Comment: Maldives no paradise for victimised young people

The Maldives is often described as ‘paradise’ or ‘heaven’, or is often described as the most peaceful and most beautiful nation in the world.

We have white sandy beaches, coconut palm trees hanging their leaves to the sea, as seen in the pictures, and the charming view of the sunset.

And this nation is also largely considered by the international community to be one of the best countries for freedom and rights.

Now let’s take a glance inside the so-called ‘paradise’ and see what we find. I am a Maldivian and I love this nation with all my heart. However, the truth will remain as the truth, although most of them try to hide it… forgive me and my words as I continue.

The constitution of the Maldives is just a bunch of words put together in a book with a green cover. In other words, its just an image portrayed to the international community, to show them how much the government pays attention for the rights of the citizens and for the freedom of the citizens. And also to show how democratic the society is.

Believe it or not, we do not have even one third of the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the constitution.

Seeing the chapter on freedom and rights – the second chapter of the constitution – brought comfort to a lot of citizens. Well, it did comfort the citizens before we realised it is guaranteed not for the poor ordinary citizens, but only for the wealthy and high-profile people of the nation.

More than half of the youth are into drugs, one way or another. Either dealing it or using it. You all know this is to be true.

The police have no idea how to deal with this issue. The only solution they apply is intimidation, harsh words, handcuffs and batons.

As a matter-of-fact, police have developed a nasty habit of arresting kids roaming the streets.

Police keep these arrested kids in detention for 23 hours and releases them presenting them face justice. Where is the article 45 of the constitution? Article 45: “Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained, arrested or imprisoned.”

I would like to tell Commissioner of Police Mohamed Faseeh that this is not helping. In fact, it makes the situation of Male’ worse day by day. They cannot be stopped using that method. Think twice Mr Faseeh. If it could prevent the crimes, there would be no more gangs in Male’ because every time police conduct operations, hundreds are arrested and released. The ultimate price of it is ‘nothing’.

Most of the arrested kids are presented with wide opportunities to engage in crimes and gangs during their 23 hours stay behind the bars. The people they meet behind the bars become very friendly.

I have witnessed, on more than one night, kids sitting in public areas being arrested on no charges and being released after 23 hours without being presented to court. Their whole life shatters after being victimised by such a police ‘special operation’.

His family disowns him for bringing disgrace to the family. What other choice does he have? Other than joining the friends police forced him to meet behind the bars?

These kids are helpless. They live in tiny little congested houses with their entire family. They have no place to lie down inside their homes. That forces them to roam around, to sit on public benches. But if they get arrested while sitting there, where is the article 32 of the constitution? Article 32: “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly without prior permission of the State.”

I have seen some of them refusing arrest as they have not committed any offense. However, the police warns them they have the power to arrest, and that for demanding for their freedom and rights, one can be arrested for 23 hours.

Our little green book includes the phrases “unlawful arrest” and “unlawful order”. Article 64: “No employee of the State shall impose any orders on a person except under authority of a law. Everyone has the right not to obey an unlawful order.”

In the meantime, the real gangsters have been at large. They have been progressing their work and have built nests not only in the capital city Male’ but also in other islands. It is public knowledge. As a result, there has been a significant and notable increase in the crime rate across the islands very recently.

Crimes are increasing at a steady rate. Gangs spreading their work nationwide.

It’s about time the police took appropriate measures on this issue for sake of the future of our next generation. The political parties and MPs can’t deal with these issues as they are too busy with their own wars.

The law enforcing agency’s pathetic manner of dealing with the issue will never solve it either. The police may think their aggressiveness and hostile actions towards these boys will assist them. If you think so, you’ve got it so wrong.

It only encourages them to challenge the police. If the police confront them thisway, I am sure they would never give up, they would rather suffer a broken rib. Hostile action and aggressiveness is not the answer to our problems. The other day you release them, they will be out there again.

Police officers also need to improve their own ethics before they are sent out to correct others’ mistakes. I have met females who complain that it is common practice for police officers patrolling the streets to stop by and whistle at young woman on the streets. To me that’s inexplicably disgraceful.

Police officers speak rudely, to show people they are powerful. Yes, you are and we know that. We wonder how many lives of innocent kids you will ruin before you catch one single criminal.

