights of child in the country. ARC also calls on all journalists and media outlets to observe ethical and moral practices in journalism by respecting the privacy rights of victims who are minors, by declining to publish any images or personal details of such victims. ARC reiterates its commitment to continue its efforts to work with relevant actors by conducting advocacy and outreach,and hold the government to account with a view to safeguard the rights of all Maldivian children.

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