Section: Guest Contributors

Maldives’ coral reefs: latest victims of political power play

maldives-reef

by Ibrahim Mohamed

The Maldives is a coral reef system, one-fifth the size of the Great Barrier Reef and is hailed as the 7th largest coral reef system on the Earth and is the largest atoll reef system. The reefs act as both the economical and structural backbone of the entire nation highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. The two major economic activities, fisheries and tourism are heavily dependent on the healthy reefs, while making the islands resilient against major natural disasters such as storm surges. Though climate change is a slow process, reefs are the most important resilient feature for the adaptive capacity of islands.

However, warming episodes due to global climate change have been causing mass coral bleaching in the Maldives. Consequently, the Maldives advocates strongly on behalf of vulnerable small island nations and is currently the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). In a recent Op-Ed in The Huffington Post, the Environment Minster of the Maldives, Mr. Thoriq Ibrahim, raises concerns of bleaching and mentions:

“On a local level, we must continue to mitigate the effect of human activity of these delicate ecosystems. Our government is increasing protection of affected areas and the scope. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) will be markedly expanded in light of this recent bleaching event. That means stringent EIAs on new hotel developments and limiting terrestrial runoff and agricultural pollutants – proven enemies of coral reefs”.

However, news of blasting of a reef using dynamites, has loomed large in local media lately. Both former Environment Minsters Mohamed Aslam and Maryam Shakeela raised alarms about this destructive process. Aslam questioned the controversial decision of the Government:

I was just told Env [Environment] min [Ministry] have given permit for blasting reefs after 10 yrs of not permitting this destructive practice. Where are we heading?

Shakeela urges to appeal to concerned authorities to reverse this decision:

Y [why] not 1st appeal 2 [to] authorities yet again 2 [to] explain the consequences nd [and] suggest alternatives. Development can occur without harming env [environment].

History of reef blasting in the Maldives

In 1986, cracks in the North East Reef of Male’ were observed by local environmentalists, Mohamed Zahir and Husain Manik, who believed they may have been caused by reef blasting. Later on the 14th of November 1990, the Southern Reef of Male’ was blasted using dynamite resulting in shockwaves and severe damages to several buildings. Local diver and environmentalist Husain Manik informed President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of severe damages to the Reef with photographic evidence, which led to strict polices on blasting of reefs.

According to The 2007 Audit Report of the Ministry of Construction and Public Infrastructure, the Ministry blasted a reef in the island of Vandhoo in Thaa Atoll without proper studies and the resulting damage caused a huge financial loss to the Government. To compensate for the damages, the Ministry paid MVR 1.7 million (about USD 100K) to islanders of Vandhoo and MVR 300K (about USD 20K) to neighboring island Hirilandhoo. Since then the Government has banned reef blasting. The Government has not conducted any assessments on the reef of Vandhoo Island and hence the damages to the reef has never been valued.

The Meedhoo Ismehela Hera Channel in Addu City

In 2011, to obtain sand for Herethere Resort, a proposal to dredge a channel between Meedhoo and Ismalehera Islands, was developed. A 2011 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) justifies the need for this channel, which was followed by the Addendum of 2016. The 2011 EIA envisages two main benefits as below:

(1)  To provide easy access between Addu and Fuvahmulah Cities via ferries

However, the Fuvahmulah Airport was constructed and began operation in 2012, which along with Gan International Airport based in Addu City became the major popular transportation mode for locals. The EIA hence underestimated the implications of air transportation’s dominance over ferries, and therefore need for the channel was not justified. There was no mention of development plans for the Addu City Seaport and International Airport and how this project may become obsolete in future with these major developments.

(2)  To decrease the cost of fuel for fishermen of Meedhoo Island

Although EIA 2011 and 2016 Addendum emphasizes fuel saving, no cost benefit analysis was provided. Also, the benefits including employment for small-scale fishers in Meedhoo, was mentioned but the impact of irreversible damage to the Reef and its marine life was not considered. Additionally, for tuna fisheries, baitfish is required and has to be obtained from the intra-atoll basin rather than by going out to open sea through this channel. Hence the benefits mentioned for fishermen in the EIA are not justifiable for this project.

