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Maldives President Urges Patience in Lashing Sentence of Rape Victim

Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the beauteous land . . .

Little drops of water, in the form of expressions of international outrage against the sentence of 100 lashings for a 15 year old girl, impregnated by her stepfather, who bore his still-born babe, and was ordered punished by the court system for immorality. A call to express outrage by boycotting travel to the Maldives seems to have gotten the attention of the government. It appears they will try to find a way to avoid this grueling punishment . . . thanks to the attention being paid.

From the English edition of Haveeru Online:

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik on Tuesday urged patience from the international community in the case of the 15 year old alleged rape victim who received a flogging after being convicted of adultery in a separate incident.

The conviction had sparked an international outcry and condemnation from rights groups such as Amnesty International. While an online petition condemning the Maldives over the sentencing has received over two million signatures. The petition, started by New York-based campaign group avaaz.org, calls on President Waheed to intervene and has been signed by over two million users.

“We appreciate the international compassion for this young woman and ask for your patience as this case moves through the judicial system,” President Waheed said in a statement.

“Currently the case is being appealed and I have urged the judiciary to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”

“This case should never have been presented in the courts and we are working to ensure that cases like this are never brought to the courts again.”

In the statement, President Waheed also assured that the young woman remains under the care of the Gender Ministry and is receiving the appropriate physical and psychological counseling at this time. 

“As both the President and as a father, I am fully committed to protecting and advancing the rights of women and girls in the Maldives and throughout the world and share your deep concern about this young victim.”

In its attempt to pressure the Maldives government to overturn the sentence, Avaaz had called for tourism to be boycotted.

“Tourism is the big earner for the Maldives elite, including government ministers. Let’s build a million-strong petition to President Waheed this week, then threaten the islands’ reputation through hard-hitting ads in travel magazines and online until he steps in to save her and abolish this outrageous law,” Avaaz said on its website.

In that regard, President noted that the Maldives is a young democracy working to balance religious faith with new democratic values and asked the international community to support as partners as the country works through this challenge. 

“A boycott on tourism will only serve as a setback to the economic opportunities and rights we are all striving to uphold for women, girls and the hardworking Maldivian people in general,” Waheed stressed.

The 15 year old girl who gave birth and buried the baby in Shaviyani Atoll Feydhoo had been sentenced to eight months under house arrest and 100 lashes after the Juvenile Court found her guilty of pre marital sex.

Prosecutors have maintained that the 15 year old was charged with adultery over another case which came to light during the investigation of the buried baby.

The baby born last June was found buried in the bath house of the girl’s home. The child delivered out of wedlock was dead at the time of discovery. Charges have been filed against the 15 year old’s mother and step-father over the deliberate murder of the baby.

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, News, Social Issues | 4 Comments

Expats in Kuwait: A Burden on the State?

From today’s Kuwait Times . . . .

illegals

KUWAIT: The government has sent a draft law to the parliament stipulating an increase in fees collected from expatriate residents for using public services in Kuwait, a senior state official said in statements reported yesterday by the local press.

Minister of Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah further indicated that the proposal is currently under review primarily to ensure it was in keeping with the constitution. “The state pays KD6 billion to subsidize public services, including electricity and water, while only KD2 billion of it is the average share of Kuwaitis,” he told a gathering of third constituency women voters at MP Ahmad Al-Mulaifi’s dewaniya on Monday night.

He also termed the remaining KD4 billion, a cost which supposedly the government bears for services used by expatriates, “a burden on the state.” Al-Sabah, who is also the State Minister for Municipality Affairs, added that similar steps have been adopted in the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council states to increase the state revenue from expatriates. “Unfortunately, Kuwait’s law prohibits the government from increasing the fees unilaterally,” he said, referring to regulations which stipulate that such decisions must be passed by the parliament before becoming effective.

The minister’s statement is the latest turn in the government’s efforts seen targeted at the country’s expatriate community which comprises two thirds of the population, including a Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor announcement to deport 100,000 foreigners annually as part of a ‘demographic balance restoration plan’; the details of which are yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Assistant for Traffic Affairs in the Interior Ministry, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali, announced that 213 expats were deported in the past few days for committing ‘grave’ traffic violations. In this regard, Al-Ali told Al-Rai on Tuesday that deportations only happen in cases where people have a record of repeated violations. “An expatriate who commits the same violation over and over again must be deported in the public interest,” he said, calling a person in this case as “abnormal” and “untreatable.” According to the ministry, the violations warranting deportation include driving without a driver’s license, jumping the red traffic light for a second time, using private vehicles to carry passengers and exceeding speed limits by 40 km. Al-Ali refuted the notion that the recent deportations were connected to the MSAL’s plan mentioned above.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al-Rashidi had indicated that the annual deportation plan, through which the government hopes to deport a million foreigners in ten years, is chiefly going to target ‘marginal labor forces’ or workers who usually accept menial jobs and often live without valid visas.

Such workers are often the victim of visa traffickers who exploit loopholes in the ministry’s system to release work permits in the name of fake companies or nonexistent job openings, and then sell them to unskilled labor forces looking for a chance to work in the oil-rich Gulf region. The system is based on the kafala (sponsorship of foreign workers) program which is often criticized by international organizations for human right violations recorded in Kuwait and the entire region.

On a related note, Al-Rai reported yesterday that the social affairs and interior ministries are studying the possibility of creating an ‘amnesty period’ during the summer to allow illegal residents to leave Kuwait or obtain a new visa without paying the cumulative fines.

Anonymous sources were quoted in the report as saying that the project depends on the two ministries’ ability to “plug some loopholes” which could make violators irresponsive to it. “For example, we cannot expect Bangladeshi nationals staying illegally in Kuwait to leave when they know that they will be banned by law in this case from ever returning to Kuwait,” one source explained. “There are violators who become stuck in Kuwait due to circumstances in their home countries combined with regulations that prevent them from issuing a residency in Kuwait.

Legal obstacles in similar cases need to be removed before an amnesty period is announced,” the source added.

 

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment