Maldives Is Not A Paradise For All

29th March 2013

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. Sign and forward this email now:

The Maldives is a paradise for tourists. But it's not always so for the women that live there. There are countries that have even harsher interpretations of Islamic sharia law, but in the Maldives women and children can be publically whipped if found guilty of extramarital sex or adultery. Pre marital 'fornication' is illegal, but despite always involving a man and a woman, 90% of the people punished are women! And while a staggering one in three women between ages 15 and 49 have suffered physical or sexual abuse -- zero rapists were convicted in the past three years.

Winning this battle can help women everywhere, as the Maldives government is right now running for a top UN human rights position - on a platform of women's rights! The Maldives is on its own journey to build democracy and wants be a 'model Islamic democracy'. The President has asked the Attorney-General to appeal the sentence in the 15-year-old's case. But that's not enough. Extremists inside the country will force him to abandon further reforms if international attention fades. Let’s tell the Maldives that it stands to lose its reputation as a romantic tourist hot spot unless it moves quickly to uphold universal human and women's rights.

If enough of us raise our voices, we can get President Waheed and MPs to face down the extremists. The president has already been pushed to act by this shameful, tragic story - let's seize this moment to prevent more horrifying injustices against girls and women. Sign the petition, then send this email widely:

When certain extreme cases spark the global public conscience it is crucial to speak out whether it is the US, India or the Maldives. Avaaz members have fought many battles in the global war on women. In Afghanistan, we helped protect a young woman who bravely spoke out about her horrific rape; in Honduras, we fought alongside local women against a law that would jail women using the morning-after pill. Now it's time to stand with the women of the Maldives.

With hope and determination,

Jeremy, Mary, Nick, Alex, Ricken, Laura, Michelle and the whole Avaaz team


Maldives girl to get 100 lashes for pre-marital sex (BBC)

Maldives government to appeal flogging of rape victim (Dawn, Pakistan)

Rape victims punished, failed by Maldives justice system (Minivan news, Maldives)

Judicial statistics show 90 percent of those convicted for fornication are female (Minivan news, Maldives)