Maldives “needs radical changes”: UN Human Rights Committee

The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has recommended “radical changes” to Maldivian law to ensure compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These changes include the abolition of the death penalty, compensation for “systematic and systemic torture,” withdrawal of reservations to the ICCPR’s Article 18 regarding freedom of religion and belief, and reforming the country’s judiciary.

Following a “Incendiary” session focused on the state of human rights in the Maldives on July 12 and 13, the committee published a preliminary statement calling on the Maldives to “be serious about bringing itself into compliance with all aspects” of the ICCPR as a “critical step” to respect and protect human rights of all the people in the Maldives.

The Human Rights Committee will make a final report at the end of its session on July 27.

The Maldivian delegation to the UNHRC was headed by Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel, a former Justice Minister during the 30 year rule of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and co-author of a pamphlet entitled ‘President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians’, published in January 2012.

Dr Jameel was accompanied by State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dunya Maumoon – Gayoom’s daughter – as well as the Maldives’ Permanent Representative in Geneva, Iruthisham Adam.

Article 18

The UNHRC raised concern over the state’s reservation to Article 18 regarding freedom of religion and belief, claiming the reservation “implicates a host of intertwining social, political, and cultural issues” which will not be resolved until the state agrees to withdraw this reservation.

During the committee session, Dunya had said the Maldives did not plan to withdraw the reservation to Article 18 as the Maldives Constitution stipulated that rights and freedoms be interpreted according to Islamic Sharia.

However, the statement noted that allowing Islamic tenets of the Constitution to definitively supersede the human rights enshrined in the ICCPR “will mean a continued lack of protection for the human rights of the people of the Maldives.”

The Maldives delegation had stressed that the country was a homogeneous society and spoke one language and followed one religion, adding there was therefore no debate in Maldivian society regarding the removal of the provision relating to freedom of religion.

“This is not dogmatic government policy or preference, but rather a reflection of the deep societal belief that the Maldives always has been and always should be a 100 percent Muslim nation. Laws, like government, should be based on the will of the people,” Dunya said.

“Systematic and systemic torture”

Incidents of torture in the Maldives “appear systematic and systemic,” the UNHRC statement noted, and expressed “grave concern” about the low number of cases that have undergone investigation.

The committee has urged the Maldives to set up an independent Commission of Inquiry to conduct criminal investigations and ensure compensation for all victims of torture.

The panel also drew on a report submitted by anti-torture NGO REDRESS, containing testimonies of 28 victims of torture while in state custody.

“Forms of torture and ill-treatment included the use of suspension, lengthy use of stocks, being beaten with fists and bars, kicked, blindfolded, handcuffed, the dislocation of joints and breaking of bones, being forced to roll and squat on sharp coral, being drowned or forced into the sea, being put in a water tank, being burned, having bright lights shone in eyes, being left outside for days while tied or handcuffed to a tree, being covered in sugar water or leaves to attract ants and goats, and in one case being tied to a crocodile’s cage. Sexual assault and humiliation was also routinely used. Many testimonies suggest the only limit to the torture and ill-treatment imposed was the imagination of those whose control they were under,” a UNHRC panel member read at last week’s session.

“Surely this is something that refers to before 2008,” the panel member stated, “but the [present government] has a responsibility to pursue and investigate and bring to justice if these [allegations] are indeed correct. If there is an atmosphere of impunity regarding torture, I would offer that the present situation would not be treated differently by those who would want to violate the office they have, and abuse those under their care, or those going peacefully about their business.”

In response, Jameel said any citizen could bring their grievances before the judiciary and said any question of compensation could jeopardize the Maldives’ state budget.

Death Penalty

The UNHRC has asked the Maldivian state to enact legislation to officially abolish the death penalty. “The state itself has admitted that capital punishment does not deter crime,” the statement noted.

Jameel himself has previously stated the government was prepared to implement the death penalty following the murder of lawyer Ahmed Najeeb. Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor and the Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz have publicly endorsed their support for implementing capital punishment to deter increasing crime rates.

However, Jameel told the UNHRC no official government discussion existed on the matter.

