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President Solih appoints Maldives' first Child Rights Ombudsperson

Fathmath Shaahunaz
23 July 2020, MVT 14:42
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (R) appoints Niumath Shafeeg as the first Child Rights Ombudsperson of the Maldives on July 23, 2020. PHOTO/PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Fathmath Shaahunaz
23 July 2020, MVT 14:42

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday appointed Niumath Shafeeg to the post of Maldives' first ever Child Rights Ombudsperson.

Nominated by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for the position, Niumath was endorsed by the parliament unanimously on July 20.

Prior to her appointment, she was a consultant to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Niumath also volunteered as Chief Commissioner of the Maldives Girl Guide Association and has lectured part-time at higher education institutions.

Niumath holds an International Master in Early Childhood and a Bachelor of Early Childhood from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

The appointment of a Child Rights Ombudsperson was a crucial component to the implementation of the amended Child Rights Protection Act, which came into effect on February 20 this year.

The Ombudsperson is tasked with determining the extent to which state institutions adhere to the Child Rights Protection Act as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, enforcing the implementation of the Act and the Convention, and monitoring and evaluating institutions and personnel involved in protecting children's rights.

An important aspect of Ombudsperson duties is also the power to regulate which information is communicated to the public, therefore protecting the privacy and security of the child in question.

In May, the parliament approved a monthly salary of MVR 35,000 for the Ombudsperson.

The long-awaited appointment of the Child Rights Ombudsperson comes amidst a renewed surge of reported child abuse cases in the country, as 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.