2016 EIA Addendum

In 2012 the project was initiated and after using a one-ton air gun for almost two and half years of dredging the Channel, the project contractor realized it is impossible to break the beach rock formation underneath the Reef. One major reason was the Reef has become hard and stable over thousands of years. Hence, in 2016 an Addendum was submitted to determine the impacts of blasting the Reef using dynamite or any other suitable explosives. Given the complexity and uncertainty of impacts from such an explosion, the EIA review has shown that the blasting of reef does not comply with (a) The 1992 Rio Declaration signed by the Maldives, and (b) The Article 22 of the Constitution of the Maldives. Hence the initial EIA review has determined blasting the reef using dynamite should not be allowed and the project should seek other alternatives. However, the Housing Ministry appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the Maldives regarding the decision. After deliberation the EPA has permitted the project despite the irreversible damage that could be caused, and against the EIA reviewers initial recommendations. The EPA has issued a statement saying that the Ministry of Housing should be responsible for any damages from the blasting and acknowledged the inevitable irreversible damages of using explosives.

The project as a key vote swinger

The Government candidate for local council election from the Island of Meedhoo has been a strong supporter of this project. This project also has been used as an electoral incentive in the past. The local business elites, who control a large number of votes, are the main beneficiaries of this project. For instance, in 2013 election the incumbent President Mohamed Waheed was able to gain majority vote from Meedhoo by expediting this project through his Government. The project was then stopped due to a lack of finance. Later, during the parliamentary election, Qasim Ibrahim promised to finance it. The project contractor left in 2016 due to financial losses incurred and the project was stopped – until now. The upcoming local council elections has now become a major reason to continue the project as a means to gain vote for the Government candidate.

The questionable way this project has been prompted at a time of an election is highly controversial. In addition, the way the project was given a green light, shows the hypocrisy of the current Government in dealing with environment and climate change at the heart of the Maldives. The Environment Minister of Maldives, Thoriq Ibrahim, currently attending Conference of the Parties of UNFCCC (COP) 22 in Morocco, is asking for finance for adaptation. Back at home, he has allowed the destruction of a reef, the most important adaptive feature of an island. As opposed to his pledge to international community in June this year on strengthening EIA process in the country to reduce damage to coral reefs due to human activity he has allowed to blast an important reef of an island already faced with severe erosion.

Just a few kilometers north of this destruction there is a European Union (EU) and Australian Government jointly funded Climate Change Adaptation project. This project, located in the Hithadhoo Koattey and Edhigali Kilhi Protected Area, is funding various activities worth millions of dollars aimed at protection and sustainable use of the coastal marine environemnt. In the meantime, the Hithadhoo Koattey Area Reef, which was resistant to 1998 bleaching, has been reported to have recently shown traces of bleaching.

The Government of the Maldives has an obligation both under local environmental laws and international commitments to stop this destruction. The moratorium on prohibiting blasting of reefs should be enforced in the country already with weakened environmental monitoring and enforcement. Instead of pleading to international community and condemning their inaction on global climate change the country should ensure they do not destroy their critical natural resilience against climate change.

The blasting of this Reef will be an intergenerational theft that can never be repaid.


About the author:

Ibrahim Mohamed is a Ph.D. candidate at James Cook University, Australia. His research is on the adaptive capacity of islands of the Maldives to climate change. Prior to his Ph.D. scholarship from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia under Australia Awards, he was working in the Maldives Environmental Protection Agency as the Deputy Director General. He has also worked for the Maldives Climate Change Trust Fund managed projects related to adaptation and mitigation.

Photo: New Scientist

 

An eye for an eye, or save the lives of mankind?

