IPU’s findings of alleged human rights abuses against MPs to be revealed tomorrow

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) delegation sent to Maldives to tackle alleged human rights abuses of MPs will be holding a press conference tomorrow to discuss their findings.

The IPU’s human rights mission to Maldives comes after increasing reports of political intimidation and turmoil following former President Mohamed Nasshed’s removal from office earlier this year.

The three-day mission from November 20 to 22 includes Philippine Senator Pangilinan from IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and IPUS’s Human Rights programme head – along with two other IPU delegates – conducting several high-level meetings at the invitation of the government.

The talks will include discussions with President Mohamed Waheed, government ministers, the Speaker of the national parliament and other high level parliament and judicial authorities.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP for Galohu North Eva Abdulla, who participated in the meeting of IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians on October 21, said that the IPU has already condemned the attacks and continued harassment of MPs, whilst “expressing concern” at the delay in the investigation and prosecution of wrongdoers.

“What this trip will highlight to the IPU is that MPs are under even more threat now. Not only has not a single case against the police has not been prosecuted, but instead we are seeing that almost every single MP who filed a case with the Human Rights Commission (HRCM) or Police Integrity Commission (PIC) are they themselves being prosecuted in return.

“In addition, the government is targeting the parliament as a whole, as well as individual MPs,” Eva told Minivan News.

According to a press release issued by the IPU on Tuesday (November 20), currently 19 Maldivian MPs from the MDP have lodged cases with the IPU Committee over allegations of “excessive violence, arbitrary arrests, intimidation and criminal charges believed to be politically motivated”.

The IPU also mission intends to address incidents involving the arrests and intimidation of other MPs in the past few days.

Two MPs, along with other senior figures in the MDP were recently arrested for the alleged possession of drugs and alcohol on the island of Hodaidhoo in Haa Dhaal Atoll.

Whilst police said that they had found large amounts of “suspected” drugs and alcohol upon searching the island, MDP alleged the arrests were a politically-motivated attempt to disrupt parliament ahead of a no confidence motion against President Waheed, and an amendment to voting procedure to make such votes secret.

Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Abdulla Jabir – who was arrested during the raid, but has since been released – alleged the way in which the police conducted the raid was like that of a “terrorist killing operation”.

A press release from MDP on November 19, regarding the treatment of former SAARC Secretary General and Special Envoy to former President Nasheed, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, who was hospitalised as a result of the police operation, claims that the “attack” is part of a pattern which has seen opponents of Mohamed Waheed “regularly imprisoned and/or beaten by police”.

Speaking about the case, MDP’s international spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor – also arrested and allegedly beaten alongside Zaki – said: “The attack against Zaki is an attack against democracy and against India. It is a further example, if one were needed, of the Maldives’ descent into a police state – where the security forces are beyond criticism, and can act with complete impunity”.

In the build up to the vote on taking secret votes in no confidence motions against President Waheed Hassan Manik and other cabinet members, further allegations made by Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ali Azim claim that the president and other senior members of the executive had approached him, offering to cancel the court summons if he agreed to vote for the secret balloting in a way they preferred.

Days prior to the secret voting motion, DRP MPs Mohamed Nashiz and Azim had been ordered to appear in court over the the failure of Funaddoo Tuna Products to repay loans worth MVR 117 million (US$7.5 million) to the Bank of Maldives.

Azim alleged that in addition to Waheed, his Political Advisor Ahmed Thaufeeq and Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza had called him and made similar statements.

The decision by the IPU to carry out the mission was decided at IPU’s 127th Assembly in Quebec City last month in a series of resolutions recommended by the IPU Committee.

According this week’s press release, the committee expressed “deep concern at reports of renewed ill-treatment, detention and harassment of the MPs by law enforcement officers as well as shock at the killing of MP Afrasheem Ali in early October”.

The press release further states: “Maldives has been in political crisis since February when incumbent President Mohamed Nasheed was replaced by his Vice-President Mohamed Waheed. Since then, there has been growing international concern at the political intimidation and serious outbreaks of violence in the country.”

In March, the MDP parliamentary group submitted cases alleging police brutality against the former ruling party’s MPs to the IPU’s human rights committee at the 126th Assembly held at Kampala, Uganda.

The cases concerned targeted police brutality against MDP MPs on February 7 and 8, in particular on the latter date during a heavy-handed police crackdown on an MDP protest march that left scores injured and hospitalised, including former MDP parliamentary group leader and Hulhu-Henveiru MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik and Maafanu South MP Ibrahim Rasheed ‘Bonda’.

Three classified reports by the IPU concerning police brutality against MDP MPs have been shared with parliament and the executive since the transfer of presidential power on February 7, the party revealed last month.

