The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has stated that the government work related to providing an environment of protection for women who suffer abuse and harm is in need of strengthening.
A statement by the HRCM on the occasion of the International day on Elimination of Violence Against Women, issued today, called on the government to provide the necessary resources and establishment of safe shelters mandated under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act by the end of 2021.
The Commission also urged the state to ensure easy access to care, social protection, and mental health service for the survivors of abuse and to provide the necessary training for service providers, ensuring free legal counsel for survivors of gender-based violence and providing resources and budget to strengthen the current system.
"While appreciating the work of non-government organizations on violence against women, the Commission emphasizes the need to assist and protect NGOs working on the cause. The Commission urges the state to ensure easy access to care, social protection and mental health service for the survivors of abuse" read the statement by the HRCM.
The Commission called on the state to work on prevailing protection mechanisms, streamline services provided by the institutions to ensure justice for survivors of violence, and guarantee that perpetrators are prosecuted duly.
The statement also read that constant family support is essential for survivors and that the harmful attitude towards violence against women must be resolved. HRCM said that cases lodged with the Commission related to abuse against women were mainly of psychological abuse.
"During the visits conducted by the National Preventive Mechanism to the places of detention and centers where girls and women are kept under state care, issues affecting women’s dignity, negligence of women’s mental health, gender discriminative procedures and lack of special health care required for women was observed. Furthermore, the Commission has noted that cases of violence against women are not adequately investigated." read the statement.
HRCM cited that challenges in the process of investigation included a lack of budget, difficulty in transportation, poorly trained staff on the issue of violence against women, lack of proper mechanisms for witness protection, poor cooperation among institutions, and lack of awareness on relevant legislations among law enforcement officials and judges.
The Commission also noted a lack of information provided for pregnant women on changes to health care services and challenges faced by survivors of violence against women in seeking help during the situation with Covid-19.
Every year, November 25 is observed worldwide as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. The day is set aside for eliminating gender-based discrimination, providing safety and support for the survivors of gender-based violence, and raising awareness on violence against women.