Malé, Maldives – The Children’s Ombudsperson’s Office today stated that the office has requested a criminal investigation against the management of state children’s shelter “Kudakudhinge Hiya” following repeated incidents of fire in 2021.
On 4 May 2021 the Children’s Ombudsperson’s Office informed Ministry of Family Gender, Family and Social Services that there were,
- no fire safety equipment at the Kudakudhinge Hiya following investigations of a fire earlier that month.
- no emergency protocols for the state children’s shelter despite the Regulation for Alternative Care (R-69/2020).
The Ombudsperson’s Office stated that the aforementioned actions indicate negligence and,
An infringement to the right of; life, a safe environment and the best interest of the child under the Children’s Rights Protection Act, 2019 (Act No. 19/2019).
Pledging to use the full authority granted by the Maldives legislature to the office, the Children’s Ombudperson’s Office has requested the Maldives Police Service for a criminal investigation of the management of the Kudakudhinge Hiya regarding the fires at the shelter on 4 May 2021 and 6 June 2021.
Although not mentioned by the Children’s Ombudperson’s Office, there was a third fire at the Kudakudhinge Hiya on 29 July 2021.
Another children’s shelter in the greater Malé area “Fiyavathi” faced a crisis situation in September 2021 after the management lost control of the wards at the state.
The Ombudperson’s Office highlighted in their statement that the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services were given 9 recommendations in order to prevent a repeat of such an incident.