June 7th – 13th
A series of attacks and abductions in the capital Malé this week brought concern and condemnation from politicians and human rights stakeholders.
Reports emerged of groups having previously expressed their concern regarding the publication of content offensive to Islam.
While the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) voiced concerns at the reports of the physical assault and threatening of multiple individuals last weekend, the vice president of the Human Rights Commission urged the state to reassure the public of their safety.
Minivan News spoke with previous victims of online threats turned into physical violence, asking how fearful Maldivians should be of online attackers.
Meanwhile, the Maldives representative on the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva pressed the case for greater consideration of religious intolerance, as well as the plight of Palestinians and Syrians.
Maldivian involvement in UN peacekeeping operations was again criticised by local NGO Jamiyatul Salaf, which expressed concern that troops would become embroiled in action against fellow Muslims.
Other foreign entanglements this week were less controversial and potentially more lucrative, with the vice president continuing the search for foreign investors in China while customs officials signed a cooperation deal with UAE authorities.
Home Minister Umar Naseer travelled to the Netherlands this week in order to procure sniffer dogs as part of his anti-drugs campaign – missing a second successive court hearing in the process.
Details of government attempts to provide a welcoming environment for prospective investors were revealed as details of the recently introduced special economic zones bill emerged – featuring nine largely tax-exempt areas across the country.
One group not be welcoming foreign investment, however, was MATATO which argued that moves to award an exclusive deal to a foreign group would harm both its member businesses and tourists – whose numbers continued to grow last month.
Plans to develop a new airport on Farukolhu Island in Shaviyani atoll were blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency, while environmental NGOs expressed skepticism that the government had the capacity to enforce newly protected ray species.
In the far north, Udha waves – a uniquely Maldivian phenomena – flooded large parts of Haa Alif Dhidhoo while Bluepeace called for the empowerment of local councils across the nation to deal with waste management issues.
Another uniquely Maldivian story was explored by Hulhevi Media, who launched a documentary researching the realities behind the traditional romantic epic ‘Buruni Ballad’.
The power of Malé City Council continued to decline meanwhile as both City and Fini parks were reclaimed for the use of Housing Ministry, while President Abdulla Yameen defended his party’s use of the official residence for political events.
Yameen’s government proposed amendments to a number of laws to align them with the constitution, while Adhaalath Party MP Anara Naeem proposed raise the monthly disability allowance from MVR2,000 to MVR5,000.
The opposition MDP this week restarted political activities after a post-election hiatus, with the opening of a new party haruge in Malé.