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UNICEF commends Maldives on 'milestone' Child Rights Protection Act

Shahudha Mohamed
20 February 2020, MVT 16:47
A child walking to school with her guardian in Kanduhulhudhoo, Gaafu Alif Atoll. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU.
Shahudha Mohamed
20 February 2020, MVT 16:47

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) congratulated the Maldivian government in ratifying the Child Rights Protection Act which officially came into effect on Thursday.

“This is a milestone towards the fulfilment of children’s rights in Maldives in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)", said UNICEF's representative in Maldives Munir Safieldin, referring to the Act which was passed by the Parliament on November 20, 2019, the 30th anniversary of CRC.

The new Act prohibits marrying any child below the age of 18, prohibits death penalty for any child coming into contact with the law and prohibits child labour.

"I am happy to learn that provisions in the new Act task all duty bearers to fulfill these rights under the principles of human dignity, equality, and freedom. These are major gains".

However, UNICEF noted that "the hard work of implementing" the new conditions, institutions and capacity building requirements "still lies ahead".

The organisation stated that it welcomes the requirement to establish a Child Rights Council and the position of a Child Rights Ombudsperson to assist the state in ensuring that no child is left behind.

Unanimously approved on November 14, 2019, by the 66 MPs in attendance, the bill strongly prohibits inhumane actions against children in homes, education centres or an institution where children are kept. It outlines the duties of the state, community and parents to protect children's rights.

The Act also seeks to reduce disparities between the previous law and international child protection laws and standards.

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