Public must question government and Majlis representatives: UN resident coordinator

UN Resident Coordinator for the Maldives Andrew Cox has called on the public to be better informed of issues facing their communities, while listening “to different voices and views”, questioning elected representatives and making their voice “count” in a statement issued to mark Human Rights Day.

According to the UN, this year’s Human Rights Day is focused mainly on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is said to outline provisions on freedoms of association, expression and opinion, as well allowing for participation within government either individually or through an elected representative.

Cox’s statement emphasised that millions of people worldwide had exercised these freedoms by taking to the streets, not just in trying to express their thoughts and aspirations, but to make sure their voice counted.

“Human rights are claims and expectations of every man, woman and child that their governments not interfere in some kinds of activities (respect); safeguard them from abuse (protect); and provide basic conditions to enable everyone to achieve their greatest potential (fulfill),” he stated.

Taking the Maldives as an example, Cox stated that like many democratic countries worldwide, it was vital that everyone was allowed to have a voice without exception – including women, persons with disabilities, children, and other vulnerable groups and marginalised communities.

“Every Maldivian has the right to have their voice heard and to have a role in making decisions that shape their local communities, as well as shape the Maldives into the kind of country they want to live in,” he said.

“As we approach an important election year in this country’s fragile path of democratic progress and development, I hope all Maldivians will make your voices count on the issues facing the well-being of your communities, especially women. Not realizing the full potential of women in public life is simply a loss that the country cannot afford at this critical stage.”

Cox also called on the public to better inform themselves of key issues affecting their lives and communities, as well as listening to differing opinions in order to be better able to held elected representatives on both sides of the country’s political divide to account.

“It’s your right,” he concluded.

Acting Minister of Gender, Family and Human Rights Dr Mariyam Shakeela, who also serves as Minister of Energy and Environment, was unavailable for comment when contacted by Minivan News today.

Her predecessor, Dhiyana Saeed, was sacked last month, shortly after her husband, MP Abdulla Jabir challenged the legitimacy of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s government, alleging the country was being run as a police state.

Saeed had previously alleged that the arrest of Jabir on an island along with senior figures from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) over alleged possession of drugs and alcohol had been “politically motivated”.

MDP criticism

Last month, the UN in the Maldives came under strong criticism from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which claimed the local office of the NGO had remained “shamefully silent” over alleged human rights abuses flagged by other organisations.

“While the IPU, CMAG, Canada, the Human Rights Committee, the EU and certain international NGOs such as Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights have expressed varying degrees of alarm at the Maldives’ backsliding on democracy and human rights, others including the UN Resident Coordinator and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have remained shamefully silent,” MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed at the time. “To remain silent in the face of injustice is to be an accomplice to that injustice.”

The Office of the UN Resident Coordinator later responded to the MDP’s allegations by defending its activity in the Maldives and reiterating its “strict impartiality toward political parties”.

“As a trusted partner, the UN has spoken repeatedly in public and in private over the course of several years and three governments on democracy, development, and human rights. Most recently, the secretary-general spoke of the need for political dialogue, national reconciliation, and respect for the constitution. He called on all parties to exercise maximum cooperation and restraint,” the NGO stated.

Back in July 2012, a Maldivian government delegation sought to defend the Maldives’ human rights record and commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) before the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC).

The delegation was questioned on a number of specific issues relating to alleged torture of prisoners, the use of judicial flogging as a punishment, freedom of religion – which is outlawed in the country – the death penalty and the conduct of the nation’s judiciary.


15 thoughts on “Public must question government and Majlis representatives: UN resident coordinator”

  1. Show me one instance where Andrew Cox has publicly spoken out against police brutality?

    Andrew Cox by being silent is as guilty as those perpetrators. The UN has failed big time in the Maldives on human rights and Andrew Cox is the main cause of it. Shame on him and the UN!

  2. Mr. Andrew Cox.... where was you when the coup leaders brought down the democratically government of Maldives.

    If you are unable to perform your job as Resident Coordinator for the Maldives due to your indebtedness to the old Gayoom dictatorship, please resign so we can get someone capable person.

    We don't need a UN Resident Coordinator who's only job function is to conduct low budget cheap awareness courses in Maldives.

  3. We MDPians hate Andrew becoze he support Gayoom and coup regim. We want to chase Andrew cox out of maldives and bring UN resident cordinate who support MDP and our leader Anni. Andrew get lost and never come back.

  4. Public must also question the role of international agencies such as the IFC who 'advised' on GMR privatisation and the roles played by UNHRC (Nav Pillay and co) on freedom of religion.

    One hopes Mr. Cox would do his job impartially- i.e., try to maintain the credibility of international organizations by speaking up when they UNHRC, IFC and others takes idelogical positions.

    Unfortunately the UN family has not shows consitency and as one of the major actors in Maldives, the UN system itself exacerbates the political problems in Maldives.

