Comment: HRCM “deaf and blind” to abuses of coup perpetrators

Independent institutions play a pivotal role in a democracy. Their independence from political influences is one of the key reasons such institutions remain a vital part of democracy and a functional mechanism for check and balances of a democratic system.

One such institution established by the Maldivian constitution was the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM). An institution set up under the article 189 of the constitution to ensure that the Maldives has made the much needed necessary transition from the days of police brutality and human rights violations during the ‘Gayoom era’ to the present day, and to protect and uphold the values of human rights of all citizens.

But the tale seems to be going in the wrong way. It is going to be almost four months after the country’s first democratically elected president was ousted in what was an obvious coup d’etat. It is going to be four months from the day where a few petty politicians, with the financial backing of a few self-centered business tycoons and mendacious preachings of deceitful sheikhs, led to disillusioned patriots within the security forces make an absolute mockery of the people’s rule.

With the coup came not only a change of a regime, but a return to the nightmares of Gayoom’s 30 year long dictatorship that the Maldivians never ever wanted to see again. Nepotism has come back in full swing. Police brutality once again has become abundant. Reports of human rights violations are slowly re-surfacing.

On February 6, the night before Nasheed was forced out of office, a police platoon broke the chain of command and came storming into the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) ‘Haruge’ and ran riot in the premises, beating down anyone that unfortunately came into their way – a direct violation of the article 246 of the Constitution of the Maldives. The HRCM failed to come up with anything substantial.

On February 8, the day after the toppling of Nasheed’s administration, the ousted president and senior officials of his administration and several MPs, along thousands of citizens who were convinced that their vote had been ‘robbed’ by ousting their elected leader, took to the streets exercising the constitutional rights of freedom of expression and freedom assembly entitled in the articles 27 and 32.

The protesters were met with one of the most violent crackdowns in the history of the country. But the HRCM merely concluded with a condemnation statement and the publishing of a report.

But alas, they found it an utmost priority to investigate the matter of the arresting of the chief Judge of the Criminal Court, the notorious man who is the root of the problems of our crippled judiciary. Yes, I do not disagree that arresting of a Judge was indeed a controversial move, given how flawed the check and balance mechanism is in our system is.

But when one protecting a notorious Judge with a history of ‘bending justice’ for his own personal interest becomes more of a priority than to looking into the human rights violations of hundreds of ordinary people beaten down ruthlessly by the police and the military, who were supposed to serve and protect them?

On March 6, a country that boasts of working to empower and uphold the rights of women and advocate against gender disparity, suddenly forgot what they had been preaching, and found the respect and dignity of the women they advocated for blasted by saltwater cannons. A group of female protesters went to the president’s office with an innocent intention of delivering a petition to the regime leader. Despite having a female in the presidency of HRCM, what a shame it was when it barely made a move. Where were the rights of women that day?

On May 29, another wave of police brutality struck again, as the coup regime’s unprecedented sudden nightmares over a ‘cursed rooster’ lead to police sieging into the MDP protest camp at ‘Usfasgandu’ under the excuse of alleged practice of black magic and sorcery, only to find no substantial evidence that gave rise to any criminal activities going on in the camp.

Furious protesters again began protesting in front of the barricades and yet again the police barged into the crowds with batons and pepper spray, beat down protesters and even pepper sprayed a cameramen of a local TV station who had tried to film the violent arrests.

But it seemed that the officials of HRCM present during the police takeover of the camp were either not in sane mind, or blinded and deafened as the commission issued a statement applauding the actions of police for their ‘professional handling’ the situation. What a fantastic way to mock the people again as the video footages revealed the extent of barbarity of the police. When did violent brutality become professionalism?

The Human Rights Commission is bitterly failing. They are far behind in following up with the police brutality and human rights violations of the coup regime. They have become a deaf and blind toady of Gayoom, Waheed and the senior officials of the coup regime instead of being the lions of the throne. They ought to have been defending and upholding the rights and liberties of the Maldivian constitution. Indeed a disheartening story to tell.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


10 thoughts on “Comment: HRCM “deaf and blind” to abuses of coup perpetrators”

  1. who is naahil naseem? there are some serious allegations in the article. Reades ought to know who is the author and what are his crendentials.

    my name is no-name-idrees. If I write an op in this name would Minivan publish it?

  2. Yes please Minivan.

    I would also like to know the qualifications, experience and public standing of your contributors, Naahil Naseem included.

    The media was freed in the Maldives for the hopes of ensuring that public institutions were held accountable to the public and that important matters of state were reported.

    The media has pretty much left to self-regulate itself however it is high time we demand better standards from our media outlets.

    Minivan was established by ousted President Mohamed Nasheed himself calling into question its very basis.

