Cutting a deal with the devil?

The opposition today backed the first amendment to the Maldives Constitution and set new age-limits of 30-65 years for the presidency. The vote is widely perceived as a deal made in exchange for two months of house arrest for jailed opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed.

The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) is seeking to replace vice-president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, who some MPs have accused of incompetence and disloyalty. Tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb is expected to take over the vice-presidency.

The vote has bitterly divided opposition supporters and leaders.

Opposition Jumhooree Party (JP) MP Ali Hussein said:

Critics say the vote is undemocratic and argue the Constitution is not to be toyed with in the interests of a few. But supporters describe the deal as pragmatic, and claim Nasheed’s transfer to house arrest offers hope of an end to a five-month long political crisis.

The great fall

For some, the amendment is a victory for the opposition as it “eliminates” three strongmen from Maldivian politics; vice-president Jameel, former president of 30 years Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is now in his early 80s, and JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, who contested in both the 2008 and 2013 presidential polls, but will be 66 and ineligible in the 2018 election.

Jameel is particularly unpopular among Nasheed’s supporters. He led a religious-nationalist campaign against Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government. In a 2013 campaign speech, he said: “Even if you [Nasheed] are elected, we will not hand over power. You will always remain in prison.”

Here’s one celebratory tweet:

Meanwhile, Gasim’s forced retirement from politics brings many, a great relief. He was a key figure in the fall of Gayoom’s 30-year-dictatorship. Although he backed Nasheed in the 2008 polls, the tourism tycoon played a key role in Nasheed’s ouster in 2012. He then helped Yameen defeat the MDP in 2013.

In January, he allied with the MDP in an anti-government campaign, but abandoned ship when the government slapped a US$90.4million fine on his tourism businesses. The “kingmaker’s” retirement will level the playing field between the two major parties, the PPM and the MDP.

“At the very least, we have been saved from these two,” said an opposition supporter.

If Adeeb is appointed to the vice-presidency, it will undermine the Gayoom family’s hold on power. The PPM had, in fact, backed the amendment against Gayoom’s wishes. The former president, who also heads the PPM, said last week: “There is no point to a man whose opinions are of no value staying on as PPM president.”

Gayoom’s son, MP Faris Maumoon, was absent from today’s vote.

President Yameen, as Gayoom’s half-brother, was elected on his popularity and Gasim’s backing. But in the past 18 months, he has created his own power base, with hand picked MPs and ministers. His right-hand man is tourism minister Adeeb.

New political actors

Why the sudden drive to replace the vice-president? PPM MPs have said Jameel is incompetent. But the opposition claims Yameen is fatally ill and is seeking a loyal deputy ahead of a major surgery. It is precisely Adeeb’s rise to power that some opposition supporters fear. He has been accused of massive corruption and illicit connections with gangs. Why tamper with the Constitution to bring an unelected minister to power?

Azim Zahir, a political science student at the University of Sydney, said: “This amendment is clearly undemocratic as its objectives are to ultimately negate the democratic impulse behind giving the people a direct say in the election of a vice-president and also negates the electoral wish of a majority in 2013.

“It allows changes to the constitution at the wish and whim of the government of the day, and in this case that wish is to appoint as vice-president, a politician perceived as highly corrupt and suspected in egregious crimes such as torching of TV stations, and abduction of journalists.”

But one opposition MP asked how today’s vote had been undemocratic:

Aishath Velezinee, a whistle-blower and former member of the judicial watchdog, said: “The problem is not the substance of the constitutional amendment, but the manner and purpose of that amendment.”

Fuwad Thowfeek, the former Elections Commissioner, agreed: “As a matter of principle, I don’t believe that anyone should support a change in any article of our constitution for the personal gain of anyone or any party.”

Supporters of the vote, however, say Adeeb is and will continue to run the show with or without the constitutional amendment. Although there have been no changes to the letter of the Constitution until today, the parliament and the Supreme Court have violated its spirit with the dismissal of the Auditor General, the guidelines for the elections commission and the human rights watchdog, and the dismissal of the Chief Justice.

Honor the deal?

More pressing are the following questions: Will the government honor its promise and keep Nasheed under house arrest? Why didn’t the opposition demand Nasheed’s unconditional release? Was a constitutional amendment worth eight weeks of house arrest?

What kind of precedent are we setting if we allow the government of the day to hold opposition leaders to ransom for votes?