The wisest of us Maldivians would leave the country. Do not even think of the word ‘enjoy’ while you are living here. One could be arrested for having a chat with a friend in a public place. When the police say jump, you just ask “how high?”.

The articles stated in our constitution are very sophisticated, but we do not get to taste the sweetness of it. Article 63 of the constitution states: “Any law or part of any law contrary to the fundamental rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Chapter shall be void or void to the extent of such inconsistency.”

So I doubt if the police law is valid. I do not know what will be your perspective. I just exercise my right to express my opinion when I feel it’s time.

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13 thoughts on “Comment: Maldives no paradise for victimised young people”

  1. Ali Mohamed. Thank you for writing about this issue.

    What you said is very true. The Special Operations by police means the police officers runs after young people on the streets and detain them.

    The impact of getting detained by the police in these special operations is very serious. Young people experience confronting the police, listening to harsh language by the authorities and the humiliation of getting arrested which de sensitize them to the whole process.

    The victims get photographed and their records are kept with the police. And if by any chance any of these young people are arrested the police would say such and such a person has a prior police record.

    And guess what? Employers require people to have a police clearance before they are employed. And there are so many young people in this country who could not get employment because of such police records. And employers, they do not spend a minute finding out what is written in the police record. Having a record is enough for them not to give a job to a local but get an expatriate who would work 12 hours a day for less than 150 US dollars.

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  2. A good artiacle highlighting a very important and serious issue. The solution lies with several institutions and the public working together in a positive and constructive environment. The Government, Parliament, Police, PG, Courts and the DPRS need to cooperate.

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  3. Thank you Ali
    I am with you on this all along the way.

    My nephews were the target of police. They were on their holiday break from Malaysia and Australia. 18 police surrounded their car battering on it with batons and pointing the gun. The kids (19 was my eldest nephew) in his panic could not press the button to open the window nor think he could just open the door. He was in such terror.

    Out of the two boys, they took the younger one in a pic up and the elder one was asked to drive. Yeah, both were body checked against the wall before ordering them to join the force to the police. They were the victims for that night. Two hours later they were released with a lot of calls and convincing...

    Two days earlier to this incident, a boy was taken at midday as he came out of a house in Henveiru Roashanee magu and kept at the police till the next day...

    I also counseled one young chap who got thrown into jail when he was 17...he was not a criminal or involved in drugs or anything...,Two years later he was..
    and on the verge of committing suicide..From a so called decent family...I spend two hours one night on the phone with this 19years old as he cried his heart out...
    Its painful and it takes a lot to keep the focus and not get emotionally burnt out when dealing with the youth in Maldives.

    Who is the police? They are young people who comes to join the force because they do not have any other choice. They are young people seduced by the incentives that no other jobs offer...security of an income, the opportunity to live in police accommodations, to have the medicals paid for them and their families..but the education lags. They have no skills nor the psychology to deal with the public. Police who should be out in the public are people who should have experience and the sensitivity to deal with the public. Today they are a terror. People hate the Police. It tastes bad. It is not the individual man who is police. It is the concept, the institution and what it represents.

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  4. why don't you highlight the issue of bangladeshi workers' population explosion in this so called paradise on earth.(.although God knows that there are far better paradises on earth!)this paradise on earth is a misnomer formed by the dictator parasite maumoon!

    anyway,coming to the point..the roads of Male are full of these expatriate workers living under drastic conditions,they are like the plague that's spreading in the Maldives..Overcrowding the small little hellholes they live in,spreading diseases all over...they go without a decent shower weeks at a stretch and don't know the first letter of hygiene...they keep loitering and spitting around on the poorly formed roads spreading diseases!this issue is far worse than anything else in this country.

    Forget about the drug abusing excuses of kids roaming on the roads..they need to be put behind bars even if it's for 23 hours,even their parents wish them to be there!

