News Update :

UN urges end to flogging of Maldives women

Monday, November 28, 2011

COLOMBO: UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay has urged the tiny Islamic republic of the Maldives to stop publicly flogging women for having extra-marital sex, a news report said Friday.

Pillay said the Indian Ocean nation’s government had progressed in safeguarding the rights of its population of 330,000 Sunni Muslims, but more needed to be done to protect women, who were still discriminated against.
“A powerful illustration (of discrimination) is the flogging of women found guilty of extra-marital sex,” the Minivan news agency quoted her as saying during a visit to the archipelago on Thursday.

“This practice constitutes one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women.”
She said flogging should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country and urged the authorities to work to stop the practice immediately, the news agency said.

Flogging is normally handed down as a punishment by village chiefs who also act as local judges. A cane is used.
It is unclear how many women are flogged for sex outside marriage each year, but Minivan said that out of 186 people sentenced for flogging in 2006, some 146 were women.

The Maldives, better known as a luxury tourist destination, adopted multi-party democracy in 2008 with the election of President Mohamed Nasheed, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.
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