Previous political compromises have not worked out well for the MDP. For instance, in 2010, the MDP reached a compromise on appointments to the Supreme Court and the appointment of unqualified judges to the judiciary. Those same judges sentenced Nasheed and other opposition politicians to jail this year.

In 2013, Nasheed and the MDP accepted the findings of a Commonwealth-backed inquiry that the 2012 transfer of power was constitutional. The lack of accountability for the unlawful transfer of power haunts the Maldives to this day. Isn’t it high time the MDP learnt from its mistakes?

But, opposition supporters say the MDP was forced to compromise then and now due to the political reality of the day. Although the MDP is the largest political party, it continues to face a hostile parliament, judiciary and security forces. Democracy is won through hard compromises and dirty deals.

Supporters say a deal is necessary as President Yameen has refused to back down despite the mounting diplomatic pressure, the daily protests and the historic marches of February 27 and May 1.

“To free a man held by a terrorist organization, you must make a deal. You cannot argue on legal principles,” said Mujthaba Saeed, an MDP member. “I do not trust the government. They might take Nasheed back to jail at any moment. But what we are trying to do is to find a path forward from a slim chance.”


Many of Nasheed’s supporters say his release alone will energize and reinvigorate the opposition’s campaign. They also hope that the government will compromise further by dropping charges against hundreds of protesters and free jailed leaders.

“We are incapacitated to stand up for ourselves without this one unique single person who inspires us. I selfishly want to see Nasheed free because all hope for freedom of expression and right to assembly are weakening day by day when Nasheed remained in jail. Less and less people turn up to protest. But today, it just seems more alive, people are talking about this, people care, There is hope,” said Ifham Niyaz.

Others have called for soul-searching. “Sell your votes in every election. Stay at home and criticize every move? Have you no shame?” asked one supporter. Another said: “It is Nasheed who must rot in jail. It is Nasheed who must protest on the street. But I, I will stay home and tweet.”

The disappointment has led still others to call for a new political ideology and new political leaders. But who will that be? Azim, the PHD student at Sydney University said: “I don’t know. I’m just saying democratic, utopian energies and hopes have been exhausted. Current times, crises, open up for new possibilities and new people. I just wish there could be such visions and such people and such parties. I suspect many people share these same sentiments, but this may not be sufficient enough for a change within the next five years.”


Some opposition supporters have censured critics for the storm of criticism against the MDP for choosing a deal. “Where were all these critics when MDP was alone on the streets?” asked one Twitter user.

“No one had an opinion when the constitution was raped by Gayooms so that they could come back. Even now, the only point they want to discuss is MDP cutting a deal,” said photographer Munshid Mohamed on Facebook. In reply, his friend said: “If Gayoom’s and PPM actions are the standard for our commitment to democracy, then we’ve lost before we even started.”

For many, this is the sticking point. They expect better of MDP. The party in January had urged the public to follow it in a campaign to defend the constitution. But today they voted to amend the same constitution.

“I thought about it, I can’t agree with the MDP. If this is pragmatism – then so is the guy who sells his vote for an Air Conditioning unit,” said blogger Yameen Rasheed.

One thing is clear. The people deserve to know more. If the government and the opposition are making deals, it must be through open and transparent negotiations. MDP stands more to lose than any other party with the current opacity. As a party that stands for democracy, it cannot ask its supporters to blindly trust all of its decisions.


Majlis amends constitution, sets new age-limits for presidency

The parliament today passed the first amendment to the constitution with overwhelming tripartisan support to set an age limit of 30 to 65 years for the presidency and the vice presidency.

A total of 78 MPs of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives-Maldives Development Alliance (PPM-MDA) coalition and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party (JP) voted in favour of the proposed change.

The ruling coalition is seeking to replace vice-president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed with tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb, who is 33 and ineligible for the post.

The constitution states that presidential and vice presidential candidates must be 35 years of age.

Pro-government MPs have publicly accused Jameel of disloyalty and incompetence, but opposition politicians and some media outlets have claimed that President Abdulla Yameen is seeking a loyal deputy ahead of a life-threatening surgery.

Several PPM MPs have said that Adeeb will become the next vice president, but Jameel can only be replaced if he either resigns or is impeached with a two-third majority of parliament.