The IPU is a global organisation of parliaments, established in 1889. It works to foster coordination and exchange between representative institutions across the globe. The IPU also offers technical support to affiliated nations. The Maldives has been a member of the organisation since 2005.


9 thoughts on “IPU’s findings of alleged human rights abuses against MPs to be revealed tomorrow”

  1. The IPU panel must be careful and consider the views from across the political spectrum and deliver a report that works to solve the issue rather than vilify or glorify personalities.

    The international community must stop working in the interests of people and personalities and continue their valuable contributions to building our democracy by strengthening and supporting institution-building.

    The IPU can help in this case by highlighting the systemic issue ie. the government's abuse of their powers to threaten and intimidate MPs, especially in the opposition. This issue did not pop up yesterday or today. During the days of autocratic rule it was very much a feature of local politics. For the first three years of our democracy we saw blackmail, bribery and the use of the military (not to mention tanks) to arrest and hold MPs against their will. The courts have actually awarded damages in one of these cases. Even now we see that the government resorts to these unsavoury practices.

    Any solution to this issue will come from highlighting the problem as systemic. The IPU must cite examples between 2008 up till now and suggest ways to come up with a sustainable solution. Sensational headlines and pandering to allies at home or abroad will only serve to divide opinion. Also if the IPU restricts their mission only to current cases they will be seen as biased and thereby discredited in the eyes of a large cross-section of the population.

    As this is an MDP comment forum I will be attacked here for my view as the MDP has been crowing to their supporters claiming the IPU mission's arrival as a political victory for them.

    Yet I am sure any reasonable person will understand my point in this.

  2. Tsk Tsk - I find your animated defence of the status quo adorable. Just like a 13 year old in grade school.

  3. Seems that Tsk Tsk and other various names are Aliases used by VTV English presenter/news caster Hamza.
    He is always one of the first people to comment on Minivan articles mocking any news that goes against Maumoon.

  4. I wonder why Tsk Tsk has specifically said "IPU must cite examples between 2008 up till now" ? What about police abuse of MPs before 2008? My my... I consider myself to be a reasonable person yet I cannot fathom why police abuses of Maumoon dictatorship must be forgotten, as implied by the "reasonable" Tsk Tsk. Bias viyas mee dhen bodu vareh.

  5. Why IPU never said anything when Anni arrested the MPs and when Anni bullied the MPs ?

    Where were they prior 7th Feb. 2012 ? Have they hibernating those days between Nov. 2008 to 7th Feb. 2012 ?

    Common, whether its IPU or any other body, you should maintain some integrity in your work and you can not be biased and blind from one side.

    Otherwise you may get loss from this country and we do not need you and the country have not any benefit of being part of you.

  6. Please note my reference to the days of autocratic rule and the common use of the police as a political tool then.

    My appeal to reason stems from the difficulties in prosecuting individuals who were empowered under the then Constitutional framework to do what they did. Qayyoom himself enjoyed almost unfettered exercise of his powers. Successive Parliaments then did not see fit to address this issue or challenge Qayyoom's rule then, therefore they are complicit in any use of arrest as a tool to intimidate dissenters.

    See the problem? Everyone who accepted a government position and refused to speak out against such practices (which translates to almost everyone in the political community these days) are guilty of endorsing anything that Qayyoom did. Also the legal framework in place then gives protection to the government for what can be considered excesses of power after 2008.

    Say what you will, I have never promoted or defended Qayyoom, Nasheed, Waheed, Nasir or anyone else unless in situations where I sincerely believe they did something good.

    If we continue to use Qayyoom and the 1998 Constitution as the standard to measure all our actions then what's the point of our new democratic constitution?

  7. Why is it that one gets the feeling that IPU is biased? Is it that recently MDP joined that organisation recently?

    Tsk Tsk has a point. MAG had Constitutional cover for his actions of yesterday under the old Constitution. He inherited a system and continued servicing that system. It also cannot be denied that he oversaw the ground moving changes that saw Democracy take root in Maldives. If anyone could be called the father of Democracy then a very convincing case could be made out for MAG.

    Let's face up to the fact that it was his Democratic reforms that saved this nation from Nasheed's thugs and thuggery. Whilst all the authoritarians from the four corners failed to grasp the changed world post 9/11; MAG recognised the changes and marshalled the local intelligentsia like Dr. hassan Saeed and Others plus the foreign experts - to give us Alhamdulilahi Democracy.

    I wish somebody would do the research and give the links exposing the links of this IPU to Nasheed . Before anyone accuses me of being a MAG stooge, I'm not.


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