The Maldives’ ratification last year of a Domestic Violence Act has done little to curb the abuse of women, minors and other vulnerable people despite provisions to do so, a leading civil society expert and former gender minister has said.
Aneesa Ahmed, Chairperson for the Hope for Women NGO, told Minivan News that despite extensive provisions in the act, little progress had been made by police, the judiciary and wider Maldivian society to address domestic violence and abuse.
“The problem we are seeing is that measures provided in the act are not being implemented. There is no mechanisms to do that. Police have been preparing for the act, but they are handicapped in doing so,” Aneesa claimed.
“There are no safe houses, no shelters for victims of abuse. The act doesn’t solve the problem on its own, we need education and a greater understanding or rights and the need for sensitivity.”
Aneesa’s comments were made after 130 UN member states last Friday (March 15) signed up to a plan to try and prevent violence towards women and girls as part of a wider international strategy.
The declaration calling for an end to gender-based violence was passed despite opposition from Russia, the Vatican and a number of unidentified Islamic nations.
“Iran, Libya, Sudan and other Muslim nations ended threats to block the declaration and agreed to language stating that violence against women could not be justified by ‘any custom, tradition or religious consideration,’” reported AFP.