The Maldives



2018 population growth rate


Estimated prevalence among girls and women aged 15-49

According to UNICEF, 13% of girls and women have undergone female genital cutting (FGC) in The Maldives. 

Type practised

Unknown. Neighbouring countries that practice FGC carry out Type I, Type II and Type IV.

Legal status

There is no specific law against FGC in the Maldives.

Challenges to ending FGC

  • FGC was thought to have died out in the Maldives in the 1990s, however an emergent religious conservatism in the country since the early 2000s appears to have brought a resurgence in the practice. In 2009, the then Attorney General Husnu Suood raised concerns about “circumcision of girls…going on with a new spirit” in the Maldives.
  • Some Maldivian religious clerics have promoted FGC and linked the practice with Islam, despite it not being an obligation of any religion. In a fatwa issued in 2012, one highly influential cleric, Dr. Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef, concluded that women should undergo the practice.
  • It is notable that non-Muslims cannot be Maldivian citizens, suggesting that if the population follows the suggestion of influential Muslim clerics, prevalence of FGC amongst girls and women could be high.
  • Women’s rights activist, Shadiya Ibrahim, noted in 2011 that in the Maldives, “being a woman is harder now”, supporting other reports that Maldivian society was becoming increasingly oppressive to women.

Source: Minivan News, Religious Literacy Institute & The Sydney Morning Herald

Human Development Index ranking

101 in 2018 index, based on 2017 data.

Infant mortality rate

7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births (2016).

Maternal mortality rate

68 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015).

Source: Human Development Index

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