Maldives ratifies Child Rights Protection Act

The new Act prohibits marrying any child in Maldives below the age of 18

20 February 2020
Mother holding baby's hand

Male', 20 February 2020 – The United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF – congratulates the Government of Maldives for ratifying the Child Rights Protection Act which officially comes into force today.

The Act was ratified on 20 November 2019 at the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The new Act marks significant changes in the legal protection of children, as it prohibits marrying any child below the age of 18, prohibits death penalty in case of a child coming in contact with the law, and prohibits child labor.

“This is a milestone towards the fulfilment of children’s rights in Maldives in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). I am happy to learn that provisions in the new Act task all duty bearers to fulfill these rights under the principles of human dignity, equality, and freedom. These are major gains,” said Mr. Munir Safieldin, UNICEF’s Representative in Maldives.

Those responsible for ensuring the fulfilment of children’s rights are defined as a child’s guardians, the family, the community, and the state. Everyone has a role in ensuring that children are in good health and are protected from violence, neglect and abuse.

UNICEF Maldives welcomes the requirement to establish a Child Rights Council and the position of a Child Rights Ombudsperson, as this will assist the state in making sure no child is left behind.  

While the coming into force of a new law is a moment of celebration, the hard work of implementing the new requirements, institutions, and capacity building requirements still lies ahead, including adequate financial, human, and infrastructure resources to fully implement Act 19/2019 as intended. 

“UNICEF Maldives looks forward to supporting the implementation of the Child Rights Protection Act to ensure that every child receives the protection and development they deserve,” said Safieldin. 


Media contacts

Yosi Echeverry Burckhardt
UNICEF Deputy Representative to the Maldives
UNICEF Maldives
Tel: +960 779 8481
Mohamed Naeem
Child Protection Specialist
UNICEF Maldives
Tel: +960 778 8260


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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