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Tourism Ministry's Executive Director under investigation for sexual harassment

Ahmed Aiham
13 July 2020, MVT 16:00
Government office complex Velaanaage - the proximity of offices makes this the epicentre of business and administration in Male'. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
13 July 2020, MVT 16:00

President's Office Chief Communications Strategist Ibrahim Hood, on Sunday, revealed that an investigation is underway over sexual harassment allegations against Ministry of Tourism's Executive Director Ali Hashim (Smith).

In response to claims on social media that Hashim had brought multiple women into Maagiri Hotel, while the Ministry had booked the hotel for various purposes, Smith responded to a tweet stating that she was ashamed of being raped.

Furthermore, he retweeted a post that claimed he had brought a total of nine women into the hotel, with the caption "I am a player, right?".

The political appointee has since deleted certain tweets and apologized for his statements, following the president's official spokesperson confirming that an investigation over the matter is underway.

This incident follows a series of workplace sexual harassment claims directed at political appointees and persons in leadership, that have recently surfaced.

On July 9, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ordered then-Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed to resign, over allegations which were reported by ministry staff to the president and the gender ministry.

His sacking marks the first minister to be terminated over allegations of sexual assault in Maldives' history.

The Senior Policy Director at the ministry, and close associate of Waheed, Mohamed Hassaan, was also dismissed shortly after Waheed's termination.

However, public ire continues to soar over the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting perpetrators of sexual offences, claiming selective justice and that impunity is granted to offenders with close associations to the leadership, despite the numerous electoral as well as administrative pledges made in support of 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.

Backed by the collective, the '#JaagaEhNei' movement, gathered on Sunday, calling 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.

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