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 09.31.11
by Shahindha Ismail

“…whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind” (Al-Mai’dah – 5:32)[1]

Some few of us have spoken on the penalty of death in the Maldives. We have discovered many, many flaws in the trials and processes of criminal justice that have led to the verdicts to kill. Those of us who spoke against implementing the sentence have faced some heavy criticism, if not harassment, for having spoken against it. We have been called anti-Islamic, defenders of criminals, and we have been labelled as disbelievers. It is quite interesting, the rigour with which some of us have defended the death sentence with Islam here in our small nation. A 100% Islamic state – at least according to the Constitution.

The first person to comment on my previous article about killing Humaam, Kirudhooni, concluded, “until a relative of the writer is brutally killed the voice is justified”. Allah forbid that a relative of anyone face such an end. I cannot speak for those who have lost loved ones to brutal murders, but I can certainly understand their pain. Little do you know, Kirudhooni, that I have had my relatives face some unimaginable pain and brutality around here. I don’t see any benefit in putting those perpetrators through the same pain. The benefit I do see, however, is to prevent them from causing further injustice to another, and it does not have to be through violent means. I do not believe in taking an eye for an eye – what would I do with that third eye anyway? The two that Allah blessed me with are just fine as they are.

وَجَزَاء سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِين 42:40

“But [remember that an attempt at] requiting evil may, too, become an evil: hence, whoever par­dons [his foe] and makes peace, his reward rests with God – for, verily, He does not love evildoers” (Ash-Shura)[2]

Thus the question that has burned a hole in my world of late: When did we become such a rancorous, unforgiving society?

It makes me wonder if our nation has always been like this. The answer I get every time is that no, we were a much gentler people. There were, of course, times when the whole country have shaken with the shock of those few events that we still hear of to this day – about the darkness, the iniquity of it. I do not believe it is our culture. It is what we call atrocities – what few people commit and the rest cannot relate with. There is the story of when Ibn Batuta, the Moroccan missionary who became a judge in the Maldives, first sentenced to cut the hands of a man, the people in the court fainted.[3]

Let us think about it. We have so much to think about, to do in a day, let alone a lifetime. Why should we resort to taking the life of another? I do not believe any of us have that right.

We, or at least many of us, have been raised with a common value. Forgiveness. As children our parents tell us to “let it go” many times. We carry that value close to heart through life, and eventually teach our children that vengeance serves no purpose, that bitterness is only a reflection of ourselves, and that forgiveness leads to peace. I wonder how many of the families who lost someone to brutal murders were reminded by the State of the concept of forgiveness in qisas. It appears to me that the notion of forgiveness associated with qisas in the Qur’an was deliberately omitted from the discourse. Why have our renowned sheikhs not spoken out about this issue? Not raised the aspect of forgiveness in these very trying times where a woman who lost her husband to a vicious slaying, the mother and father who lost a son in a blood bath, have faced the decision of whether they would like to have the man who is believed to have killed their loved one, killed in return? What state of mind are these families in when they are handed the fate of a man held captive? Was anyone asked if they would choose any other form of qisas?

وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالأَنفَ بِالأَنفِ وَالأُذُنَ بِالأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ فَمَن تَصَدَّقَ بِهِ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَّهُ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ 5:45

“And We ordained for them in that [Torah]: A life for a life, and an eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and a [similar] retribution for wounds; but he who shall forgo it out of charity will atone thereby for some of his past sins. And they who do not judge in accordance with what God has revealed – they, they are the evildoers!” (Al-Mai’dah)[4]

How unfortunate and unfair that the most beautiful and powerful portion of the verse has not been talked of in our society. “but he who shall forgo it out of charity will atone thereby for some of his past sins

وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُواْ بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُم بِهِ وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لِّلصَّابِرينَ 16:126

“Hence, if you have to respond to an attack (in argument], respond only to the extent of the attack levelled against you; but to bear yourselves with patience is indeed far better for you, since God is with] those who are patient in adversity” (An-Nahl)[5]

Did the courts ever remind a family that Allah is with those who are patient in adversity? That patience is better for them? More importantly, why have we, as a community, looked on when men and women, in their moment of great weakness and sorrow over the unjust killing of a loved one, have been fed with the tools to do away with another life, been fed more bitterness and vengeance in the face of that calamity that will have changed them forever from the gentle souls they were raised to be? I fear it may be too late if we look on.

