The Bill to Address Domestic Violence Passed by Maldives Parliament

 UN Team supporting the '16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence'. Photo: UN Women 2012.

The passage of the bill to address domestic violence in the country, passed by the Maldives Parliament, the People's Majlis On April 09, 2012, is a testament to the dedication of the political parties, ministries, non-government organizations and grassroots activists who actively worked to reach this goal. The UN was an important partner in this process. Many agencies contributed to the development and lobbying process. The process was initiated by Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) mediated to get Government support and provided financial support to draft the bill, after which NGOs were instrumental in developing the contents and briefing key target audiences.

With tireless lobbying by the Gender Advocacy Working Group (consisting of representatives of UN agencies, NGOs, media and individuals) and other supporters, campaigns ran throughout 2010 and 2011, specifically targeted at getting the DV Act passed. UNDP became part of the coalition for the “Thinakun Ekeh” (“1 in 3”) campaign that worked on the Bill, and participated in meetings and advocacy activities, and provided technical inputs throughout the process.

The passage of the DV Bill is in line with Maldives’ international obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The latest CEDAW Report on the Maldives underscored the urgent need to address gender-based violence in the country, to put in place the appropriate legislative frameworks for prevention and protection, and the building of stronger protective services for women and children.

The UN statement read, “The enactment of the Domestic Violence Bill into law is urgently needed in the Maldives which has a high rate of gender-related violence, particularly affecting women and girls. The passage of the bill is a good example of how dialogue among different groups and cross-party cooperation can yield beneficial results to the country.”

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