“This year alone we have had seven murders in a country of 350,000. The country is really struggling to address this surge of crime. It is in the light of these occurrences that this debate has occurred. There is no official government discussion, but there are scattered debates across every section of society,” Jameel said.

Judiciary Reform

The committee is “deeply concerned about the state of the judiciary in the Maldives,” the statement noted.

“The state has admitted that this body’s independence is seriously compromised.  The Committee has said the judiciary is desperately in need of more serious training, and higher standards of qualification,” the statement read.

The Supreme Court in particular needed “radical readjustment,” the committee said.

“As 6 of 7 Supreme Court judges are experts in Sharia law and nothing more, this court in particular is in need of radical readjustment.  This must be done to guarantee just trials, and fair judgments for the people of Maldives.”

A panel member during the UNHRC session also noted the “troubling role of the judiciary at the center” of the controversial transfer of power on February 7.

“The judiciary – which is admittedly in serious need of training and qualifications – is yet seemingly playing a role leading to the falling of governments,” he observed.


41 thoughts on “Maldives “needs radical changes”: UN Human Rights Committee”

  1. We should not revise article 18. It is not in UN human rights mandate to interfere with the internal issue like this and we will never allow the religious freedom in this country.

    Even if they alienate Maldives but we should not allow multiple religion in this soil.

    By supporting anni to become the President in this country will not help anyone to get the religious freedom and it is our believe and faith.

  2. @mode on Tue, 17th Jul 2012 7:32 PM

    "Even if they alienate Maldives but we should not allow multiple religion in this soil."

    Is this something prescribed in a religion you invented? What religion are you following?

    As far as I am aware, Islam does not forbid the co-existence of faiths (other than Islam). Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) showed this by example during his lifetime and his followers did the same. After all, there is no compulsion in Islam. As such, your statement is in total contradiction to the noble religion of Islam.

  3. Welcome to the 21st century. The UN mandate works both ways to be protected by it you must comply with it to live within the full protection of international law. Any idiot that buries their heads in the sand under the illusion that you are truely a 100% muslim hasn't truely subscibed to the true tennants of Islam, but leads a corrupt view of the true teaches, which is respect for all children of the book

  4. comon.. Dhunya is lying... there was never the space to have a national debate about freedom of religion. the very mention of a debate is enough to get someone stigmatized and possibly even arrested and tortured for 'alleged attempts to introduce freedom of religion" the case of Hilath Rasheed is a clear example; he never even called for religious freedom but only called for religious freedom whereby different sects of Islam be allowed in the society, such as Sufism. Right now what is deemed Islamic is only a strict version of Sunni Islam; witch again is interpreted differently by different people; and the Sheiks use their influence to politicize this issue.. Of course, Dunya is speaking what her fat her preached all his life.. but the sad reality is Maumoon grew up in the Egypt of the '50s and then spend time in the back waters of Africa - in Nigeria - before returning to Maldives after a 24 years absence. He was out of touch with the cultural roots of Maldives - in the South Asian subcontinent - and he the only way he could gain any status in society was to use his Arabic, Islamic knowledge of this worldly gains; eventually seeing himself become president...

    Maldives definitely needs freedom of religion; otherwise there will be more segregation; rich tycoons who own the resorts will keep abusing religion to their benefit; who are allowed to do all the things un Islamic in their islands; sell or consume alcohol, have orgy parties out of wedlock, etc.

    If we do not have freedom of religion we will go the dogs since the Mullah's will take over as they have now... but they can control only up to a point; see how they were on about alcohol and sex before the 7th february coup an snow they are silenced now by the resort owners who financed the coup.. Dunya is only a continuation of the voice of the ruthless dictator who abused religion for his personal gain...

  5. why don't they preach the US first about death penalty? We have not implemented it yet and see how much noise they are making?

    Anni is making a seal of his political future by being on the wrong side of public will here. Here in Maldives, most death penalty for notorious criminals. If MDP cannot stomach that then they may drop the D of the

  6. The Maldives should welcome the UNHRC's recommendations and comments in good spirit.

    We have nothing to gain from becoming confrontational and defensive.