ذَلِكَ وَمَنْ عَاقَبَ بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبَ بِهِ ثُمَّ بُغِيَ عَلَيْهِ لَيَنصُرَنَّهُ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَعَفُوٌّ غَفُورٌ 22:60

“Thus shall it be. And as for him who responds to aggression only to the extent of the attack levelled against him, and is thereupon [again] treacherously attacked – God will most certainly succour him: for, behold, God is indeed an absolver of sins, much-forgiving” (Al-Hajj)[6]

وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَاْ أُولِيْ الأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ 2:179

“for, in [the law of] just retribution, O you who are endowed with insight, there is life for you, so that you might remain conscious of God!” (Al-Baqara)[7]

Why have we not spoken of forgiveness entirely?

Have we been fooled to believe that Islam only teaches to take an eye for an eye? If this is so we will have a completely unforgiving nation a few generations down the line, would we not? Which turns my thoughts to the future. The generations that we will groom to lead us to peace and the right path – our children. Will we raise them to lead that dark life of hatred and vengeance?

No. The culture, the Islam, the identity of this small nation that our ancestors left us was something peaceful and gentle. We do not want to leave a legacy of blood for our children. We want them to learn that Allah is the ultimate owner of our souls, and that a life can only be given and taken by Him. Not on the streets and not by a state. We want them to have faith in truth and justice, and learn patience and forgiveness.

[1] www.islamicity.com

[2] www.islamicity.com

[3] Ibn Batuta in the Maldives and Ceylon, Albert Grey

[4] www.islamicity.com

[5] www.islamicity.com

[6] www.islamicity.com

[7] www.islamicity.com


 

Related:

Are we all going to kill Humaam?

Maldives state ready to kill Humam, and a way of life

Stop the death penalty, speak up

Shari’a and the death penalty: how Islamic is Marah Maru?

No sympathy for people like us

A tightening of the noose

Not in our name

Violence in the Maldivian family: why does it continue to breed despite the Domestic Violence Prevention Act?

HorseToWater

by H Abdulghafoor

Four years ago today, on 23 April 2012, the historic Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) entered the legal framework of the Maldives. The legislation gave some hope to those advocating preventing domestic violence and gender based violence, which according to available research affect 1 in 3 women in the country at some point in their lives.

Article 34 of the 2008 Constitution of the Maldives provides the fundamental right to every individual to marry and establish a family. It further says that,

The family, being the natural and fundamental unit of society, is entitled to special protection by society and the State.

The DVPA 2012 is among several laws that are intended to provide protection to the most vulnerable in society. It is the only law that specifically works to protect families from the social affliction of violence occurring within families. However, as the old cliché goes, you can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.

The family is indeed the fundamental unit of society. It is also where a significant number of the women who are primary carers of children and the elderly (not to mention the men), experience violence in all its forms – physically, psychologically and economically. The primary perpetrators of violence, as research tells us, are disproportionately men. Husbands, fathers, stepfathers and uncles are most common among perpetrators of domestic abuse.

The primary purpose of the DVPA 2012 is to criminalise domestic violence. The law further seeks to do a wide range of things. These include –

providing protection to victims of domestic violence;

to find justice for victims;

to prevent violence and rehabilitate perpetrators;

to increase stakeholder awareness about domestic violence to increase their competency to address the issue;

to identify civil and criminal liabilities of offenders and also,

to “comply with international standards for the prevention of domestic violence and to apply and enforce relevant principles of justice in accordance with such standards”.

The DVPA 2012 provides a comprehensive definition of what a “domestic relationship” is, clarifying the circumstances in which the law is applicable. These include connection through marriage, sharing the same residence, being related through parenthood or guardianship, connection through domestic service as well as those in an intimate relationship. In the Maldives, research has shown that 1 in 5 women experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner. Intimate partner violence is a debilitating form of violence from which many women are unable to escape. A vivid case in point among recent incidents is the sickening and brutal fatal assault by an estranged husband against his wife in Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo in December 2015.

