After a five-year delay, the ministry of law and gender published today a mandatory child sex offenders registry.
The online registry lists more than 70 individuals with their photos, full names, national identity card numbers, date of birth, age, address, date of conviction, date of imprisonment, date of scheduled release and name of the detention centre the individual is being held.
Attorney General Mohamed Anil today blamed the five-year delay on disagreements between government offices over which office was mandated to publish the list.
The online registry is mandated by a 2009 law on child sexual abuse prevention.
According to a 2009 study by UNICEF, almost one in seven children of secondary school age in the Maldives had been sexually abused at some point in their lives.
The National Study of Violence Against Children found that the rates of sexual abuse for girls are almost twice as high than for boys at 20 percent, while the figure stood at 11 percent for boys.
Local child rights NGO, Advocating for the Rights of the Child, welcomed the publication of the registry, stating: “ARC believes that the launching of the database is an important step and hopes that the database will be updated and maintained in a timely manner.
“It is equally important to raise awareness and educate the public on the database, so that it can be used as a practical tool for deterrence, in the fight against child abuse.”
Former member of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, Jeehan Mahmood, described the publication as “the next logical step given that the pedophiles are already identified during the arrest and trial period.”
“This is a very good measure to deter child sexual abuse. In the Maldives sex offenders hardly ever get convicted and these people continue to live amongst families of the very children they torment, in fact most victims are from their very own families,” she added.
The 2009 law on child sex offenders provides special provisions to deal with offenders, including the withholding of the right to remain silent and reprieve from detention during the investigation period.
The punishment for child sexual abuse is jail terms up to 25 years.