Minister concerned over lack of equal enforcement of law for sexual harassment

Gender Minister Aishath Mohamed Didi during a press briefing on April 5, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Minister for Gender, Family & Social Services Aishath Mohamed Didi has called for the equal enforcement of the law regarding sexual harassment and violence. 

The Minister, in a Facebook post, said that it took a great deal of courage to report crimes of sexual harassment and violence by victims. She said that all government agencies need to come together to support the pursuit of justice by victims.

"It is imperative that due process is followed, both to provide justice for survivors and to prevent sexual violence, by holding perpetrators accountable," said Minister Aishath.

She went on to highlight that any gaps left within the process could possibly erode the trust of the public in the credibility of the system itself. She said that this could in turn lead to a failure to create a safe environment for survivors to seek justice, before calling for the fair enforcement of all laws on everyone.

Facebook post by Gender Minister Aishath Didi.

The Minister's post comes shortly after the departure of former Tourism Ministre Ali Waheed who was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and attempted rape during his time in office. The allegations were made by employees of the Tourism Ministry and eventually led to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih firing Ali Waheed. 

Ex-President Maumoon breaks silence!

Another public figure who has spoken out about the departure of Ali Waheed is former President of the Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. 

The former President said that it was not only the victims of sexual abuse who should be worried but anyone who is devoted to justice, the principles of Islam regarding such vile acts and human rights. 

An investigation was started into the allegations which saw charges brought forward against him as well. However, Ali Waheed departed from the Maldives after his passport was released by the court. Ali Waheed had denied all the charges. If convicted, he could have faced a sentence of 21 years. 

The decision to release Ali Waheed's passport was met with condemnation from the public and multiple NGOs. His passport was released on the condition that he return within four months. If he fails to return, the guarantor of the bail, Assad Ali would face the punishments as stipulated by the law, the Prosecutor General’s Office has stated. 

There has been immense public scrutiny over his departure and the government's handling of the matter whereby some have even cast doubts over the state's version and made allegations that the whole case was a sham and that the government actually facilitated Ali Waheed's departure.