The revision to article 109(c) marks the first time the constitution has been changed since its adoption in August 2008. The change will take effect upon ratification by the president.

The amendment was passed with 78 votes in favour and two against. Independent MP Ahmed Mahloof and JP MP Ali Hussain cast dissenting votes.

Mahloof said in a tweet last night that he would vote against the amendment. “I respect JP and MDP’s decision,” he added.

The support of MDP and JP MPs was necessary to pass the amendment as the PPM-MDA coalition has 48 seats in the 85-member house and a three-quarters majority or 64 votes was needed to amend the constitution.

The MDP and JP parliamentary groups issued three-line whips last night for its MPs to back the amendment, prompting speculation of a deal with the government after former President Mohamed Nasheed’s house arrest was extended to eight weeks last night.

MDP parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that the main opposition party stood to gain more from backing the amendments than opposing it.

Nasheed, who was serving a 13-year prison sentence at the high-security Maafushi jail, was transferred to house arrest on Sunday. President Yameen authorised the transfer.

Nasheed’s arrest in February and subsequent conviction on terrorism charges triggered a political crisis with daily protests, mass anti-government demonstrations, and hundreds of arrests.

The 19-day terrorism trial was widely criticised over its apparent lack of due process and international pressure has been mounting on the government to release the opposition leader and other jailed “political prisoners.”

JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, who has been out of the country since late April, had urged JP MPs to vote for the amendments and announced his retirement from politics. The amendments bar the business tycoon from contesting the 2018 presidential election as he would be 66 years at the time.

The government has frozen the bank accounts of Gasim’s Villa Group and several subsidiary companies over US$90.4 million allegedly owed as unpaid rent and fines.

Two senior JP members, Ameen Ibrahim and Sobah Rasheed, are meanwhile overseas in self-imposed exile after the prosecutor general pressed terrorism charges against the pair in the wake of a mass protest on May 1.

The JP leaders along with Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla are accused of inciting violence at the 20,000-strong anti-government rally.

During today’s sitting of parliament, PPM MP Ahmed Nihan said ruling coalition MPs will not speak during the final debate on the amendments.

MDP MP Ibrahim Naseer said he backed the amendment as the party has issued a three-line whip for the vote.

The MDP has always advocated increasing opportunities for youth, he said, and lowering the age limit for presidential candidates would enable young people to reach the highest office of the state.

No other MP asked to speak during the debate.

The amendment was submitted earlier this month by MDA MP Mohamed Ismail, who said during the preliminary debate that he proposed the 65-year cap as the president should be “young, intelligent, daring, active, and energetic.”

The deal

The apparent deal between the government and opposition parties has divided opinion among opposition supporters and sparked debate on social media.

While some have condemned amending the constitution to benefit an individual and accused opposition MPs of abandoning principles, others argued the possible release of opposition politicians would justify the move.

MDP MP Fayyaz Ismail and MDP chairperson Ali Waheed defended the party’s stand, but former attorney general Husnu Suood questioned its wisdom.


JP MP Ali Hussain suggested that the opposition has capitulated while JP deputy leader Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan said the MDP and JP has made a “mockery” of supporters who came out to protest under the ‘Maldivians against tyranny’ banner.


President asks UN for help to resolve political crisis

President Abdulla Yameen has invited a UN team to the Maldives to help resolve the Maldives’ political crisis triggered by the imprisonment of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed.

In a phone call with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, President Yameen asked for help “to cool down” the Maldives’ political crisis. Ban welcomed the offer, a statement by the foreign ministry said.

Nasheed, who is serving a 13-year-jail term on terrorism charges, was transferred to house arrest on Sunday for health reasons. His house arrest was extended by eight weeks, hours after the opposition parties announced they would support a government-backed constitutional amendment to set new age-limits to the presidency.

The amendment passed today with overwhelming bipartisan support.

International pressure has been mounting on the government to release Nasheed and other jailed opposition leaders. Ex-defence ministers Mohamed Nazim and Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu were jailed in March.

Sheikh Imran Abdulla, the president of the Adhaalath Party, is in police custody until a trial on terrorism charges concludes. Two senior Jumhooree Party (JP) officials have fled the country days before terrorism charges were filed. JP leader and MP Gasim Ibrahim has been abroad since late-April in the wake of sanctions on his businesses.

President Yameen, however, told Ban there are no political prisoners in the Maldives. Jailed opposition politicians were convicted of criminal offences, he said.