The DVPA specifies 17 different acts of domestic violence ranging from physical and psychological violence to economic deprivation and property damage. Intimidation, harassment, stalking, coercion, confinement without consent, enforced impregnation to deter spousal separation as well as exposing a minor to acts of domestic violence are among notable acts criminalised by the law. However, the extent to which these definitions are helping to reach convictions or to apprehend perpetrators of abuse is questionable.

The Family Protection Authority (FPA) is an independent entity created by the DVPA. While Article 68 of the law says that the law will come into force with immediate effect upon publication in the Government Gazette, it took the government nearly six months to physically establish the FPA – and even then, on a shoestring. The Authority has yet to become fully functionally effective, being under-staffed and significantly under-funded, which is a pervasive issue afflicting the social services sector in the Maldives. In its initial few years, the FPA’s programming work was almost entirely funded by external donors such as UN agencies. For a country as rich with tourism dollars as the Maldives, it is a telling indicator of poor prioritisation and weak governance that the Maldivian State is unable to provide “special protection” to the family as the Constitution demands.

It is uncommon in the Maldives for laws to highlight the necessity for budgetary allocation. However, Article 55 of the DVPA specifically instructs the People’s Majlis to ensure that adequate funding is provided to implement the law by providing the necessary resources to relevant authorities such as the FPA and the police services. Nevertheless, the failure of the People’s Majlis and the government to uphold the law is amply evident in the resource-poor state of the FPA. In 2014, the FPA requested a budget of MVR 9.9 million of which MVR 2.3 million was facilitated. In 2015, the FPA applied for a budget of MVR 8.1 million of which MVR 4.6 million was facilitated. However, the authority was only able to expend 85% of its 2015 allocation due to government imposed restrictions on its expenditure.

As the oversight authority to ensure the implementation of the law, the FPA is assigned a sweeping mandate under Articles 52 and 53 of the DVPA. Despite minimal resources, the FPA has managed to exist and remain a credible entity due to the commitment of the team of young staff at the Authority, who are assisted by a supportive Board. The challenges faced by the FPA are vastly disproportionate to the level of State support the Authority receives. In its 2015 Annual Report, the FPA observed the following challenges to its work:

challenges to implement its mandate to raise public awareness due to inadequate resources including staff and funding

challenges to provide the necessary services to victims of violence and support them to productively participate in society due to lack of technical expertise

challenges to provide counselling services to support perpetrator rehabilitation due to lack of technical expertise.

FPA reports that in 2015, a total of 438 cases of domestic violence were reported to the Authority. These include 352 cases against women, 122 cases against men and 2 cases against the unborn child. What is clearly evident is that each year, the number of cases reported to the FPA has increased dramatically, from 19 cases in 2013, to 149 cases in 2014 to 438 cases in 2015. The inability of the government to provide resources to the FPA is indicative of a policy level disconnect with the reality of the prevalence of domestic violence in the Maldives.

Another sobering reality is that domestic violence cases rarely reach prosecution stage following investigation. One of the biggest challenges for prosecution is that victims of abuse often retract their statements after lodging complaints. They often do not want to pursue their claim for complex reasons, sometimes due to family situation and sensitivity to associated social stigma; economic dependency on the perpetrator; fear of reprisal as well as lack of confidence in the available protection services. In the Women’s Vision Report produced by UNDP in 2014, close to 75 percent of respondents rated domestic violence as their topmost personal concern from a list of twelve issues. Fourth on the list, with 56 percent was the challenge of accessing justice.