  5. The light dies when it is hidden. It has been hidden to avoid being quenched completely by tyranny. But in a few, through the tragedy of death which awakens the deepest recess of the soul – that part of the soul which is an eternal reservoir of fuel for the light, the light will shine. The light is – unquenchable compassion and freedom. Only then the light will shine, and, it will blaze so strongly, that not even death and suffering will be able to put it out, as death and suffering will simply refuel it. Then, these human rights will be realized.

  6. To my belief, Mr. Andrew Cox can and have said this only in the capacity as the resident coordinator for the UN in the Maldives.

    At this current times, in many parts of the world, justice, politics and even common sense do not seem to be working as it should be, and in the best interest of their peoples!
    Power craziness seems to be seeping in to many countries in various style and therefore Maldives can not be avoided from the general trend, and especially being in the location where she is!

    However, it would be rather prudent and better for the people of Maldives, if Mr. Cox and the UN would show better performance and act on time before things can get worst from what it is now.

    I am a 100% sure that Mr. Cox and the UN fully know what took place on the 7th of February, and what damage it has done to the fabric of democracy and what injustice that followed the event and is going from bad to worst!

    As it is, Maldives, in a different style, is no better than China and Myanmar, where mass killing has been done, is being done AT WILL!

    Mr. Cos and UN must have seen the MASS BRUTALITY on a particular people of this country was being done and is being done with the many bodies of HUMAN RIGHTS watching and condemning them as and how they desire!

    This cannot be enough and justifiable!

  7. Wov... after Andrew Cox's holiday is about to end in the exotic islands of Maldives, he makes a statement.. Were you (Mr Cox) blind and deaf not to see public outrage after the first elected president of the Maldives was forced to resign at gun point and the unleashing of police brutality in the months after?

    But yes, you, Mr Cox, will have to show to his superiors that he had something in the Maldives so he can get another posing in an equally exotic country where he and his wife and kids can holiday for another years without going to cold England.. That's it isn't it? What the CONI report has proven is that countries like Maldives can do with any interference from UN and other international agencies in the governance of the country.. They should just holiday in Maldivies and similar countries and they can pay their salaries to good hotels and tour guides..

  8. The UN's attitude to democracy in the Maldives has been nothing short of a huge disgrace. Small democracies like the Maldies need the support of bigger and more powerful bodies such as the UN.
    Mr Cox. Please do not patronise us with your advice on human rights. I do not trust you personally because as far as I can see, you have failed to voice your concerns clearly and openly despite the brutality that came with the events of February 7th. I do not trust the UN's involvement in the Maldives because you are its representative in our country.
    the country deserve better.

  9. I take this opportunity to renew the assurances of my consideration to the United Nations Representative of the Islamic Republic of Maldives Incorporated.

  10. the frustrated bunch (MDP-ans) lashes out again. why this, why this, human rights, human rights all the time? puppets to a single personality, thats what you are. why not fight for the rights of the poor bangladeshi's and the constant mistreatment they are faced with. just because your incompetent leader was ousted and you were stupid enough to follow him onto the streets and get beaten up for it, then you see and scream human rights. but a blind eye to everything else thats happening in the country, great injustices on so many levels. in this regime and that! but when it comes to someone who does not necessarily agree with anni on blind faith - andrew cox, navi pillay, mulay, sri sri ravi shankar, any other foreigner - must be treated with mistrust and deemed an infidel not fit to be in the country! thaalia, thaalia! proven your worth again.

  11. anyone who is not inline and agree with Anni is a traitor and failure. What a double standard of the MDP is ?

    Anni had violated human rights over and over again during his three years dictatorship. People were oppressed by his arrogance .

    His actions were completely against the constitution.

    1. Anni used water cannon first time in the history of Maldives against peaceful demonstrators near STELCO.
    2. Anni used tear gas and baton against the people who gathered at Junction in Majeedhi Magu illegally.
    3. Anni use excessive force to disperse the peaceful demonstrators near fish market 15 times in three years.
    4. Anni use excessive force against peaceful demonstrators in artificial beach 10 times during his three years of dictatorship.

    What human rights MDP is talking about here?

  12. @aadhe..."why not fight for the rights of the poor bangladeshi’s and the constant mistreatment they are faced with..."

    This is so true. The Bangladeshi's really do seem to have it tougher than anyone in Maldives. I have observed their plight myself, whilst in Male'.

    We, all of us human beings, most often only fight for the human rights which suit ourselves and ignore other human rights. We mask our selfishness in grand facades of freedom for all and compassion, we may even be self deluded enough into truly believing what is best for us is best for all.

    If we were truly caring and aware of the Maldives, the plight of many of the ex-pat laborers would be a very strong cause for concern. Many of us Westerners do need to be pulled up for our hypocrisy at times, so, thankyou for bringing me back down to earth with a reality check.


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