Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises sex between men
  • Criminalises sex between women
Penal Code 2014, S. 410(a)(8) Unlawful Marriage

Section 410(a)(8) prohibits same-sex marriage with a penalty of up to one year imprisonment.1

Penal Code 2014, S. 411(a)(2) Unlawful Sexual Intercourse

Section 411(a)(2) criminalises intercourse between persons of the same sex with a penalty of up to eight years imprisonment. Section 411(d) permits an additional penalty under Sharia law of 100 lashes. This provision is applicable to both men and women.2

Penal Code 2014, S. 412 Unlawful Sexual Contact

Section 412 prohibits sexual contact with a person of the same sex with a penalty of up to eight years imprisonment. This law applies equally to men and women.3

Enforcement

2015

In September, police reportedly arrested two men aged 56 and 27 in their private home on the island of Dhaandhoo after receiving a complaint alleging homosexual activity.

2014

Speaking about a Maldivian gay man who sought refuge in New Zealand following reported acts of persecution, a spokesman for the President’s office indicated in June that refugees would be prosecuted upon their return to the Maldives: “The threat from the state they speak of is in actuality our law and regulations. That will not change.”

In Malé, the capital of Maldives, a trial for alleged homosexual conduct between a military officer and a security guard began in January.

2013

In August, two men were arrested for reportedly engaging in “homosexual activities.”

Statements by Public Figures

2015

In his opening statement at its second UPR cycle, then Maldives’ Foreign Minister, Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed, said “calls to introduce values and practices that are contrary to the values of Islam, will not be entertained by the people of Maldives.” He further stated that “the people of Maldives, through a democratic process, have rejected freedom of religion, LGBT, and non-traditional forms of family.”

The people of Maldives, through a democratic process, have rejected freedom of religion, LGBT, and non-traditional forms of family.

Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed, Former Maldives Foreign Minister

2014

In February, former Home Minister, Umar Naseer, criticised the “imperialist” attitude of foreign NGOs, stating: “Homosexuality and marrying of same sex people are from the examples of these unnatural and foreign ideologies to Islam… these ideologies are totally against Islam and are forbidden in Islam.

Persecution and Discrimination

2017

The US Department of State Human Rights Report for the Maldives stated that “there were no reports of officials complicit in abuses against LGBTI persons. Although societal stigma likely discouraged individuals from reporting such problems. NGOs reported several members of the LGBTI community sought refuge in Sri Lanka after societal shaming related to their sexual orientation.”

2014

In a submission to the second UPR cycle in September, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative stated that “the unsatisfactory legal situation [in the Maldives] discourages individuals from reporting crimes and incidents relating to LGBT related violence and harassment.”

The United Nations Population Fund also submitted that “Stereotypes of homosexual men are often portrayed in the media as effeminate and objects of ridicule. The public sector family planning programme including condoms is couple based.’[ii]

In June, a group of men were reportedly attacked for being “gay atheists”. The attackers were recorded as saying: “You homosexual atheists are destroying our country – we will not stand back and watch you do it.

The US Department of State 2014 Human Rights Report notes that the Ministry of Islamic Affairs continued to block websites considered anti-Islamic or pornographic. As of October a 2011 Telecommunications Authority ban on a local blog, Hilath.com continued. The original ban came at the request of the Islamic Ministry because of the blog’s alleged anti-Islamic content. The blog was known for promoting religious tolerance, as well as discussing the blogger’s sexual orientation.

2013

In April, an openly gay blogger had his throat cut. He has since fled the country.

2011

In its national report at its first UPR cycle, the Maldives claimed that there was little or no intolerance against LGBT people, at least at the institutional level. However, the report also states that there were governmental concerns about calls from extremist groups to persecute actively LGBT people.

Legislative News

2016

In its concluding observations in March, the Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the Maldives Government to amend its legislation in order to eliminate any discrimination and criminalisation against LGBT children.

2015

The Maldives new Penal Code 2014 came into force in July, replacing the existing Penal Code that dated back to 1968. In a public statement, the Maldives Foreign Minister described the enactment as a “momentous milestone” and said: “the Code illustrates the Government’s conviction to protect and promote human rights, eradicate discrimination and widen the sphere of economic, political and civil rights to Maldivians.” Among the provisions in the new code are the prohibition on same-sex sexual intercourse under Section 411, which carries a penalty of up to eight years’ imprisonment, and an additional punishment of 100 lashes under Sharia law. A draft of the law was prepared by the Criminal Law Research Group at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Professor Paul Robinson, with technical support provided by UNDP. Under the draft code, the maximum penalty for homosexual intercourse was 1 year imprisonment and 100 lashes.

2015

At its second UPR cycle, the Maldivian delegation stated that the Maldives could not accept a recommendation from Argentina to “Guarantee that LGBTI persons have full and equal enjoyment of their human rights by repealing the norms that criminalize and stigmatize them.”

2011

At its first UPR cycle, the Maldives rejected recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual conduct. In the report, the state suggests that there are no laws enacted to protect sexual minorities from discrimination.

Footnotes
1. Penal Code 2014, S. 410(a)(8) Unlawful Marriage

“(a) Unlawful Marriage. A person commits an offense if:

(8) two persons of the same sex enter into a marriage” Full text.

2. Penal Code 2014, S. 411(a)(2) Unlawful Sexual Intercourse

“(a) Unlawful Intercourse. A person commits an offense if:

(2) he engages in sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex.

(f) Definitions.

(2) “Same-sex intercourse means”;

(A) Insertion by a man his sexual organ or any object into the anus of another man for sexual gratification. Or the insertion into another mans mouth the penis of a man or

(B) Insertion of a woman’s organ or any object into the vagina or anus of another woman for sexual gratification.” Full text.

3. Penal Code 2014, S. 412 Unlawful Sexual Contact

“(a) Unlawful Intercourse. A person commits an offense if:

(5) if the person married or unmarried has sexual contact with a person prohibited for marriage by virtue of being a close relative, or being breast fed by the same mother, or due to marriage. The offense is a Class 5 felony.

(c) Prohibition. “prohibited sexual contact” means indecent acts other than the offenses prescribed under Section 411 (a) of this Code, with a person of same sex, or with a person of the opposite sex other than with a person to whom he is married, or with an animal, for obtaining sexual gratification.” Full text.

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