“International actors should not undermine governments”: Maldives responds to UN Special Rapporteur

The Maldives government has issued a statement inferring that UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, undermined the country’s sovereignty and legal jurisdiction in her recent report on the state of the country’s judiciary.

Knaul’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council extensively outlined the political, budgetary and societal challenges facing the judiciary and wider legal community, as well as the politicisation of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and its failure to appoint qualified judges under Article 285 of the constitution.

The Special Rapporteur also expressed “deep concern” over the failure of the judicial system to address “serious violations of human rights” during the Maldives’ 30 year dictatorship, warning of “more instability and unrest” should this continue to be neglected.

“It is indeed difficult to understand why one former President is being tried for an act he took outside of his prerogative, while another has not had to answer for any of the alleged human rights violations documented over the years,” Knaul wrote.

The government, which made no response to Knaul’s initial statement in February, on May 28 issued a statement via its Permanent Representative at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Iruthisham Adam.

“Engagement between national governments and international actors should not undermine national jurisdiction and the court system of any country, especially relating to ongoing cases,” reads the statement.

In light of this the Maldivian delegation, said Adam, “wishes to discuss specific matters contained in the report with the rapporteur.”

At the same time the statement “welcomed” the UN Rapporteur’s report and “fully acknowledge[s] that the various challenges she has identified and raised in her report are in fact the residue challenges present in a system in the midst of democratic consolidation.The Maldives judicial system continues to be hampered by structural deficiencies and resource constraints in addressing the difficult challenges facing the country in general.”

Read the UN Special Rapporteur’s full report

Read the government’s response


21 thoughts on ““International actors should not undermine governments”: Maldives responds to UN Special Rapporteur”

  1. Gayyoom had ruled this country under a different constitution than what Nasheed had ruled ?

    These two constitutions are completely different and Gayoom was empowered to rule like a dictator in the previous constitution where Nasheed either by luck or unlucky was mean to rule the country with the new constitution where Judiciary, Government and Parliament are separate entities and were not supposed to meddle with each other.

    I am surprised this lady had not seen that or so is ignorant or she is biased to see that.

    Nasheed must face the crimes that he had committed during his three years and he must be made answerable to his actions.

  2. Who do you deem more trustworthy: an independent UN specialist or the Maldivian government?

  3. The Maldives Government claims: "...the Maldives judicial system continues to be hampered by structural deficiencies"

    The UN Special Rapporteur's report states: "...the Maldives judicial system is hampered by built in deficiencies"

    What is the fuss about?

  4. "The Maldives government has issued a statement INFERRING that UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, undermined the country’s sovereignty and legal jurisdiction in her recent report on the state of the country’s judiciary."

    Inferring? Or MN's and JJ R's lack of understanding of plain English? Sorry JJ R, English might be your first language, but your cheap jab does you no good in this case.

    I bet most readers wouldn't bother reading the letter, and hence be settled with the verdict in the article's opening para - perhaps the very aim of MN.

    Inferring. What a joke, stick to what's clearly said, rather than drawing your own conclusions.

    The concluding paragraph of the letter reiterates the message Dr Waheed gave at the UN General Assembly, and does not, by any means imply that Gabriela Knaul undermines the national sovereignty of the country.

    JJ R, perhaps you require someone explaining to you that reform starts from the base, and not the surface. In this case, surface being ongoing court cases, and the base being the system itself.

    Hats off to 'Minivan' News, another cheap shot, and kudos to all the fools who fall for this.

  5. Finally our Ambassador to YouTube in Geneva has said something. How dare this infidel Knaul woman challenge Islamic Law? How dare she even try to attack Shariah courts and our former mullah? This madwoman obviously wants to force alcohol down our throats like those Christian Portuguese! Outside forces are attacking our Islamic sovereignity and trying to crack open the fortress of Islam. Gog and Magog are busily licking the walls trying to enter. LOL. I should write khutbahs.

  6. @Kuribee
    So you mean the Constitution that was in place while Maumoon ruled the country for 30 years allowed torture, rape, terror and what not, to defend his presidency? You mean the Constitution empowered judged like Ablo Ghazee to use the judiciary to rob the country and it's people of the right to a fair justice system? Do tell us what Constitution you are talking about.

  7. JJ Robinsons, I don't know whether you even read the whole government response document..you are highlighting a few lines of the government response just to create controversy...putting some words in inverted commas for no reason as if you know the underlying meaning. Check for example the word 'welcomed' in the last paragraph. Weak journalism because it appears biased and unprofessional.

  8. @kuribee

    So because Maumoon was a dictator it was okay for him to torture people?