He assured Ban that the government has opened doors for Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to sit for talks without conditions, the foreign ministry statement said.

However, the President’s Office has previously ruled out negotiations over Nasheed and Nazim’s release and rejected representatives put forth by MDP and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party i.e. Nasheed and Imran, on the grounds that they are serving jail sentences or in police custody.

Discussions with Gasim’s JP, however, are ongoing.

President Yameen also told Ban he had rejected Nasheed’s appeal for clemency and asked the opposition leader to first exhaust all appeal processes.

Nasheed maintains the criminal court has blocked him from filing an appeal by failing to provide required court documents within the 10-day appeal period. Lawyers say the law is silent on late appeals and that there is now no mechanism to file an appeal.

The government, however, insists Nasheed can still appeal.

A New-Delhi based advocacy NGO, the Asian Center for Human Rights (ACHR), has meanwhile reiterated a call on the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Maldives in its ongoing session.

The NGO, which has special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, on June 16 urged the UNHRC to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Maldives and to suspend the Maldives from the council.

The Maldives was first elected to the council in 2010 and re-elected for a second term in November 2013.

The ACHR said President Yameen has taken more draconian measures since its June 16 statement. It noted the Supreme Court had ruled a Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) report to the UN unlawful and issued a 11-point guideline on the watchdog.

“The president of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Human Rights Council ought to take necessary measures against such reprisals for cooperating with the United Nations human rights mechanisms,” the statement saud.

No other Supreme Court in the world has passed such restrictions on national human rights watchdogs for cooperating with the UN, the NGO said.

The ACHR also blamed government’s economic sanctions for Gasim’s announcement he will retire from politics and censured the government for hiring a UK based private law firm, chaired by Cherie Blair, the wife of ex-UK PM Tony Blair, to strengthen democracy consolidation.

“That the government of Maldives decided to hire a private law firm rather than seeking support of the United Nations for democratic reforms once again shows that President Yameen is not committed to democratic reform,” the ACHR said.


Nasheed’s house arrest extended, opposition backs age-limits for presidency

Former president Mohamed Nasheed’s temporary transfer to house arrest has been extended as opposition parties announced tonight support for a constitutional amendment setting new age-limits for the presidency.

A family member has confirmed Nasheed’s three-day house arrest was extended to eight weeks, after a doctor advised a stress-free environment and rest for back pain.

The opposition leader is serving a 13-year jail term on a terrorism conviction relating to the arrest of a judge during his tenure. The rushed trial was widely criticized for its apparent lack of due process.

MPs of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party and the Jumhooree Party (JP), at separate meetings, decided to back a ruling coalition proposed law to set an age limit of 30 – 65 years for the presidency.

The decision has fuelled speculation of a deal between the government and the MDP conditioning backing for the amendment on Nasheed’s transfer to house arrest.

Nasheed’s imprisonment has triggered a political crisis with three months of daily protests, historic marches and arrests numbering in the hundreds. Several foreign governments and the EU have called for his release.

The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) is seeking to replace vice-president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed with tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb. Adeeb is 33 now and ineligible for the vice-presidency as the Constitution states candidates must be 35.

PPM MPs have accused Jameel of disloyalty and incompetence, but opposition politicians and some media outlets have claimed President Abdulla Yameen is fatally ill and is seeking a loyal deputy ahead of a surgery.

The government has previously dismissed rumors regarding the president’s health.

Wednesday vote

The amendment is up for the vote at Wednesday’s sitting. A three-quarters majority or 64 votes will be required for it to pass.

The PPM and its ally the Maldivian Development Alliance only control 48 seats of the 85-member house. The JP has 11 MPs while the MDP has 22 MPs.

The JP, at a parliamentary group meeting, issued a three-line whip. Only seven of the 11 MPs reportedly attended the meeting.

Gasim Ibrahim, the JP leader and MP for Maamigili, is out of the country. The tourism tycoon has urged JP MPs to back the amendment and announced he will retire from politics when his five-year term as MP expires in 2019.

The government has frozen several accounts of companies belonging to Gasim’s Villa Group after slapping a US$90.4million fine claiming the money is owed in unpaid rents, fees and fines.

The MDP decided to back the constitutional amendment at a national executive council meeting tonight.

