The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), on Friday, welcomed the passing of the Child Rights Protection Bill and the Juvenile Justice Bill.
Remarking that the passing of such bills were 'historic', UNICEF Representative to the Maldives Munir Safieldin offered his congratulations to children across the country. He expressed gratitude to Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed as well as the MPs.
The parliament passed the Child Rights Protection Bill and the Juvenile Justice Bill on Thursday.
Unanimously approved by the 66 MPs in attendance, the Child Rights Protection Bill grants police the authority to conduct investigations and Family Protection Service the right to conduct social inquiries and assessments for cases in which there is reasonable cause to believe that a child needs protection.
Additionally, if the police are prevented from entering a residence without a warrant and there is sufficient proof that a child is in danger, an officer with the rank of Sub Inspector or higher can approve access to the residence in question.
The bill prohibits death sentences for actions that a child was proven to have committed before or after they reach 18 years of age. Overall, children under the age of 15 are exempt from bearing the burden of criminal charges as per the bill.
Per the Juvenile Justice Bill, a special system to handle children that have committed crimes will be implemented. It further stipulates that cases involving such juveniles will be overseen by judges that have received specific training. Regional divisions of the Juvenile Court will also be established in various atolls across the country.