    Sit alone in a corner and restart your mind. Time travel to the time before you installed all the filters in your brain that now prevent you from seeing simple right and wrong.

  9. What a joke. Thinking UN reports undermine sovereignty when there literally are countries dropping missiles on each other right now and nobody is doing shit.

  10. @kuribee - so you mean to say previous constitution allowed human rights violations, unwarranted arrests and missing inmates in prison? how misinformed are you about our constitution. ha ha ha!

  11. @kuribee.

    Like Mariyam I would like to know from you what you are saying here? I am outraged that you should imply that our previous constitution allowed for violation of our rights, our freedom and our safety. It certainly did not.

    I don't know how old you are , but I have lived through two dictatorships, that of H.E President Nasir and that of H.E President Gayoom. I was in the Maldives in 2009 and much of 2010 and 2011 during the administration of H.E President Nasheed .

    I know the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship . I have lived in democracies.

    You certainly haven't . Otherwise why would you write this rubbish.

  12. @ Kuribee

    But then you write here because you want to rubbish to divert our attention from what is written.

    This is a very common tactic used by authoritarian regimes to infect the free media.

    Maybe its time we all just stopped commenting on kuribee??

  13. I find it interesting that Ms Iruthisham Adam should refer to this act of sabotage of judicial reform as "the residue challenges present in a system in the midst of democratic consolidation" (sic).

    Please Ms Adam, give us a break.

    For two years the Majlis sat on the Judicial Act doing whatever they could do to delay it until the transition period expired. And then the judges were sworn in as judges for life.

    This, I believe is the point when the administration of President Nasheed broke down.

    We would not be wrong in the supposition that the failure of the Majlis to deliver what it was required to do to reform the judiciary in the transition period was the actual coup. And that what happened on February 7 were events that led from that point. And transfer of power. Very well done I must say.

    Like Hassan Saeed inadvertently admitted.... we seem to have acquired some amazing capacity for unique coup models!!

    But hey, the CONI report says there was no coup, the administration of Dr Waheed says there was no coup, and CMAG the USA and the UN says there was no coup.

    So what am I talking about? Possibly rubbish like our friend kuribee.

  14. another yamin's puppet @Kuribee. find something better to do. these statements are way beyond your mental capabilities. try 4 year old essay.

  15. Does it mean that no future president should face trial until Maumoon is tried for everything he did during his 30 year rule and followed by Nasheed's.

  16. Hasn't anyone informed the current government of the international human rights treaties that Maldives is party to?

    International human rights law does not limit sovereignty to national boundaries.

    The MPs should now get on with domestication of these international human rights laws so that there is no room for the government to resort to sovereignty any more.

  17. I actually found the Maldives' response to the UNSR to be quite weak, uncertain, and naive! Does the government think that a private meeting with the UNSR will secure her consent to proceed with the trial of President Nasheed and continued impunity for others? Really!

    The UNSR would have passed to the government of Maldives a draft of the report before she submitted it to the UN in May, requesting the correction of any factual inaccuracies. And if the government of Maldives had pointed out any factual inaccuracies in her draft, the UNSR would definitely have corrected those before issuing her report.

    If the government of Maldives thinks there are factual inaccuracies regarding the Hulhumale Court and the bench, Abdulla Gazi and impunity for Gayoom, then clearly those in the Maldives' Foreign Office have failed Mr Waheed. They should have been pointed out to the UNSR.

    Or is there collusion between PPM (whose members and apologists occupy all the top positions in the Foreign Ministry) and MDP?

    In any case, for the government to call for a private meeting with the UNSR in the hope she will agree to waive her commitment to Article 14 rights for Mr Nasheed is simply silly!

    The argument that national jurisdictions should enjoy sovereignty over on-going court cases without international interference is a compelling and well established argument. However, such sovereign immunity cannot be claimed on behalf of kangaroo courts! And it is clearly for this reason that the SR identified as attending to Mr Nasheed's Article 14 rights as the most urgent measure to be taken by the Maldives.

    The SR's report did not come as a surprise--this was precisely what Ms Velezinee has been trying to tell everybody for nearly three years!

    Looks to me the Ms Velezinee has had the last laugh over the JSC and the judiciary!

  18. Arnold is an actor too but that doesn't mean he is not a good mayor??? Please fellow Maldivians, don't make ignorant comments. It only embarrasses Maldives even more. No matter wat Maldives judiciary system is INCOMPETENT with under qualified judges. . We need international influences to fix this. Maldivians cannot do so, we are too corrupt within the country


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