UN concern over Maldives reinstatement of death penaltyListen /
Authorities in the Maldives have overturned a 60 year moratorium on the use of capital punishment in the country, a move which has been criticised by the UN human rights office.
The new regulation allows for people charged with "intentional murder" to be sentenced to death.
The age of criminal responsibility in the Maldives is 10 years old, but for offences within the Islamic Sharia law or Hadd, children as young as seven can be held responsible.
Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said the application of the death penalty for minors was "regrettable".
"Under international law, people who are charged with and convicted for offences they have committed under 18 years of age should not be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without possibility of release. International human rights treaties, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Maldives has ratified, impose an absolute ban on the death sentence against people below the age of 18 at the time when the offence was committed." (24″)
Ms Shamdasani said her office has urged the Maldives government to retain its moratorium on the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, particularly in cases that involve juvenile offenders.
The government has also been asked to work towards abolishing the practice altogether.
Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.