Thilmeeza Hussain, founder of the Maldivian NGO Voice of Women – an organization addressing the issues of women and climate change, spoke with Between The Lines at the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit held last month in New York.
Thilmeeza discussed the role of democracy in asserting leadership on the critical issues of climate change.
“From what has happened in the past five years, it is very clear to us, because when President Nasheed came to office in 2008 and we had a democratic election, our country was able to talk in the international platforms with a voice much louder and stronger than ever before, and though we were such a small country we were able to fight on issues, bring international attention to the plight of the Maldivians and other small island states on the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation and what our people had been suffering,” she said.
“And we were able to do that because we had a democracy, so we are able to speak with moral authority because we had that platform. We were a country representing people’s voice. But once we had the coup, the voice of the Maldivian people in the international platform were just silent, dead.
For the past two years, in none of the environmental negotiations, or even anywhere else, you haven’t heard Maldivians talking about environmental issues or issues that are important, issues that are necessary for our survival because the government that is in place, which is led by the leader who led the coup, is not able to go and speak with that moral authority in international platforms any more.”