C. Principal areas of concern and recommendations

Marriage and family relations

44. The Committee welcomes forthcoming amendments to the Family Act to regulate the distribution of matrimonial assets upon divorce. The Committee notes with grave concern that consensual sexual relations outside marriage are still punished with flogging sentences, a situation that disproportionately affects women and girls and deters them from reporting sexual offences. The Committee also regrets the existence of legal exceptions to the minimum age of marriage of 18 years, upon the discretionary power of the Registrar of Marriages, as well as the high number of unregistered marriages in rural and remote areas, including child marriages, which have a negative impact on the educational and employment opportunities of girls. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned about the permissibility of polygamy, the presence of financial safeguards for female spouses notwithstanding, and its negative consequences on women’s economic rights upon divorce, in the light of the high divorce rate in the State party.

45. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) As a matter of urgency, decriminalize and abolish the imposition of flogging as a sentence for consensual sexual relations outside marriage, as recommended by the Committee in its previous concluding observations (CEDAW/C/MDV/CO/3, para. 34);

to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CEDAW-Maldives-2015-eng

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