The Child Rights Protection Bill submitted to the Parliament on behalf of the Maldivian administration by Addu Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam has been accepted into the Parliament for evaluation.
The bill was accepted into the Parliament with the vote of 73 parliamentarians this Tuesday, and has been sent to the Human Rights and Gender Committee for evaluation.
The new legislature on child rights protection is designed to remedy the inconsistencies between the current Child Rights Protection Act – enacted in 1991 – and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It is aimed at facilitating greater protection of child rights in Maldives; and establishes and specifies the rights of children, the responsibilities of children, the responsibilities of parents, the responsibilities of parents, and others.
Rights established under the bill includes the right to equality, the right to education, the right to life, the right to physical and intellectual development, the right to care, the right to protection, the right to protection against sexual abuse and exploitation, and the right to protection against physical abuse and negligence.
It also established the right to protection against adverse social and cultural effects, the right to register their birth, the right to nationality, the right to maintain their individuality, the right to know the identity of their birth parents, the right to care, the right to physical wellbeing.
The new bill prohibits child marriages. It establishes that child marriages are prohibited as children under the age of 18 years haven’t achieved the physical and intellectual maturity of an adult, and have the right to special assistance and protection from the State, family, and community.
It also prohibits the employment of children under the age of 16 years unless it is for an educational purpose. Partaking in the family business is established as an exemption to the rule.
The bill establishes that children under the age of 15 years cannot be held criminally responsible as they lack the physical and intellectual maturity of adults.
It also prohibits the application of the death penalty on children. If a child is found guilty of a crime which carries the death penalty, the sentence must be revised to a sentence which carries no more than three fourth of the next largest penalty set for the crime.
It establishes registration of birth of children, education and upbringing of children, expenditure and liability for harm caused by children to others as responsibilities of parents.