President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih says the social system of Maldives has exposed a large percentage of youths to crimes, but that his administration’s objective was not to imprison young offenders but to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into the community.
He made the remark at the inauguration of the MDP Youth Congress this Saturday.
Speaking at the inauguration, Solih said the biggest challenge facing the Maldives is lack of housing, and the biggest impact of lack of housing is borne by the youth community.
“There is no lack of children in Male’ who grow up having to make a schedule to get any sleep. We see them growing up by associating themselves with neighbourhood gangs. They spend their youth on the streets, unable to go to school, and unable to receive adequate care from their families,” said Solih.
He stressed the need to rehabilitate and reintegrate the young men and women who are exploited by gangs and grow up living a life of crime.
But the solution is not life imprisonment, but rehabilitation from within the prison system said Solih.
He said there were currently more than 800 young offenders in need of rehabilitation.
Solih also highlighted on the rehabilitation programs run by the administration for drug offenders and noted that 65 per cent of the prison population was made up of drug offenders – the majority of whom are youths.
“The target is to introduce rehabilitation to the prison system. The target is to make youths responsible members of society. To establish justice for victims of injustice,” said Solih.
He said that 31 per cent of the Maldivian population was made up of young men and women between the ages of 18 to 34 years. And that a significant 29 per cent of the youth community was unemployed.
He said that employment was the biggest challenge facing the youth community.
“Youth unemployment is relatively high. Records show 29 per cent of people in the 18-year to the 34-year category are unemployed and are not involved in any educational or training program,” said Solih.
He said that eight per cent of the unemployed youths were actively seeking work.
“This shows that though the percentage of unemployed youths who are actively seeking, but have had no luck in finding employment is relatively low, there also exists a significant percentage of youths who are unable to enter the labour market, or aren’t actively seeking employment for various reasons,” said Solih.
He noted that a large percentage of the youths who haven’t entered the labour market are women, and appealed to employers to design flexible working conditions for such women.
Solih said his administrations were designed to enable young men and women to obtain education and training without them or their parents having to incur debt within the process.
The current administration has launched a program to award scholarships for bachelor’s degree students at local universities.
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Source URL: Sun.mv