President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Saturday, expressed concerns on increased domestic violence amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, as part of his remarks on World Population Day (WPD) 2020.
Held annually each July 11, the theme for this year’s WPD is ‘Putting the brakes on COVID-19: How to Safeguard the Health and Rights of Women and Girls Now’.
Although COVID-19 had negatively impacted humans in one form or the other, President Solih emphasised that its burdens are felt disproportionately by women.
In line with worldwide statistics, Solih iterated that women account for over seventy percent of healthcare workers in Maldives. Further, he noted that the effects of temporary restrictive measures imposed within the Greater Male’ Region were more severe on women.
Due to gender-differentiated household duties, women's workload has exponentially increased during the lockdown, which exacerbates various challenges to an individual's mental health and well-being.
President Solih also drew focus on positive strides with regards to ensuring a healthy population, noting Maldives’ successes in drastically reducing maternal deaths and infant mortality rates.
To consolidate the country’s healthcare successes, President Solih urged citizens must collectively to address issues that detrimentally affect communities, despite the unprecedented challenges.
The President also shared his concerns over cases of sexual abuse against women and girls, pledging that his administration will assign special priority to address such issues.
However, public ire continues to soar over the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting perpetrators of sexual offences despite several promises to support the rights of children and women.
Recently, a collective of gender equality advocates originating from Family Legal Clinic (FLC), Nufoshey and Uthema Maldives also launched the #FundOurSafety initiative, voicing a list of demands including the reallocation of state funds toward the protection of victims.
'#JaagaEhNei' movement, which is set to gather on Sunday, July 12 at 1330 hrs, will call on the state to ensure that perpetrators of sexual injustices are convicted to the fullest extent of the law, whilst also demanding the abolishment of selective and tokenist justice against such heinous crimes.