    The UNHRC has carried out its role in reviewing and commenting on the human rights situation in the Maldives in the light of normative instruments adopted by the UN.

    However our reservation to Article 18 has been clearly articulated by Ms. Maumoon and any government in the Maldives that promises to lift this reservation is clearly lying. The political situation in the country does not allow an elected regime to even contemplate doing so given the prevalent attitudes among Maldivian society. If were to "be serious about" compliance with ICCPR then we must be serious about the possible time-frame within which a societal change such as that suggested by the UNHRC can be brought about. No democratic government in the whole world has tried to confront its people and aggressively implement a change that is not supported by an overwhelming majority of the electorate. Not even Nasheed's as can be seen by the Nasheed-regime's submissions to the UNHRC's UPR in 2011.

    The Nasheed government basically made a similar stand to the current one and promised to hold a nationwide symposium to begin religious debate on the subject of religious freedom albeit in an indirect manner.

    As for comments about the composition of the Supreme Court, I wholeheartedly agree. The Supreme Court is not so Supreme for a lot of us on both sides of the political divide. It was a half-hearted solution to a political impasse rather than a real attempt at strengthening the judicial system in the country. We have legal experts that are counted among the world's finest and yet our political parties could not look beyond their own interests in appointing weak puppets subservient to political interests to the highest judicial authority in the country.

    Yes the Supreme Court must be reconstituted if we truly wish to build a strong judiciary within our country and prevent a singular interpretation of Islam from dictating our legal system.

    As for reports of torture they should be looked into but not blown out of proportion.

  7. There should be freedom of religion in Maldives.

    I do NOT want beardees to tell me how I should bring up my kids. I know how to bring them up. They will be very far from you perverts. I am confident they will behave better, treat others better, respect others, and be open minded as well.

    The only problem is the beardees and the ignorants do not know is that the businessmen are playing them to fulfill their agenda of becoming richer, by using beardees haahoo as tools.

  8. @tsk tsk, you always seem to blame political parities.. in the new paradigm we are working from .. courtesy to the reformists.. parties are a force to be reckoned with..

  9. Mr. Jameel was in Nasheeds government as well. why have not you got failed to state that fact?

  10. There can be no Human Rights, without freedom of religion(freedom to worship god or not). Such society stuck in seventh century does not belong to be included in international comity of nations in 21st century.

  11. the question of freedom of religion,as in 'choice in religion'is going to be a very very tricky thing for any government in the Maldives,even in this 21st century. The society is not yet ready for such a radical change.....

  12. Gayoom has apparently stopped following news reports from his beloved Egypt or he would have realized that he will share Mubarak's fate, sooner or later, if he does not go into exile. Instead, he is apparently emboldened by the resilience of the Assad regime in Syria and the effectiveness of repression.

  13. It is official, = JUDICIAL REFORM IS HIGHLY NECESSARY! The international community have identified the rotten Supreme Court, their total incompetence, lack of education and their direct involvement in the coup! Under Gayoom, all roads led to his cronies = a hand picked corrupt supreme court and judicary to protect himself. This is where we find ourselves today!


  14. They spotted the failings in he judicary the day after Anni was charged, how ironic...

  15. When over half the population are less then average imtelligence, propaganda and etreme religion is the most effective way to allow the corrupt people at the top to help themselves. Sharia forbids free thinking, counter intelligence and individual opinion. No wonder the coup regime and the greedy hypocrite wealthy want it to dominate our society.

  16. There is no liberty in Maldives. The Law needs to be amended ASAP! Those who still call for Sharia Law does not belong in a developing community. We do need to stop educating Islam to our young generation, stop forcing them to learn the Quruan and STOP FORCING LITTLE CHILDREN FAST DURING RAMADAN!!! LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE, LET THEM GROW UP AND DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO FOLLOW RELIGION OR NOT !!

    Islam ruined our culture! I feel ashamed to be a Muslim. and there are good reasons for it. Islam is not e religion of peace. Its a religion of hatred! You kill each other in the name of God! Is it peace ??