Even if the amendment passes, Dr Jameel can only be replaced if he resigns or if he is impeached with another two-thirds majority in the parliament.

House arrest

The Department of Correctional Services extended Nasheed’s house arrest to eight weeks tonight following a consultation with a neurosurgeon at the ADK hospital, a family member said.

Nasheed, who was previously held at a high security jail in Maafushi Island, was transferred to house arrest on Sunday. President Yameen authorized the transfer.

An unnamed senior government official told newspaper Haveeru that the extension came on the doctor’s recommendation.

“The doctor, after doing an MRI, has recommended [Nasheed] two months of bed rest. The neurosurgeon says he needs bed rest and a stress-free environment,” he said.

Nasheed was brought to Malé on Sunday nearly a month after a doctor first recommended an MRI scan.

President Yameen has ruled out negotiations over Nasheed’s release in talks with opposition parties, and has recently rejected a clemency plea.


Translation: Supreme Court v. HRCM

Case number: 2014/SC-SM/42
Defendant: Human Rights Commission of the Maldives
Type: Suomoto
Date trial began: 16 September 2014
Date trial ended: 16 June 2015
Bench: Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Abdulla Areef, Ali Hameed Mohamed, Adam Mohamed Abdulla, Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi

Case summary:

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, in the Universal Periodic Review Report, April- May 2014 (session 22), under the subheading access to justice (page 4), unlawfully spread false information about the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, the constitutional and legal procedures followed by the courts of the Maldivian judiciary in conducting trials and ensuring justice, and the procedures followed by the courts in releasing information. The commission has circulated this report in the Maldives and abroad. In the report, the commission described the Supreme Court’s mandate – acting in its role as the highest authority for the administration of justice in the Maldives and as per international best practices and the Maldivian Constitution—as controlling the courts of the Maldives. In doing so, the commission has deliberately attempted to undermine the independence of one of the three branches of the Maldivian state, i.e. the independent judiciary. The commission has also damaged the Maldives’ independence and sovereignty, and deliberately attempted to undermine the Constitution of the Maldives. This case was initiated by the Supreme Court to hold accountable the members of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives in a court of law, under powers vested in the Supreme Court as the highest administrator of justice in the Maldives, under Article 141 (b) of the Constitution, Article 9 (f) of the Judicature Act (Law no: 22/2010), and Article 86 of the Supreme Court regulations. The defendant in this case is the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives.

Points of note:

The Supreme Court –with reference to the facts, documents, evidence, testimony provided by the members of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives in court, the Constitution, the Judicature Act, other relevant laws, and norms accepted in democratic societies – notes the following:

a) First, the most fundamental principle of international law is the principle of non-intervention in the sovereignty and the domestic affairs of another state. This is also the foremost pillar of the Maldivian democratic system. The Maldives has the right, based on the principle of sovereign equality and sovereign immunity, to participate in the international community as an equal to other states. It is unlawful for any party or individual to commit acts against national security and interests, as per the Constitution of the Maldives. Further, similar to other states, it is only the executive function (Sultha – Siyasiyya) that can represent the Maldivian state. According to international law, the Maldivian state is mandated to fulfill the three conditions of statehood i.e. territory, the citizens and the executive function. There is no legal dispute over the fact that the executive function has the sovereign power to conduct its own affairs in accordance with constitutional principles designated by the state within the state’s sovereign jurisdiction. Further, Article 2 of the Constitution states that the Maldives is a sovereign, independent, democratic republic based on the principles of Islam, and is a unitary state. The three branches of the executive function are the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch. The powers of these three branches are clearly defined in Article 5,6 and 7 of the Constitution.

b) Second, given Article 115 (j) (k) of the Constitution states that it is the president who is authorized to determine, conduct and oversee the foreign policy of the country, to conduct political relations with foreign nations and international organizations, to enter into general treaties and agreements with foreign states and international organizations, which do not impose any obligations on citizens, and to enter into and ratify, with the approval of the People’s Majlis, treaties and agreements with foreign states and international organizations, which impose obligations on citizens,

and given that the legal procedures of the sovereign and legal system and international procedures state that acts such as dissemination of information and reports in the name of the state to foreign bodies, to meet international obligations, must be organized within the state,

It is clear that any act committed by any party or institution that contravenes these procedures is unlawful and violates the principle of supremacy of the Constitution laid out in Article 299 of the Constitution and the principle of rule of law.

c) Third, in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), it is stated that human rights should be protected by the rule of law. Article 8 and 10 of the UDHR state that everyone has the right to an effective remedy by courts or national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted to them by the constitution or by law, and that everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charges against them. Hence, it is known that the final authority to apply legal principles lies with the courts.

