The president of the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has appointed the country’s first two women judges, and a third is expected to join them this week. Aisha Shujoon Mohamed and Huzaifa Mohamed were sworn in as judges for the Civil Court and for the Family Court, respectively. The appointments follow recommendations by UN Special Rapporteur Leandro Despouy to end gender discrimination within the Maldives’ judiciary by nominating women judges.
The Maldives has been criticized by human rights and women’s rights groups for the unwarranted arrests of activists and abuse of prisoners. In March 2006, the government of the Maldives adopted a “Roadmap for the Reform Agenda,” an aggressive plan to improve the protection of human rights, and lead the country towards a democracy through a new constitution.