President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Wednesday ratified two bills related to the protection of children and adolescents.
The bills ratified are an amendment to the Child Rights Protection Act and a bill on Juvenile Justice.
Both bills were given approval on November 20, which is the 30th-anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The amended Child Rights Protection Act outlines the rights and responsibilities for children, and duties of the state, community and parents to protect these rights. The Act also seeks to reduce disparities between the previous law and international child protection laws and standards.
Additionally, the reconstituted Act includes amendments which protect children from discrimination, bias, harm, cruel punishment, neglect, and physical and emotional abuse.
Provisions such as the right to education, right to health care, and special provisions to protect the rights of children with special needs are included as well.
Furthermore, the constitution of the Child Rights Protection Council, Child and Family Protection Service and the appointment of a Children’s Ombudsperson was stipulated.
With the amendment, this bill further raised the legal age of consent for marriage to 18 years, while protecting children below the age of 15 against all regular judicial punishments.
The ratified Juvenile Justice Bill outlines the rights of children and adolescents who conflict with the law or get immersed in violence, juvenile delinquency, and means to prevent juvenile delinquencies. The bill also prescribes a swift resolution to allow reforming juvenile delinquents into productive members of society through rehabilitative facilities.
The bill directs the constitution of a Department of Juvenile Justice, a specialised police department to address juvenile delinquencies, designated State Prosecutors for children, a particular unit of probation and correctional officers, a juvenile diversion programme, rehabilitation programmes, and residential facilities and correctional centres.
Parliament passed the two bills at its 65th sitting of the third session held on November 14. Both bills have now been published in the government's gazette.