Parliament seeks public’s help in collecting information on underage marriages

The Maldivian Parliament. (File Photo/Sun/Mohamed Afrah)

The Parliament has asked for the public’s assistance in identifying and collecting information on illegal marriages in Maldives involving underage children.

The Parliament, in a public announcement on Wednesday, noted that underage marriages were currently under review by the Human Rights and Gender Committee.

It asked for anyone with information regarding any underage marriages to report it to the Parliament.

Members of the general public who are privy to information regarding such cases have been asked to share it with Parliament, either via email to [email protected] or via letter to the Secretariat of the Parliament by December 8.

Those who share such information are required to disclose their name, permanent address and contact number.

Human Rights and Gender Committee launched a review into underage marriages in Maldives following the case of a 13-year-old girl who recently gave birth to a child conceived during an illegal marriage to a 26-year-old man.

The girl in question entered the ‘marriage’ at the age of 12 years, and was subjected to two previous ‘marriages’ – the first one she entered at the age of nine years.

Gender Ministry and Maldives Police Service, which issued a joint-statement regarding the case on Sunday, November 24, said that their investigation into the case hadn’t uncovered any evidence the girl had been subjected to an illegal marriage, but uncovered evidence the girl belonged to a family which held extreme views on religion and had been denied basic educational and healthcare rights.

Gender Ministry and Maldives Police Service also said that the case came to the attention of authorities on June 6, 2019. And that the authorities had been keeping a ‘close watch’ over the case ever since.

The young girl gave birth this November.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has now established a special taskforce to investigate the case.