  17. No need to discuss about the corruption of judiciary... Everyone knows this and I have not seen anyone who disagree on this. They are hiding behind the protection of the corrupt rich who in turn are protected by the same judges... This circle of power cannot be broken thanks to the ease with which you can buy votes to be an MP - a corrupt one.

    As for freedom of religion, the most common reason the clerics present is, by allowing freedom of religion, you allow weak believers to change... But who are these weak believers? Do they know who these are? Are they talking about themselves? What they are infact doing is the exact opposite. They are putting doubt into decent, reasonable people's minds that Islam is upheld in society only through compulsion. Average people see this as disturbing and could easily lead to question Islam instead of the twisted Clerics who have introduced this new concept of 100% muslim country, that is never required under true islam - check your facts.

  18. Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel has two wifes. Fili Waheed send a closed minded islamist to UNHRC meeting.

  19. No matter what People like Anni and his cronies and westerns sponsor says, you guys can only dream of having religious freedom in this country and will never succeed.

    We don't care what you think and you will never be able to force us to have this freedom.

    Once you realized that you informant Anni the great dictator realize that he will never win this episode , i suggest him to go and live with David Hardingham and even don't care what Anni does with thin.

  20. Organized religion has caused more deaths, than the combined deaths of the two World Wars!!!!

  21. We will get freedom of religon. We will get back the votes we lost. The Maumoon regime is a travesty and history will ultimately hold them accountable for their crimes.

    This document by REDRESS and the Torture Victims Association describes and documents their atrocities clearly

  22. - Laws, like government, should be based on the will of the people” Dunya -

    Funny how she doesn't see the irony of her statement. If government reflected the will of the people, she wouldn't be holding her position right now.

  23. The judiciary was at the center because a a judge was detained by the military without due process. nasheed has flip flopped on this issue as well,from saying he would do it again if he could, to saying he had no part in it and shifting responsibility to the ministry of defense.

  24. I do not support freedom of religion in Maldives. Maybe we should set a date for a referendum, 100 years from now. We are not properly able to manage a school, a court, police & army, or a pvt company, so how do you expect people to accept a multi religious society so easily.

    The last time a person said he was a sufi gay, his neck got slashed by knives.

    First we have to tame and control the Haabees

  25. I do not understand why the dictator Anni hate so much about the Islam and why he is advocating to give a religious freedom in this country and why western leaders believe that he can do so.

    More people had been killed by non muslims than Muslims in the history and even last 50 years too.

    No matter how much money Anni receives, he never be able to have that religious freedom in this country for next 100 years.

  26. Dhivehi Gaumu:

    How can we tame the haabees when you're labled an infidel just for engaging them in debate and going against their views? There needs to be freedom of religion so that religon can be completely separated from politics. Until that happens there are going to be psychos using religion as a tool for fear. The whole Adhaalath campaign strategy is based around making everyone else look evil; and thereby taking it upon themselves to rule as they've deemed themselves the holiest. Vote for us, or go to hell!


    Why? The way I see it it's mostly the Muslims that have a problem with other peoples beliefs than the other way around. It's apparent in the way you immediately assume anyone who is not a Muslim or has differing views from your version "hates Islam". Why would you think that?

    You know who were killed by Muslims? My Buddhist ancestors.

  27. I would like to elaborate by "Muslims" I mean the new intolerant kind that is being imported here from Pakistan, the middle east and other Arab countries. I know plenty of people who identify themselves as Muslims who are all for freedom of religion. You can't force faith.

  28. @Mode

    You have been expressing your dislike of Anni in no uncertain terms . Would you care to tell us what you think of Maumoon Abdul gayoom and how he bankrupted our country with his corruption?

  29. Even if there is freedom of religion then it should be brought through education in tolerance and a public referendum. Otherwise we will see a lot of trouble. Even in developed countries like USA and France we see religious places of worship being firebombed or people injured even on the slightest issue.

    Yea the Pakistani educated religious people are our biggest problem. The best way is to educate our religious scholars in our own universities and not to accept or (approved unis) limit the foreign educated scholars.

