The Government of the Maldives has submitted a bill to the People's Majlis to reconstitute Law number 9/91- Child Rights Protection Act. The Government of the Maldives made the decision to submit this bill to the People's Majlis due to glaring disparities between the current Child Rights Protection Act and International child protection laws and standards. The bill cited that the rights and protective services provided to children cannot be provided beneficially for all children in the Maldives under the existing law, and includes several rights and services that should be provided to all children under international child protection laws.
The Bill sent to Majlis includes several amendments and new additions to protect children from discrimination, bias, harm, cruel punishment, neglect and physical and emotional abuse. The bill also carries privileges granted to children such as the right to education, safety and security, learning, and special needs children are granted appropriate rights to better preserve their wellness.
Upon approval from the Majlis and ratification of the bill, the legal age of consent for marriage will be raised to 18 years of age. Additionally, all children below the age of 15 are protected against all regular judicial punishments, including the death penalty, and prescribes a fast resolution to allow reforming juvenile delinquents into productive members of society through rehabilitative facilities.
A council for the protection of child rights, 'Child and Family Protection Services', with a mandate to protect children's rights and be the primary aid for any child in need of protection will be created under this bill. The council will also serve as an advisory body to pertinent Ministers and assist in the creation of laws and policies related to child rights. Another new addition is the inclusion of residential facilities providing alternate care to all children in need, to be instigated in different areas of the Maldives with a list of dedicated staff.
Under this bill, a Children's Ombudsman will also be elected to the Human's Rights Commission with the task of impartially protecting child rights and freedoms, and to continuously monitor the application of all components of the law for all children.