publisher calls for action against Maldives
ETN publisher and Pacific Asia Travel
Association board member, Juergen Thomas
Steinmetz, has thrown his support behind
campaigns to boycott the Maldives' tourism
He said his publication, ETurboNews, would not
accept advertising or press releases from any
Maldives government agency until the government
ends human rights abuses against women.
ETN's online news called for tourism industry
support for an outright boycott of Maldives'
tourism until the country's leaders end the
practice of flogging as a form of punishment as
well as those that criminalise "fornication."
In the ETN report, Steinmetz slammed the
country's human rights abuses: "I am outraged on
hearing that a 15-year-old girl, who has
survived rape by her stepfather and a resultant
pregnancy, has now been found guilty of
"fornication" and sentenced to flogging and
"I am an active member of the UNWTO World
Tourism Network on Child Protection, and as a
world citizen, I cannot be silenced about this.
No civilised country should get away with such a
nightmare system of justice."
eTN readers are being urged to sign a campaign
by world citizens' group, Avaaz, which has more
than 20 million members in 194 countries. The
petition can be found at:
Avaaz states on its website: "Tourism is the big
earner for the Maldives elite, including
government ministers. With a million-strong
petition to President Waheed, we'll threaten the
islands' reputation through hard-hitting ads in
travel magazines and online until he abolishes
this outrageous law," the site declares.
"The girl's stepfather raped her for years and
then murdered the baby she bore. Now the court
is punishing her for "sex outside marriage".
Former secretary general of the Maldives
Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), Mohamed
Ibrahim Sim, said he doubted a tourism boycott
would "change the government's position on
"The religious faction [in the government] is
stronger than ever before. It will not affect
government policy in any way - it will just
attract negative publicity," he said.
Sim observed: "[Tourists] have no idea what is
going on in the real Maldives, and they probably
don't want to know," he said.
"They come here for a relaxing, stress-free
The 15-year-old from the island of Feydhoo in
Shaviyani Atoll appeared in the Juvenile Court
on February 26 and was convicted for premarital
sex, and sentenced to 100 lashes and eight
months of house arrest.
"The little girl will not be flogged for another
two years, so we must look at what can be done
[in the meantime]," Sim said.
The local Haveeru newspaper quoted an unnamed
official from the prosecutor's office saying
that the fornication charge was unrelated to the
rape which had been separately dealt with.
Women, including minors, having consensual sex
outside marriage can be charged in the Maldives,
where convicts can be publicly flogged. Minors
receive the punishment when they reach 18, the
age of majority.
Source: eTN and TTR Daily
March 26, 2013