With reference to the principle of the rule of law, and to Article 42 (a) of the Constitution of the Maldives that states that everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent court or tribunal established by law to determine one’s civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge, and with reference to the abovementioned clauses of the UDHR, and with reference to the supervisory role granted to the Supreme Court – in order to uphold the responsibility of protecting individual and communal rights and to strengthen and improve access to justice – by Article 141 (b) of the Maldives Constitution,

and while Article 143 (b) and (d), and Article 144 and Article 145, grant the Maldives Supreme Court, similar to the apex courts in other democratic societies, the power, in its supervisory authority to ensure basic rights, to issue habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, writ of prohibition, and quo warranto prerogative writs, and while the procedures to issue such rulings have been decided by the Maldives’ legal system and by the Supreme Court’s rulings,

the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has prepared a report that provides false information about these legal procedures, without referring to official sources such as the Constitution, laws and regulations, and court rulings.

It is clear this information is baseless from the confession of the members of the Human Rights Commission in court. Even though members in court said they had provided information in such a manner because the Supreme Court had not responded to requests for information on these procedures, they were unable to prove to any extent that they had made a request for such information. While laws and regulations concerning the courts, and court rulings are made available to the public, there is no law that allows the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives to write a report containing false information regarding these provisions.

This act by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives contravenes Article 189 of the Constitution that states that the commission must be an independent and impartial commission that shall promote respect for human rights, impartially without favor and prejudice. It also contravenes the Human Rights Commission Act (Law no: 6/2006) that states the commission must promote human rights in line with the Constitution of the Maldives.

d) Fourth, the preparation of the above-mentioned report was unlawful as it contained information that is false, and information that misleads [the public] about the jurisdiction of the courts. Hence, the preparation and the dissemination of the report by the Human Rights Commission amounts to interference with the judiciary’ work and undue influence of the judiciary. It also contravenes Article 141 (c) and (d) of the Constitution and international norms, and clearly violates the independence granted to the judiciary by international laws. It is known from the commission members’ testimony in court that the information included in the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives’ report is false and based on unreliable sources. It is clearly known from the Constitution, laws and regulations regarding judicial procedures, and from court verdicts, that the Maldivian courts conduct trials, as in other democratic societies, according to legal procedures which are written to ensure fair trial. The Maldivians state is one that maintains respect for obligations under international covenants that it is party to, and on its own initiative, passes laws to protect human rights in line with international standards, and the Maldivian state abides by these laws. The Maldivian state has established the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives as a national body according to the Paris Principles. Given that the three branches of the Maldivian state protect and promote human rights, the members of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, have shown bias, undermined the commission’s credibility, been willfully negligent towards the progress the state has made and continues to make in [establishing] democracy and upholding the rule of law and human rights, and has been oblivious to those who commit terrorist acts against the people, state institutions and security forces, and acts that endanger peace and order, and undermine the state’s independence and sovereignty, and those who commit such acts. It is clear that the commission, by failing to rely on credible information and by preparing a false report and by disseminating this report, has acted unlawfully and encouraged acts that undermine the Maldives’ independence, sovereignty, constitutional system, and peace and order.

e) Fifth, state institutions must function according to societal truths and values, and with regard to the state’s capabilities and facilities that are available to it, and without spreading unlawful information that endangers the state, and without allowing room for unlawful acts, and by prioritizing prudent and peaceful solutions, and based on principles that bring out the best results. Although there are rights afforded to individuals, one of the most fundamental responsibilities of the national body on human rights (The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives) is to refrain from acts that undermine the nation and public interest. It is clear that the national body on human rights must function impartially and as a national institution according to the UN resolution passed in the 1993 Vienna Conference and according to the Paris Principles. The role of the national body on human rights, established within the state’s sovereign system, must be to promote human rights and to advise the government and other authorities on protecting human rights, and conducting awareness programs. Hence, such a national body must not overstep into the jurisdiction of any institution within the executive power or that of the security forces or the judiciary or the legislature. It is not legal to make a law in such a manner or interpret a law in such a manner. The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives is a body that listens to complaints by the citizens, and works to address such complaints, and interacts directly with the people. It is clear that for such an institution to act in ways that overlap with the mandate of other state institutions, in fact, undermines its own mandate.

