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Maldives[1] [print]

Last edited: December 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

Maldives ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in February of 1991.  The status of the CRC and other international agreements appears to be equivalent to that of domestic legislation and inferior to that of the Constitution, but neither the Constitution nor Maldives' reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child make it clear.[2]

 

Only months after ratifying the CRC, Maldives reaffirmed a commitment to children's rights by passing its first child protective law, the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children.  Though the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children aims to protect children, the text of the law is quite brief and does not specify procedural requirements.  It is unclear if Maldives had an informal protection system previously or if the 1991 law marked its creation.  The current child protection system consists of the Juvenile Court, in which protection proceedings take place; the Child Protection Unit in the police; the Unit for the Rights of the Child, which works both in child welfare and juvenile delinquency and is part of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and Social Security; and the National Council for the Protection of the Rights of Children, responsible for monitoring the system and promoting children's rights in Maldivian policy.  In 2000, Maldives' legislature approved the Family Act, governing mainly marriage and custody, but also detailing rules of guardianship.

 

While both laws mandate the need to act in the best interests of the child, neither the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children nor the Family Act provide for the child's right to express a view in protective proceedings.  The only matters in which children are expressly given a right to speak in court are custody matters.  In custody proceedings, children over the age of 7 usually choose which parent to live with, although the Court has the discretion to delay that right to age 11 for girls and age 9 for boys.  One of the reasons that Maldives may have more legislation and more specific provisions devoted to custody matters than to protection measures is that custody is a subject discussed in Shariah.  In its objection to the requirements on adoption in the CRC, Maldives explained that, “Islamic Shariah is one of the fundamental sources of Maldivian Law,” and that, “Islamic Shariah does not include the system of adoption among the ways and means for the protection and care of children.”[3]

 

Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Original Text

 

Statutes

ކުޑަކުދިންގެ ޙައްޤުތައް ރައްކާތެރިކުރުމާ ބެހޭ ޤާނޫނު[4] 

ޔަތީމު ކުދިންނާއި މިސްކީނު ކުދިންގެ ޙައްޤުތަކަށް ޚާއްޞަ ސަމާލުކަމެއް ދިނުން

 ރާއްޖޭގައި ޔަތީމު ކުދިންނާއި މިސްކީނު ކުދިންގެ ޙައްޤުތައް   -11

 ރައްކާތެރިކުރުމަށް ޚާއްޞަ ސަމާލުކަމެއް ދޭންވާނެއެވެ.  އަދި މައިންބަފައިން، ނުވަތަ ޝަރްޢީބަލަދުވެރިންނެތުމުގެ ސަބަބުން ބެލޭނެ އެހެން ގޮތެއް ނެތިފައިވާ ކުދިން ބެލެހެއްޓުމުގެ ކަންތައްތައް، އެވަގުތަކަށް، ހަމަޖައްސައިދެވެން އޮތްގޮތެއްގެ މަތިން ހަމަޖައްސައިދޭން ވާނެއެވެ.

ސަރުކާރުގެ އިރުޝާދުތަކަން ޙުރުމަތްތެރިކޮށް ހިތުން

   ކުޑަކުދިންގެ ޞިއްޙަތާއި ރައްކާތެރިކަމާއި ތައްލީމާއި އަދި މިނޫންވެސް ކަންކަމާއިގުޅޭގޮތުން ސަރުކާރުގެ ކަމާބެހ 23-ޭ ދާއިރާތަކުންދޭ އިރުޝާދުތަކަށް، މައިންބަފައިން ޙުރުމާއިގުޅޭގޮތުން ހިތަންވާނެއެވެ.

ކުޑަކުދިނެގެ ކަރާމާތަށް ގެއްލުންވާނޭ އެއްވެސް ކަމެއް ނުކުރުން

ކުޑަކުދިންގެ ކަރާމާތަށް ގެއްލުންވާނޭ ކަމެއް، އެއްވެސް މީހަކު ކޮށްގެންނުވާނެއެވެއަދި އުއްވެސް ކުއްޖަކާމެދ 25-ު ބަދުއަޚްލާޤީ ޢަމަލެއް، ނުވަތަ އަނިޔާވެރިޢަމަލެއްވެސް ހިންގައިގެން ނުވާނެއެވެ.  ކުޑަކުޖަކާމެދު އެއްވެސް މީހަކު މިފަދަކަމެއްހިންގައިފިކަން އެނގިއްޖެނަމަ، ނުވަތަ މިފަދަ ކަމާމެދު ތުހުމަތު ވެއްޖެނަމަ، ސަރުކާރުގެކަމާބެހޭ ފަރާތަކަށް ލަސްނުކޮށް އެކން އުފުލަންވާނެއެވެ.

