Target: Government of the Maldives
Goal: Abolish lashing or flogging as punishment for premarital affairs
Recently, a 15-year-old girl was sentenced to 100 lashings for having premarital sex. Prior to this sentencing, the girl reported being raped and impregnated by her stepfather but that case has yet to be fully investigated. The sexually abused teenager was persuaded to confess in a court hearing, without legal counsel or protection, to engaging in premarital sex with an older man. It is unclear whether or not the girl was forced or coerced into having sexual relations with the man. Upon the confession in court, the man was sentenced to 10 years in jail and the girl sentenced to a barbaric lashing to be carried out after her 18th birthday or before, if she chooses. While the government of the Maldives has said it does not condone the punishment of an abused minor, it has claimed to be unable to intervene in the judicial process.
The Maldives is an Islamic country and engaging in premarital sex is punishable under Sharia law. Flogging is a common punishment for engaging in premarital sex but frequently sentenced to women while men rarely punished. This barbaric custom of punishment has been condemned by the United Nations for Human Rights and Amnesty International as “one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women”. The practice continues to persist throughout Asia and the Middle East. While many Maldivians are upset with the negative statements by the UN and Amnesty, the reality finds one in three Maldivian women have been abused, sexually or physically, as of a survey in 2007. The most recent flogging sentence of a sexually abused minor is a clear example of the lack of protection Maldivian law provides to victims of abuse, minors and women.
Corporal punishment needs to be removed from Maldivian law. While the Maldivian government has said they are trying to change the law, no bills have been drafted and no discussion has arose regarding the matter. Sign the petition below to demand the government of the Maldives to abolish this degrading punishment and make women’s rights a priority in the Maldives.
Dear Government of the Maldives,
Recently, a teenage girl confessed to engaging in premarital sex and was sentenced to 100 lashings. Not only did the girl give the confession without legal counsel or protection, she is a rape victim of her stepfather. In addition, it is unclear if the girl engaged willingly in sexual relations or if she was forced or coerced into it. You have stated publicly that you do not condone the sentencing but are unable to intervene in the matter.
The United Nations for Human Rights and Amnesty International has condemned the act of lashing or flogging as inhumane and degrading violence against women. This type of punishment is common in cases of extramarital sex but often proscribed to women and rarely used as a punishment for men. While you said you have tried to change the punishment, little has been done in the matter. No bills have been drafted and no discussion has been started by you. This most recent sentencing of a sexually abused minor is a clear violation by the judicial system and now is the time for this law to be abolished. I urge you to abolish flogging and lashing as an ruling of punishment for premarital sex and make women’s rights a priority for your country and citizens.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Trey Radcliff via Fotopedia