In May 2015, the criminal court fined a man MVR 200.00 (USD 13.00) for assaulting his wife and inflicting grievous bodily harm. To put this in perspective, the fine for a first time parking offence in Malé currently stands at MVR 250.00 (USD 16.00). At that time, domestic violence cases were being prosecuted using the old Penal Code of 1966, an obsolete law which has now been superseded by the new Penal Code which came into force in July 2015. Domestic violence issues do not take a linear route and prosecution of cases depends on several factors. The DVPA is fundamentally a law designed to prevent the occurrence of domestic violence and some would consider it a shortcoming of the law that it does not dwell on punitive measures. However, Article 35 of the DVPA specifies fines for persons who breach the conditions of Protections Orders, with a first time offence carrying a six month jail sentence or a fine not exceeding MVR 15,000.00. This cumulatively increases to three or more offences, carrying a three year jail sentence or a fine not exceeding MVR 50,000.00. Whether this clause of the DVPA has ever been used is not known at the time of writing. With the arrival of the new Penal Code, it is anticipated that prosecution is better equipped to seek just remedies for victims of domestic violence through the courts. It is once again, a weakness in the system that data is not available in the public domain on case prosecution of domestic violence incidents specifically.

The DVPA entrusts a duty of care to healthcare professionals to report suspected cases of domestic violence. However, it is notable that some doctors observe that this requirement is in conflict with their professional requirement to protect patient confidentiality. Such attitudes indicate a lack of understanding by health professionals of the law, its intent and the much broader problem domestic violence is in Maldivian society. FPA reports that in 2014, there were no reported cases of domestic violence to the Authority, from the largest tertiary hospital in Maldives, the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Malé. In 2015, the IGMH reported just 2 cases to the FPA. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of cases, a striking 66% of cases reported to the FPA in 2015, are from Malé.

The picture is the same with other health service providers. In order to address this knowledge gap among health professionals and health service providers, efforts are being made by the Health Protection Authority to inform and educate the health sector about their legal responsibility to respond to the issue of domestic violence. A compounding factor is the belief in Maldivian society, which clearly affects the behaviour of health professionals too, that violence against women is acceptable and permissible as per certain religious beliefs held by individuals. The law however, does not tolerate violence in any circumstance and specifies that duty bearers within the police, healthcare providers and the courts among others, must act to prevent and stop domestic violence.

One of the most important violence prevention tools provided in the DVPA is the instruction to the courts to provide Protection Orders to prevent acts of domestic violence. Article 18(c) of the DVPA states that “the fundamental objective of a protection order is to ensure the physical and psychological protection of the victims or potential victims of domestic violence, and to ensure their health and rights are protected and preserved.” Nevertheless, in the 2014 Annual Report of the FPA, the authority observed that most magistrates’ courts in the country do not have the form to issue a protection order. Such basic administrative short-comings malign the implementation of this important law to families, constitutionally entitled to “special protection by society and the State”.

A further barrier to the implementation of the DVPA is the alleged reports by implementing stakeholders that in some cases, magistrates refuse to issue Protection Orders as they perceive it to be “un-Islamic”. It is a fundamental flaw in the judicial system when a judge is allowed to choose which article of which law to apply at whim, based on personal beliefs. According to FPA, a total of six Protection Orders were issued in 2013, 12 in 2014 and 15 in 2015 in the entire country. The vast majority of these orders were issued by the Family Court in Malé. In the magistrates’ courts, a total of four Protection Orders were issued over this three year period. While the Protection Order is a critical component of the DVPA, the challenges to its implementation put women and families at risk of life-long trauma and entrapment in the cycle that domestic violence breeds.

The DVPA took time and effort to be brought into existence, to provide essential and worthy protections to safeguard the family. The law seeks to stop the dysfunction of violence happening within these fundamental building blocks of society. It seeks to break the cycle of violence afflicting families, often across generations. The will to fund and support the implementation of the law, however, is virtually non-existent. The reality of domestic violence in all its abhorrent forms runs insidiously in Maldivian society, frequently making disturbing news headlines. In many instances, mostly unreported, key stakeholders choose to dismiss the law, ignoring the professional and civic responsibility of its mandate, almost as though their individual beliefs can be held above the law. A system of accountability is yet to be established to ensure that law enforcement is adequately practiced by those mandated by the law. A system to ensure the effective implementation of the DVPA to protect the fundamental unit of society is taking far too long in becoming a reality, four years into its ratification.

The situation leaves room to say that when it comes to preventing domestic violence in the Maldives, the proverbial horse has been taken to the water. It simply refuses to drink.