UNHRC expresses concern over threats to civil society organisations: MDP

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has highlighted concerns raised by the UN Committee on Human Rights (UNHRC) that civil society organisations in the Maldives have allegedly received threats after submitting evidence to the inter-governmental body.

According to the MDP, the warning came during the closing stages of the Committee’s consideration of the Maldives’ report on its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel and State Minister for Foreign Affairs have spent the last few days defending the country’s human rights record before the committee, which received a series of reports critical of that record from numerous local and international organisations.

An emergency point of order was raised by the Vice Chair of the Committee during the closely stages of the committee hearing.

The committee had, the Vice Chair said, “received extremely worrying reports that civil society groups in the Maldives which gave information for this meeting have been the subject of threats as a result. This includes the worst kind of threat – the threat to life,” the MDP cited in a statement.

Reprisals against such organisations and individuals for cooperating with international human rights bodies was a serious concern, the panel noted, and urged the government to ensure civil society was protected.

The MDP noted that with the statement, the Maldives had joined other States to have received such warnings including Bahrain and Sri Lanka.

President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News that the government had “received complaints” from former Maldives High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Farhanaz Faizal, “that she has been receiving death threats, and we have brought this to the attention of the High Commission in London and the police.”

Minivan News was awaiting clarification from Dr Faizal at time of press.

Helios submission

Separately, Minivan News obtained an email sent by President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad to the Helios Life Association, a Swiss-based NGO which submitted a report to the UNHRC claiming that “the growing political and institutional influence of radical Islamic groups has undermined the Maldives’ progress towards realisation of rights guaranteed under the ICCPR.”

The Helios report noted that “this growing radicalisation resulted in the creation of a coalition of political parties in December, called the 23rd December Coalition for the Defence of Islam.

“As well as extremist religious elements, the 23rd December Coalition comprised of a range of political groups and individuals linked to the country’s former autocratic leader, Mr Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The Coalition had been formed in direct opposition to the observance of international human rights law, particularly to the undertaking given at the UPR process that a national debate will be held on ending forms of punishment not consistent with Article 7.”

The report drew the Committee’s attention to the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to the Maldives and the vitriolic reaction to calls she made for a moratorium of the flogging of women for extramarital sex.

“The [December 23] Coalition proceeded to carry out a coup d’etat on February 7, which was executed by elements of the army and police loyal to Mr Gayoom, his close allies and former members of his government, and other parts of the 23rd December Coalition, following a call by the then Vice‐President, Dr Mohamed Waheed, to ‘defend Islam and the Constitution’”, the Helios report alleged.

“The coup saw elements of the police and army threaten the Maldives’ first democratically‐elected President, Mr Mohamed Nasheed, his family and colleagues from the ruling Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), with physical harm or worse unless he resign by a certain time.”

In the email sent to the Helios Association, Imad asks the organisation’s President, Dr Anna Barchetti Durisch, for the “names and positions” of the report’s authors, and whether a delegation from the organisation had visited the Maldives to assist in the drafting.

Speaking to Minivan News, Imad said that the picture on the front of the report – consisting of several police officers holding a baton to an old man with a bloody head injury – was a “fake picture” that had been photoshopped.

As for the report’s content, “much of it is biased. It sounded like a joke to me,” he said.

Pictured: The Helios report cover image the government alleges is fake.


16 thoughts on “UNHRC expresses concern over threats to civil society organisations: MDP”

  1. The illegal regime know only how to bully and use force. This is not a set up photo, this is what is happening every day.

  2. its not staged. if you look at a close-up high res image of the same pic you would know that the image is photo shopped.

  3. but so many Maldivians who were with that old man saw that incident by their eyes and also many have seen videos of the same incident.

    But many believe it will be the most difficult thing for Imad to express anything other than the expressions like 'fake picture', 'Photoshopped', or 'joke' because he was not from his own family or anyone whom he loves

  4. Next they'd claim all these videos are fake


    And the Feb 7 coup never happened.

  5. yes this is fake picture. The old man is Manaage Faiz and he never got any head injury in last 6 months and I know him personally and am seen him almost every week twice minimum.

  6. My god! Helios is obviously a questionable organization using doctored imagery and statements from politicians to draw up reports.

    Does the UNHRC not have some sort of filtering process whereby such obviously biased institutions are not allowed to send shadow reports?

    Also wasn't this year's periodic review focused on the human rights situation in 2011?

  7. @mode, you must be this "skull cracker"!

    It is not Manaagey Faiz, it is Late Gayyoom who came out from the grave and happened to be standing by when the dogs his off-spring fed and brought up came and attacked him!

    Man! we all saw this live on TV! How this old man was hit, pushed around and finally downed!

    Correction of your vision would do a lot of good!

  8. All one needs to say is that The Maldives is a first class example of a banana republic. I can't imagine the police and army visiting the head of the UK, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, Danish, German etc etc governments and the next minute those heads of state resign. There would be a great deal of disquiet in those countries if that were to happen. But, par for the course in The Maldives. carry on with your ridiculous lies tsk tsk

  9. UNHCR has the capacity of knowing fake and real pictures as they are not new to that type of technology.....Also they are used to DEMOCRACY though we are quite new....It's quite easy for organizations like UNHCR, the Commonwealth or Amnesty International to understand why Dr Waheed cannot afford for a resignation and facilitate for a Presidential Poll....look at the roads of Male'..........every afternoons till morning so many people of the Maldives are crying and screaming for a chance of electing a President via ballot-boxes

  10. yes i know a lot. I am and was MDP member. I was actively involved in removing the Gayyoom and was a strong supporter of Anni.

    I gave up my hope once i realized that anni was no better than Gayoom after 18months since Anni took the office.

    I started realized that the guy was very autocratic in just few months he took over the office but thought that circumstances were compelled to do and expected to him to improve and rather try to look everyone on the same ground and not to favor only MDP hardcore members.

    I could have easily got huge advantage during Anni regime but i took a back sheet not to get involved on those dirty deals.

    Yes there violence from both sides. Police and MDP crowd too and i do not deny that.

    but the guy in this vary picture is Faiz who had never got any head injury for last 6 months.

    Many of the hardcore MDP thugs including the cult Anni, have no tolerance in the party and everyone else is follow the dictator and his option is final and no one can make any recommendation on anything that dictator says.

    Many of the people who had worked with the Dictator will agree and if not later will agree once they realized that Dictator has no place in this country to become again the president .

  11. The image shown in this post is purely a fabricated one, as the police no longer use such batons. The batons used by the police are black in color, and not made of wood as this image shows.


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