Trouble in Paradise
A friend told me a couple of weeks ago that he once went on one of those ‘all expenses paid’ holidays to the Caribbean with a girlfriend and hated it. They were on a compound surrounded by barbed wire, “to keep out the locals” and his attempts to go into the local town to see a bit of life were always met with a stern warning that it would be ‘too dangerous’. He described it as ‘like living in a (sunny, sandy) bubble’, cut off from the real world.
The UK media are always a bit shocked when they hear about ‘trouble in paradise’ – the military coup in Fiji, gun violence in Jamaica, and now a story that we released yesterday about honeymoon islands the Maldives (reportedly visited by 70,000 Brits every year).
180 people are facing flogging in the Maldives, over 140 of them women, just for having (consenting) sex outside of marriage. This brutal punishment shouldn’t be inflicted on anyone, let alone for a completely non-violent offence. And once again it is women who bear the brunt of it – yet presumably men were involved at some point in the ‘crime’.
The new President, Mohammed “Ani” Nasheed, has made strong promises to bring human rights to the Maldives, and Farah Faizal, the Maldivian High Commissioner to London, told the Telegraph "Flogging is part of the penal code which we are in the process of revising."
But for the time being, holidaymakers should maybe have a look into the human rights record of “paradise” before they buy their suntan lotion and set off.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.