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  5. These kids you are talking about are not so helpless as you make them out to be..If they have no place to stay at home the least they can do is go to some place like a public library or something,in fact they can sit at some place and read book or something...truth is,most of the maldives is having malfunctioning families where the children don't have a good upbringing in the middle classes..these kids are all foul mouthed and most of the time they are upto some mischief,the police can't just let them have their way..it's a fact that since these police operations have started there have been a decrease in the number of street crimes like mugging and robbing and gang violence..the police has got to start from somewhere and what better way than showing these kids that there is the price of jail to pay for being rowdy and criminal on the streets! we have no remand homes,no place for delinquents,therefore police have no choice left but to jail them even if they have to free them the next day..job well done police!

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  6. The spirit of the article is good. The writer is absolutely right to say that for most youngsters Maldives is no paradise - if they could afford it they would leave on the first plane heading overseas.
    Anni's government has so far proved ineffective in dealing with the woes of the youth.With more crime on the street, the police,the customs, the rehabs, the jails, even some of the ngo's get budget increments: resulting in more money to be skimmed for those managing these institutions.
    According to law enforement officials the country consumes 8 kilos of drugs a day. Do the mathematics and you will find how deep rooted is the problem. None of the real big traffickers have so far been caught. It's only the small fries who get enmeshed in the net. I myself know who the big wheeler dealers in crime are and I guess its no secret to the police either. These people are not going to see the inside of a jail cell because the tentacles of corruption have spread so wide that it would reflect bad on the government to see them in custody. Beleive it or not - a businessman who generously contributed to the MDP was made a State Minister. He had made his money in dealing in drugs. Its possible the authorities are unaware of how the man made his fortune. The bigger criminals are respected businessmen with connections in the government. To keep the public happy the police conduct periodic operations to curtail crime and its always the youngsters who suffer the brunt of the government's mismanagement.
    I'm sorry but its the sad truth.

    Ali

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  7. I agree with two of your main statements wholeheartedly.

    The first statement that I agree with is that " the wisest of us Maldivians would leave the country."

    The second important statement that you made is that " The Maldives is no paradise for ordinary Maldivians. " I agree with it.

    By your standards I am both lucky and wise.

    I am both ordinary and Maldivian by birth.

    I applaud you for your intelligence and bravery in making these statements.

    I agree with you.

    I thank you too.

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  8. Forget about the "Green Book" nobody including our President doesnt respect the law. We now live in a worse dictatorship than ever before. The people have been robbed by promissing a better democratic society and this i where we are today. Those who even revived the law doesnt understand what it meant.

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  9. i totally agree with Ali, we are in a very critical situation at this time of era.... even the young and the normal people who are in jobs both government and private, even they don't have any right for any thing they are doing forced labor, its not only Bangladheshi workers who are doing forced labor in the Maldives, with them Maldivians on their own soil are to do forced labor...
    Employees do not have any freedom to speak against their heads even if they do some thing wrong, if they do they would be sacked or sanctioned.....
    top management would take all the credit for all the things that the normal workers do sweating their blood out and would not even pay them well.....
    This is the reality in the so called Paradise on Earth The Maldives,
    I would rather call it HELL ON EARTH

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  10. The writing is superior; it’s what the idiot police commissioner is doing! For thirty long years he’s been doing so .. , the problem with the writing is “you should come up with a solution”. Not only the gangs what’s the police doing about the drug dealers ? they would just seize a car with nobody inside , only a car and some bullets of heroin , and an apartment with some drugs nobody arrested ? this shows how much corruption is inside the police force ? is police commissioner a trained Police officer .. if so he should be aware of these crooked operations they run in the name of special operations

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  11. Young people roaming around places to places????. How young? As a Maldivian I know the situation you are referring and I know the so called young people. As I read through the article I don't know why I had the feeling that you are defending the "young people". They maybe young but they are not innocent. Do you have any idea why they are roaming. I think you need to address the route cause of this problem rather than blaming the police and their duties. These young people are not more than a devil. You cant describe their behaviour in words. My family is quiet big and I never roam around places. Do you why?. For your information there are hundred others like me who grew up just like me never roam around places to places. Do you think you need to focus on their parents for their behaviour rather than challenging constitution and Police. Do you really think it would be any easier or fun for the police to take "young people" from places to places and later release them. Your story is funny when I take those things into account. Lets not blame Police and constitution for our behaviour. Its our parents or the people we live together. If we control that we can save our society from this dilemma.

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