Above image sourced via vinienco
The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay has found herself at the center of contentious protests for publicly berating the Maldives for their capricious treatment of women. Specifically Mrs Pillay has gone on record to state that women in the Indian Ocean region have been subjected to increasing levels of harsh and cruel punishment at the hands of authorities. Their offense? Having extra marital affairs outside of their marriages.
‘This practice constitutes one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women,”
She also goes on to note that men who also have affairs outside of their marriages are rarely sited and certainly not subjected to the punishment that authorities more than ever are resolute to subjecting to women.
Her comments were met with widespread condemnation the day after following her comments, with protesters clamoring outside the UN building holding placards demanding that the UN be banned and “Islam is not a toy.” Websites also went on to extoll the UN, with one promising ‘slaughter against anyone opposed to Islam.”
One can only wonder as to the hardlined and immediate reaction to Navi Pillay’s statements, and who organized local protesters to quickly react.
With a growing schism between fundamentalist and moderate Muslims (the local faith in the Maldives) attitudes are divided as to the direction of religion in the Maldives as well as the role of women who fundamentalist insist follow tight definitions of how Islamic women must behave and display themselves in public. In fact some local groups have been vocal about advocating circumsicion for women and even keeping girls from attending school.
All of which raises the question as to how a modern society goes about viewing the role of women, especially one that is adamant in adhering strict fundamentalist codes in with keeping with the country’s faith? Of course this raises some degree of suspicion as to why a hardcore line towards women remains the standard in this enclave despite a loosening in other Islamic states in the region.
As for the flogging itself it is done in very public settings with a paddle or cane with the intention of humiliating perpetrators as opposed to physically hurting them. Although it seems obvious the design of this type of punishment is designed for the express provision of deterring women seeking redress and equal rights for fear of being subjected to said punishment.
At present stalled legislation (14 months already) exists to counter domestic violence against women, no date as of yet has been set to re visit the issue.
Reiterates one local official:
”Men in the Maldives feel that the women’s role is reproductive and in the home. That’s what women should do and that’s all we should do.’
So much for equal rights and redress of women in this part of the world…