Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) request the attention of the international community regarding the state of women’s rights in the Maldives after the President’s veto of a bill containing limits on marital rape.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) are highly concerned at the state of women’s rights and freedoms in the Republic of the Maldives. WLUML sees the recent veto of the sexual offences bill by President Yameen an indicator that Maldivian women’s dire situation.
The sexual offences bill was vetoed on the grounds that it contravenes Shari’a, owing to the bill’s criminalisation of certain instances of marital rape. In fact, the bill falls seriously short of criminalising marital rape all together, only doing so in four instances: while a case for dissolution of the marriage is in a court; while the divorce filed by either husband or wife is pending; sexual intercourse to intentionally transmit a sexually transmitted disease; and during a mutually agreed separation (without divorce).
WLUML do not endorse the passing of the bill in its current state as it contains many problematic elements, particularly those that criminalise same-sex relations. However, we express our alarm that the limited legal recourse for women contained in this bill was deemed controversial enough for it to be vetoed. This decision - which comes 18 months after a 15-year old rape victim was sentenced to flogging - suggests that women in the Maldives are living with serious restrictions on their freedoms and are treated unequally by the law.