[5]

 

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child, [6] ratified Feb. 11, 1991.

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Translation[7]

 

Statutes

 

Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children[8]

 

Particular attention to be given to the rights of the orphans and indigent children.

11. Particular attention shall be given to protect the rights of orphans and indigent children in the Maldives. The maintenance and welfare of children deprived of parents and children without legal guidance, who have no means of sustenance, should be provided for, in such manner as is possible at the time.

 

Compliance with guidance given by the government

23. Parents shall comply with guidance given by Government authorities concerning the health, safety and education of children and other measures relating to children.

Prohibition of exploitation of children and acts detrimental to the integrity of children

25. No persons shall commit an act that is detrimental to the integrity of children, nor shall any person commit an act of sexual abuse, exploitation or oppression against the child. Knowledge of the commission of such an act or suspicion thereof shall promptly be reported to the concerned Government authority.

 

Family Act[9]

How right to custody is Lost

42. The right to custody shall lose upon occurrence of any of the events stated below: . . .

e. Where the person to whom the custody of the child is entrusted neglects the child or treats the child with cruelty.

Period of Custody

44. a. The custody of the child shall remain with the person to whom custody is entrusted until the child completes the age of 7 years according to the Islamic calendar. Provided however, the Court may, upon application by the person to whom custody is entrusted, grant the custody of a female child until the child completes the age of 11 years according to the Islamic calendar and that of male child until the child completes the age of 9 years according to the Islamic calendar.

b. Unless the Court orders otherwise, the child shall upon expiry of the period of custody, or completion of the requisite age of custody, have the right to live with either of the parents the child may elect.

Guardianship and Property of Child

47. Guardianship is divided as stated below into Principal Judicial Guardian, Judicial Guardians, and Lawful Guardians. In this Act:

a. Principal Judicial Guardian is the father of the child.

b. Judicial Guardians are those to whom guardianship is transmitted in accordance with the principles of Shariah based upon paternal relations of the child.

c. Lawful Guardians are those who may be appointed by Court as the guardians of the child in circumstances where neither the Principal Judicial Guardian nor Judicial Guardians are available.

 

How guardianship is transmitted

48. a. Irrespective of whom is entrusted the custody of the child, the Principal Judicial Guardian of the child until he completes 18 years of age shall be his father.

b. In case of death of the Principal Judicial Guardian, the judicial guardianship of the child shall be transmitted to persons provided in the Regulations made under this Act and in the order provided in them.

c. Where there is neither the Principal Judicial Guardian nor any of the Judicial Guardians of the child, the Court shall have the power to appoint or remove Lawful Guardians of the child after having taken into account various matters provided in Regulations made under this Act and giving paramount consideration to the welfare of the child and with or without attaching any conditions to such appointment.

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child, [10] ratified Feb. 11, 1991.

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

Unit for the Rights of the Child: http://www.urcmaldives.gov.mv/links.html

 

 


Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[3] Ratifications and Reservations: Convention on the Rights of the Child, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (last visited Dec. 5, 2005), at http://www.ohchr.org/english/countries/ratification/11.htm#reservations.

[4] ކުޑަކުދިންގެ ޙައްޤުތައް ރައްކާތެރިކުރުމާ ބެހޭ ޤާނޫނު  [Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children], 9/91, §11, 23, 25, available at http://www.agoffice.gov.mv/pdf/sublaws/234.pdf, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[5] އާއިލާއާބެހޭ ޤާނޫނު   [Family Act], 4/2000, §42(ބ), 44, 47, 48, available at http://www.agoffice.gov.mv/pdf/sublaws/238.pdf, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[6] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989).

[7] The translations are official versions provided by the Attorney General's Office and the Unit for the Rights of Children at the Ministry of Women's Affairs and Social Security in Maldives.

[8] Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children, 9/91, §11, 23, 25, available at http://www.urcmaldives.gov.mv/archive/child_law/childrens_law.pdf, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[9] Family Act, 4/2000, §42(e), 44, (47), (48), available at http://www.agoffice.gov.mv/pdf/sublawe/238.pdf, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[10] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.

 

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