HRCM inspects Children’s shelter in Hulhumale’

Photo shows children at the "Fiyavathi" shelter run by the Gender Ministry in Hulhumale'. (Photo/Gender Ministry)

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has inspected the "Fiyavathi" Children’s shelter run by the Gender Ministry in Hulhumale’.

HRCM stated that the inspection was to understand the current situation at the shelter in relation to an initial inspection carried out in July for a case it was investigating.

An anti-torture report published this year made horrifying allegations about cases of abuse at the shelter. The HRCM was also accused of turning a deaf ear to the complaints of these cases committed towards children housed at the shelter.

The report highlighted some of these cases which alleged physical abuse committed towards children who were sometimes stripped naked forcefully.

A performance audit report on the level of responsive action taken against cases of child abuse by government institutions also alleged that boys living in the shelter did not have separate beds and slept on the floor on mattresses.

The allegations in the report by the Auditor General's Office were responded to by the shelter, which stated that beds were removed from the shelter due to attacks by children on staff members. Discussions with senior officials in charge of the shelter were held before the beds were removed according to the shelter.

The shelter stated that some children used different parts of the bed such as the rails and joints to attack staff, and the measure was to protect staff at the shelter.

The shelter in Hulhumale' currently houses 111 children, all under the age of 12. A separate shelter is also run by the Gender Ministry in Villimale'.