Committee on the Rights of the Child: Maldives

Session 071 (2016)

(29 January 2016, CRC/C/MDV/CO/4-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth/fifth report, paras. 30, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 68 and 69)

“The Committee is gravely concerned that: ...

e) the November 2015 circulars establishing automatic appeal for death penalty and flogging cases, while positive in general, are not adequately disseminated among those that can benefit from them, and also reduce the period of appeal to the Supreme Court from 60 days to 30 days.

“While noting that Article 54 of the Constitution prohibits torture, the Committee is concerned that under the 2014 Regulation on Conducting Trials, Investigations and Sentencing Fairly for Offences Committed by Minors (articles 4 and 5) children who have reached puberty may be punished by flogging for committing certain hadd offences. The Committee is seriously concerned that minors continue being flogged or sentenced to flogging and that there is a gender bias in the application of this punishment as in the majority of cases only women and girls who have been convicted for sex out of marriage are sentenced to flogging. The Committee is further concerned that child offenders may also be lawfully sentenced to life imprisonment, banishment, or flogging for consensual same-sex relations.

“The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CRC/C/MDV/CO/3, para. 56) and with reference to the Committee’s General Comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment it urges the State party:

a) to take all the necessary measures to ensure that persons who committed crimes while under the age of 18 are not subjected to any form of torture, including corporal punishment, and that corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure is prohibited by law in the home, alternative care settings, justice institutions, schools and workplace settings;

b) to amend the 2014 Regulation on Conducting Trials, Investigations and Sentencing Fairly for Offences Committed by Minors (articles 4 and 5) to prohibit flogging....

“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) 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....

“With reference to General Comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence and the Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 to end 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 centers 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 United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children during her visit in May 2013, a high-level platform where all leading departments and institutions responsible for child protection concerns meet periodically and formulate a comprehensive strategy, stipulating concrete budgeted interventions, for preventing and combating violence against children and child abuse, including with focus on gang-related violence;

e) create a unified, co-ordinated and comprehensive child protection system;

f) take all necessary measures to prevent violence against children as well as their exposure to violence during political protests;

g) prevent intimidation and threats directed towards LGBTI children.

“The Committee welcomes the enactment in 2009 of the Special Provisions Act to Deal with Child Sexual Abuse, the subsequent online publishing by the Ministry of Law and Gender in November 2015 of a registry of convicted sex offenders and the increase in reporting of child sexual abuse. The Committee is however concerned that: ...

g) there have been a number of cases of sexually abused children who were sentenced to flogging on charges of fornication.

“The Committee notes that the newly adopted Penal Code (9/2014) considers immaturity of a child as a justifiable defence for children below the age of 15 years, with the exception of Hadd offences, and that the implementation of sentencing for any child between the ages of 15-18 years who is found guilty of an offence under the Penal Code is to be deferred to a time until she/he is above 18 years of age. The Committee is seriously concerned that the age of criminal responsibility remains low at 10 years. The Committee is also concerned that:

a) judges in the State party tend to use the attainment of physical puberty rather than the minimum legal age to establish criminal responsibility;

b) flogging remains lawful as a sentence for crime....

“With reference to General Comment No. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile justice, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards. In particular, the Committee urges the State party:

a) not to apply penalties for hadd offenses to children below the age of 18; ...

d) abolish flogging as a sentence for crime....”

Read more from Session 071 (2016)

Session 045 (2007)

(13 July 2007, CRC/CDV/CO/3, Concluding observations on second/third report, paras. 55, 56, 62, 63, 98 and 99)

"The Committee is concerned at the information that section 44 of the new draft Penal Code would legalize corporal punishment of children at home, schools and institutions. The Committee is also seriously concerned that, contrary to article 37 (a) of the Convention, under applicable law of the State party, persons who have reached puberty may be subject to flogging.

"In the light of the consideration of the new draft Penal Code, the Committee urges the State party to take all the necessary measures to ensure that persons who committed crimes while under the age of 18 are not subjected to any form of corporal punishment, including as a sentence for offences, and that corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure is prohibited by law in the home, alternative care settings and justice institutions, schools and workplace settings. It recommends that the State party take other appropriate measures, such as positive education and training programmes as well as public awareness raising campaigns, to eliminate this practice which directly conflicts with the equal and inalienable rights of the child to respect for her/his human dignity and physical integrity. Finally, it draws the attention of the State party to the Committee’s General Comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (CRC/C/GC/8). 

"The Committee welcomes the information that the State party is in the process of establishing child helpline services. The Committee regrets that insufficient measures are being taken to address the serious problem of violence against children, child abuse, including sexual abuse, and ill-treatment of children in the State party. The Committee notes with concern that the legal framework fails to provide full protection against sexual abuse and that it also shifts responsibility on producing evidence to a victim. It also notes with concern that domestic violence is widely tolerated in Maldivian society and that Maldivian legislation does not expressly prohibit corporal punishment in the family....

"In the light of article 19, other relevant provisions of the Convention and taking into account the recommendations of the Committee adopted on its days of general discussion on children and violence (CRC/C/100, para. 866 and CRC/C/111, paras. 701-745), the Committee urges the State party to:

a) undertake a national study on domestic violence, ill-treatment of children and child abuse in the home assessing the scope and nature of this problem as well as the impact of legal measures to address violence against children with a view to prohibiting all forms of physical, sexual and mental violence against children, including sexual abuse in the family....

"Despite these positive steps taken, the Committee notes with concern that: ...

c) children from the age of 7 years can be held liable for haddu offences and consequently they can be exposed to a death penalty;

d) corporal punishment is lawful as a sentence for crime and for disciplinary purposes....

"The Committee recommends that the State party continue and strengthen its efforts to ensure the full implementation of juvenile justice standards, in particular articles 37, 40 and 39 of the Convention and other relevant international standards in this area, such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines) and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of Their Liberty (the Havana Rules), taking into account the Committee’s newly adopted General Comment No. 10 on children’s rights in juvenile justice (CRC/C/GC/10). It recommends that the State party:

a) expedite its efforts to draft and enact a Juvenile Justice Act and ensure that the provisions of this Act fully comply with the provisions and principles of the Convention as well as other international standards on the administration of juvenile justice, including the hearing of the child during criminal justice proceedings; ...

e) abolish the use of corporal punishment as a sentence for crime and for disciplinary purposes...."

Read more from Session 045 (2007)
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