f) Sixth, the national body on human rights must work within the sovereign legal system of the state, in the spirit of cooperation with the branches of the state and its institutions, without bias, to provide recommendations on matters concerning human rights and matters violating human rights, to review complaints of violations of human rights and to provide redress, to advise on bills protecting human rights and revisions for such laws, to assess the situation of human rights, to provide advice in such situations, and to conduct educational and awareness programs on human rights, or conduct such programs in association with other state offices, in order to promote and protect human rights.


Whereas the Article 141 (b) of the Maldives Constitution clearly states that the highest authority for the administration of justice is the Maldives Supreme Court,
Whereas [the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives] has described steps taken by the Supreme Court, in its role as the guardian of the Maldives Constitution and laws, to uphold the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, and to ensure justice without fear and prejudice, and according to the Islamic Shariah and laws, and to uphold the rule of law, as controlling the judiciary,

Whereas the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, in the subheading access to Justice in the report, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which was made public on September 16, 2014, has mislead [the public] on the jurisdiction of the highest authority in the administration of justice, the Supreme Court, and on the legal procedures used by the courts in conducting trials, and on the procedures used by courts in providing information

Whereas the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has prepared the abovementioned report, shared this report with parties in the Maldives and abroad, and whereas this report contains false information regarding the procedures accepted and followed by the courts,

Given that Article 145 (c) of the Maldives Constitution states that the Supreme Court shall be the final authority on the interpretation of the Constitution, the law, or any other matter dealt with by a court of law, and

Given Article 20 of the Maldives Judicature Act (22/2010) clearly states that the government, the parliament and the state institutions must obey and abide by the Supreme Court’s rulings

It is ruled that the statement made by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives which describes the previous, current and future work of the Supreme Court, acting in its role as the highest authority in the administration of justice, and according to the Maldives Constitution, relevant laws and international best practices, as controlling the judiciary, and disseminating information that is false and undermines trust in the judiciary via the above mentioned report to parties in the Maldives and abroad, is an act that contravenes Article 141, Article 145 (c), Article 299 (a) of the Maldives Constitution, and Article 20 (a) and (b) of Law no 22/2010 (Judicature Act)

Hence, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives is ordered to respect the Maldives Constitution and not to repeat such an act deliberately.

Further, given that the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, established under Article 189 (a) of the Maldives Constitution, similar to other state institutions, has no obligations other than those mandated by the Islamic Sharia, the Maldives Constitution and laws, international covenants the Maldives is party to, and part of the international covenants the Maldives is party to,

And given that the Maldives is a sovereign, independent, democratic republic based on the principles of Islam, and is a unitary state,

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, in conducting activities to promote and protect human rights, is ordered to:

  1. Act within the ambit of the Maldives Constitution and laws to ensure the full protection of the interests of Maldivian state and its citizens
  2. Ensure the commission does not in any manner disrupt the Maldivian citizen’s unity and homogeny
  3. Ensure the commission does not undermine peace, security, order, and age-old norms of behavior
  4. Ensure the commission does not overlap with and take over the responsibilities and mandate of other state institutions
  5. Ensure such activities are permitted in Maldivian society by the Maldives Constitution and its laws
  6. Ensure such activities are in line with the Maldivian faith, accepted societal norms, and good behavior
  7. Ensure such activities are based on policies compiled in light of credible research in line with the Maldivian faith, accepted societal norms, good behavior, the Maldivian Constitution and laws, and in a manner that protects national security, peace and unity, and with the full cooperation of other institutions of the Maldivian state
  8. In the event the commission has to work with foreign bodies, the commission, as an organ of the sovereign and independent Maldivian state, must follow procedures established by the state and work with the mediation of the relevant state institution
  9. Uphold the lawful government, ensure respect for the rule of law, and ensure such activities increase the citizens’ obedience to the rule of law
  10. Ensure such activities are free from political bias, and without the intention of furthering the interests of a specific party or to defame a specific party
  11. Ensure such activities do not encourage political, social and religious extremism, and do not facilitate hardship for the Maldives, and do not tarnish the Maldivian nation’s good reputation.