  30. Freedom of religion is a front agenda for islamophobes and I definitely do not want to help the Islamophobes. The islamophobes themselves has to show respect and tolerance but instead we get threaths and insults. I know for one thing all Muslims will unite against the islamophobes.

  31. Faults of Anni or corruption in his government can't be excused everytime because gayoom did the same. The 3 yr mdp government was corrupt as hell too, just like before. every time someone criticizes anni or mdp it gets deflected towards gayoom, or you get called a golhaa or these days a baghee. Much like the situation Hani is describing about being called islam hater or heretic for speaking against clerics or habees.

  32. @mode on Wed, 18th Jul 2012 12:24 PM

    "I do not understand why the dictator Anni hate so much about the Islam and why he is advocating to give a religious freedom in this country and why western leaders believe that he can do so."

    Can you get into your thick head that YOU do not understand Islam? As a matter of priority, you need to get yourself acquainted fully with the religion of Islam. I have no idea about the religion that you're following now!

    Let's leave aside Dictator Anni and Westerners who do not care about Islam. As you claim to care so much about Islam, it's disturbing that you do not understand even the fundamental tenets of the religion. Firstly, there's no compulsion in Islam. Read the Quran, it's right there infront of you. I bet you don't understand a word you read in the Holy Book!

    Islam respects all religions and all human beings regardless of race, colour, religion, nationality etc. Allah alone has the power to judge the human beings He created and no one else has that privilege. Given that, who are you to question the religion of Allah?

  33. I want you to know, when it comes to believing in god- I really tried. I really really tried. I tried to believe that there is a god who created each one of us in his own image and likeness, loves us very much and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize...something is F****D-UP. Something is WRONG here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is NOT good work. If this is the best god can do, I am NOT impressed. Results like these do not belong on the resume of a supreme being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently run universe, this guy would have been out on his all-powerful-ass a long time ago. [George Carlin, from "You Are All Diseased".]

  34. Freedom of religion is a freedom to choose Islam, the only fear you have is that the 100% Islam label will not be true - oh thats right its not true now!

  35. LOL says 'If this is the best god can do, I am NOT impressed'

    I really laughter my a** off at your dumbness.

    But first, let me request Islamic fanatics (who I equally dislike), not to write hate mails about such people. They have the following defects

    They assume their mind is a complete faculty capable of questioning motives of the Supreme. And if God is good (as per their values) there would not be war, no poverty, plenty of free love, good sex, free drinks and part all night. In other words the world should be like 24/7 Hawaii beach party.

    They believe that God is just not cool enough to create the world as a beach party. May be there was an error in the plan by Gods architectural firm perhaps.

    They are totally oblivious of the deeper meaning of life and the joys of spirituality.

    Calamities, death, disease, cholera, serve many purposes, my friends and one of them is to make people like you think. But God can do so much to you. Its you who have defected yourself.

  36. Maldives was never a 100 Muslim state. People don't dare to openly express their opinion. Because you are fully aware of the outcome if you do so!

    The ugly truth about our Nation !!

  37. @LMFAO > mate did you saw that it was a quote from the famous comedian George Carlin (R.I.P) I'm not surprised you laugh your ass off as he made it up to make people laugh.

    here is yet another one just like that from him!

    Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it, religion has actually convinced people that there's an INVISIBLE MAN...LIVING IN THE SKY...who watches every thing you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten special things that he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry for ever and ever 'til the end of time...BUT HE LOVES YOU!!. [George Carlin, from "You Are All Diseased"]

  38. Ahmed. I do not care what you think of me and what you know about religion. One think i can see from here is that you are one of great blind supporter of Anni who does not want to see anything outside anni eyes.

    Aisha, Both Gayyoom and anni are same and they have ruled the country like dictators and both had robbed this country. Anni is much worse since he robbed even more than what Gayyoom had robbers in 30 years.

    Neither of these two are decent people and they are greedy for power and money.

  39. Freedom of religion? Yes please. Maldives will only progress when it becomes secular. Otherwise, people will remain ignorant and like someone else mentioned, the majority of people are less than average at being intelligent.

  40. in islam all the rights are given, in maldives they are not following the Islamic Sharia they are following unislamic way of life...



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