HRCM called to investigate past injustices

President Mohamed Nasheed has called upon the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) to investigate and uncover the injustices of the past to fulfill its mandate.

In his weekly radio address yesterday, President Nasheed said although the commission’s regulations stated that it could only investigate incidents dating from two years before its formation, the law gave HRCM the authority to conduct investigations before 2001.

“Until past injustices are investigated, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives will not be a commission that properly works for human rights in the country,” he said.

The president said grievous injury was done and serious injustices were perpetrated upon many citizens in the past 30 years.

“I am saying this as a person who has seen these things very closely. Many people have died. Many people were killed. The lives of many were ruined. A lot of people’s property was appropriated. Many people’s lives were destroyed to the point where they had no future,” he said.

“In truth, there is no way to find justice for these things. The time that was lost to them cannot be given back, the wrongs done to them cannot be set right. But, we have to carry out full investigations into these things to find out how it happened in order to ensure that it is not repeated.”

The president’s office continues to receive complaints from citizens about injustices done to them by the previous government.

Many senior officials of the government and MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had “endured serious inhumane treatment”.

“I would like to note the harm done to MDP parliamentary group leader Reeko Moosa Manik,” he said. “The former government destroyed his life when he was very young.”

In 1983, Moosa was sentenced to death on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government.

In the run-up to last year’s presidential election and beyond, Moosa spoke extensively about his experiences in jail and how he was tortured.

The president said he was not asking the commission to investigate such cases based on a desire for vengeance on the part of either Moosa Manik or other MDP members. “We don’t wish for this to happen again to our children. Therefore, I believe that understanding how things happened in the past will give us the opportunity for us to stay clear of these things.”

Opening his address, the president said the biggest obstacle to progress and development of the country was the failure to secure human rights for citizens and the suppression of free expression.

Nasheed said the former government lost its way because people were not allowed to criticise or oppose its policies.

“It is very important for citizens to have their rights to keep the government on the right track; for everyone to know that they have certain rights,” he said.

The president said he wanted to assure citizens that anyone whose rights were violated in the past year of the first democratically elected government had the opportunity to seek redress for injustices.


5 thoughts on “HRCM called to investigate past injustices”

  1. And what about the injustices of Nasir? Why just the past 30 years? How can that be called justice?

  2. It’s always good to recognise justice for the wrongs done. Past wrongs or crimes cannot be undone but it’s true that in other countries as well which goes through democratising, mechanisms are established to redress victims. Sometimes the recognition of justice like trails, truth commissions, transitional justice, etc focus on collective violations of human rights. In order for people to heal, the wrongs in the past, protection mechanisms need to be established. In East Timor for the crimes committed, there were trails for serious crimes like killing; less serious crimes were discussed in village groups. The village assemblies were represented by Elderly people and a representative of the UN supported Hybrid court. Those who committed lesser crimes repented and perpetrators were forgiven by village people. This process was completed because the perpetrators and victims lived together and there was a need for reconciliation.
    In Maldives, the circumstances are different, however, in order to prevent same types of crimes committed by previous Governments in the future; we need a system of recognition of justice. It will be a challenging task; there will be a high level of expectations to redress for all crimes committed by the State. However, without a redress system and recognition of justice, current Government will have opportunity to commit similar crimes and to violate human rights. Currently, there are cases of Engine houses owned and invested by local people and NGOs are being forcefully taken over by present Government. This is one example of violation of human rights. The investigation mechanism of crimes can make the Government accountable and demand for protection of human rights. These mechanisms may not redress individual cases of human rights but it can address gross human rights violations. Human Rights Commission should not be burdened with this responsibility; a new authoritative body approved by Parliament should be established.

  3. I agree with Afiya's comments. I think there should be something like a truth and reconciliation commission. Also to comment on Jennifer Latheefs views, why not investigate the inhuman death of our first president, Ameen?

  4. I'm not sure if I'd agree with investigating injustices committed as far back as when Nasir was in power simply for reasons of practicality. It's probably better to have a a certain time frame in order to ensure that the HRC does not become over-burdened with work and as a result fail to carry out the investigations, or at least fail to do so effectively... just a thought.

  5. Ya Hameed...why not? I certainly would like to know the truth behind that? After all it is my history.

    Shakir...Justice cannot be time framed...the people who felt the suffering and injustice need to have their justice. For example the Kurds, Armenians etc r still fighting for justice for the wrong done to them. Besides it is also a matter to do with our history, and learning from our mistakes. And learning does not happen, when only one era of injustice is "investigated"

    A group called NOOR did try to organize a musical gathering calling for a truth and reconciliation process...also asking President Nasheed to close down Dhoonidhoo as a good will gesture, and to open it up for the public, so that people who had not seen the place & future generations could see it...and realize how things were in there...
    BUT it was stopped by the then Home Minister, and the President did not meet with NOOR.
    President Nasheed however did call for "forgiveness"...of the injustices in the beginning.

    Just sticking to the atrocities of the past 30 years hardly constitutes for trying to "learn" from our mistakes, let alone JUSTICE.

    My family was murdered by Nasir...under his command. An entire island (Thinadhoo) was set fire by Nasir and the force that came with him. An entire people were banished from their island, and many had to live in uninhabited islands for a long time. Many died from starvation. Many were tortured to death in jail. Is that not worth "investigating"...if not for those who suffered...then for the sake of knowing the truth about our past...


Comments are closed.