US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake on Wednesday met with President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, former President Mohamed Nasheed and a number of civil society organisations.
“In all of my meetings today with the leaders, I stressed the importance of all parties working together to develop and act on the needed legislation on issues of reform, to increase capacity of the judiciary, the security services and independent institutions like the Police Integrity Commission and the Human Rights Commission,” Blake said at a press briefing held at Traders Hotel.
Blake told media that during his meeting with the president, he had emphasised the importance of ensuring security services acted in accordance with international standards and to do everything they can to respect human rights.
He added that all parties should work to promote dialogue and cooperation so that they could together strengthen Maldivian democracy and prepare for elections in the coming year.
Blake said that the while US would be extending support to the security services to strengthen build their capacity, a lot of importance would be given to the issue of human rights through any training provided by the US.
Stating that the CNI report, which was released in August, has indicated that there was a lot more work that needed to be done, he said “I was pleased that everybody I talked to today understands the need to implement those recommendations (in the CNI report) and welcomes it”.
Blake confirmed that the US would stay closely engaged and would assist in the implementation of many of the recommendations put forward in the CNI report.
Although Blake claimed that all leaders had pledged to implement the CNI’s recommendations, he declined from commenting on the government’s stand regarding the recommended action against what the report states to be “acts of police brutality which occurred on 6th, 7th and 8th February.”
“Let me tell you what I said. We take all allegations of human rights violations very seriously. We urge that the government investigate those [allegations] in a credible manner. And we think that there needs to be clear and visible disciplinary action taken if there is evidence of wrongdoing found,” Blake said in response to the question posed by Minivan News.
In a press conference held after the release of the report, the Minister of Home Affairs has said that the only individual the government would take action against with reference to the CNI report was Former President Nasheed.
Maldivian Democratic Party MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said the party welcomed the support from the international community, particularly in supporting what he claimed were two of the liberal values it currently advocated for.
“In our way forward strategy, we are calling for three specific things. We welcome this support for two of those liberal values; action against human rights violations and early elections. There is one more value though, and that is the issue of the opposition parties PPM and DRP being in government,” Hamid told Minivan News today.
President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad was not responding to calls at the time of press.