Jaaga Eh Neih: Protesters gather outside Velana Building to voice out against sexual violence

Anti-rape protest outside Velana Building on July 12, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Protesters gathered outside the Velana Building, a government building located in the Maldivian capital, on Sunday, to voice out against sexual violence against women.

The protest was titled “Jaaga Eh Neh” which translates to “there is no room”.

The protesters demanded that the authorities ensure the safety of the women in Maldives, bring perpetrators of sexual violence to justice, affect systematic reform in dealing with sexual violence, ensure the independence of the press in reporting sexual violence, believe survivors of sexual violence and stop the victimization of survivors from within the system, and increase funding towards protection of women and children.

They also demanded that the authorities dismiss all public officials and political appointees who are perpetrators of sexual violence, ensure the rule of law and arresting all sex offenders – irrespective of their social status, and making the workplace a safe place for women and make sexual harassment committees independent.

The police did not allow for the protesters to gather in front of the Velana Building as they had planned, and pushed them pack to outside of Hotel Jen. However, the police officers eased up after sometime, and the protesters moved closer to the Velana Building and staged their protest in front of Solarelle Insurance office.

The protest has approximately one hour long, and was taken part by several lawyers.

Some of the lawyers said that the State institutions have been negligent in enforcing the laws which have been enacted to prevent sexual violence.

The protest comes mere days after the former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed was dismissed from his position following allegations he sexually harassed and assaulted multiple female employees at Tourism Ministry.

The protesters voiced concern that while the police have launched a criminal investigation into the case, Ali Waheed has not been arrested.

They said that the failure to arrest suspected sexual offenders exposes more people to sexual violence, putting the safety of the entire community at risk.

Reports of sexual violence against women and children have increased over the last couple of months, sparking mounting public concern and anti-rape protests.