The Office of the UN Resident Coordinator has issued a statement defending the UN’s activity in the Maldives and reiterating its “strict impartiality toward political parties”.
The statement follows a recent accusation from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) that 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.”
“Since February’s overthrow of the Maldives’ democratically-elected government, key parts of the international community have remained silent regarding the widespread human rights violations taking place,” the party’s spokesperson, MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, said in a statement.
“To remain silent in the face of injustice is to be an accomplice to that injustice,” he added.
In a statement released on Sunday, the UN said it “continues to be concerned that the current situation in the country may have an impact on the country’s development”, and noted examples of the international organisation’s activities in the Maldives.
“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 UN stated.
“The High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Rapporteurs have engaged robustly and provided considerable support over the years on human rights, which has been further strengthened by the recent deployment of a human rights adviser,” the statement noted.
“The UN team in Maldives, led by the Resident Coordinator, works as part of the larger UN strategy focusing on development, human rights and support to democracy. Our primary and overriding interest is to work for the development of the country and the betterment of the lives of its people. It does this on the basis of a programme of cooperation signed with the government in the interest of the people of the Maldives. We do our work with national institutions in government and civil society, the private sector, and directly with communities.
“The UN team has been deeply engaged in building national capacity, and in urging and assisting Maldivians to take the lead in overcoming deep rooted national challenges. We will continue to provide support and advocate vigorously a renewed focus for development that builds on the gains of the past, and focuses on the needs of the country,” the organisation stated.