    Covering stories from a certain angle is all well and good but providing a forum for individuals with questionable credentials to make serious and defamatory allegations against institutions and people is a serious lapse in integrity.

    For example, the above writer's observations are all based on party propaganda spread by the MDP. The MDP's de facto leader is ousted President Mohamed Nasheed who coincidentally established Minivan.

    Before anyone says it I would like to state here that the practice of airing "reports" based on speculation, rumors and defamatory statements on private media channels such as DhiTV, VTV and RaajjeTV is also something that should be discontinued.

    Biased sources such as Minivan, DhiTV , VTV and RaajjeTV should be held to account for their complete lack of restraint in spreading conjecture and falsehoods. The ongoing All Party Talks should seriously consider setting out a framework within which the media needs to operate. Respect for anti-defamation laws and minimum level of balance in coverage as well as what constitutes a report and what amounts to a smear campaign should be explained to our media outlets.

    It is highly regrettable that THIS media outfit in particular - by which I mean Minivan - continues to engage in these unsavory practices while it is staffed and purportedly headed by individuals from the United Kingdom.

    I understand that media needs to work for the benefit of their financiers and political financing is the most ready source in this country but some amount of restraint should be practiced.

    I applaud Minivan for bringing articles from individuals such a Dr. Azra Naseem in the past however your latest comment pieces come without any mention of the writer's background.

  3. @tsk tsk... who do you think you are? you have a rather deluded memory of what happened here as far as media freedoms are concerned....? as you know, it was forced upon the Golaa administration and his than bridesmaid opps kutti....

  4. Who cares who wrote it and their CV. The content is correct and well articulated. Well done!

    tsk tsk has no right to impose "freedom of expression" etc as one of the hypocrites that took office by using threats and the gun.

  5. Well anyone of you can go on the internet and check out photos and videos of the event mentioned in this guy's article. Hard facts. So quit squibbling over his name and varify for yourself if what he mentions is true or not. Or do you guys need to be spoonfed?

    As for me having seen all the evidence i would say he has written a very truthful piece indeed, and shame on HRCM for turning a blind eye while Maldivians get beaten on the roads infront of everyone

  6. all the accounts described by Nahil Naseem are truth and can be seen from several video footage. Why on earth do we have to be complacent and accepting a coup regime.Moreover they are running against their own people and using the military and police to unlawfully attack civilians. Civilians accused of using condoms and sorcery in a public gathering place. Who on earth can use a condom, let alone pee in a public gathering place surrounded by people.If the Police and Military cant accept coup resisting public as Maldivians and are willing to use excessive force against them they have to be criticized by HRCM. Where is the equity and freedom of justice when only a certain group enjoys on the expense of others.

  7. the state has been made a monster to devour its own people. Police and MNDF are using excessive force against all those resisting the coup. But until a proper and independent investigation on mutineers and military officials who raped the nation using a coup is carried out and justice is delivered this nation will not see any peace.

  8. Gayoom, his ideology if there is one, and his era represents similarities with most non-Arab Muslim countries where dictatorships flourished; Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan,Bangladesh… etc. There is no way he will fathom the value of a multiparty democracy wit a free media since he grew up mostly in Egypt of the 1950s and had a teaching post in the then Nigeria; the back waters of media we could say with some fairness.
    Those behind the coup represent Gayoom in some form or other; lawyer Kutti Nasheed, Azima, etc. especially the lawyers who are trying to legitimize this and who initially called to the over throw of the government by any means are in some way connected to Gayoom or they have been educated in places like Malaysia – Kutti Nasheed again, Dr Hassan Saeed, Jameel. etc. I am sorry to say but they have been educated in a poor system which have made them monsters..
    The 2008 elected was a culmination of many years of hard work and suffering by the Maldivian people. The batter for democracy in the Maldives is not limited to the elite.. the only elite remaining in the Maldives now is those who who got rich by corrupts means during the Gayoom era; like Waheed Deen who is now running the country from his resort.
    We are not immune to the rest of the world. Close to 80 percent of the country now believe that there was a military coup that forced Nasheed to resign but the people want to establish this in a manner that the results will last…. They are not provoked by police do erratic things; the protests are a manifestation of grass roots revolution in the country. Democracy and Human Rights is here to stay. Mahathir is not!

  9. There is a reason why this is called the Comments and Opinion section... for people to not need so-called credinentials.

  10. "It is going to be almost four months after the country’s first democratically elected president was ousted in what was an obvious coup d’etat."

    The fact that so many months have passed since the change of government testifies that there was no coup d'etat. For if it was a coup, the international community will not just sit and relax in this globalised world where boudaries are faint.

    Nasheed resigned, Naahil.
    Like it or not, accept it.


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