HRCM expresses concern over gang violence, calls on the parliament to expedite bills

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has expressed concern over growing gang violence in the wake of the stabbing murder of a 17 year-old last Friday, describing the surge in violence as an obstacle to people “obtaining the freedom and rights guaranteed them in the Constitution.”

“We are very concerned that murder with sharp objects, gang wars and other crimes are now being conducted publicly,’’ HRCM said in a statement.

“It is with regret that we note that it has reached a situation where it is difficult for the people to live a normal life, and has become an obstacle for people to obtain the freedom and rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”

The commission claimed that the issue caused trouble for institutions of the state and obstructed the duties of those institutions.

“The commission has recently expressed concern over the issue and repeatedly called on the concerned authorities to pave way for a peaceful society for eternity,’’ the Commission said. “We note that the release of people charged with perilous crimes such as murder has caused them to repeat the crimes and that the agencies responsible for implementation of sentences are not taking necessary measurements.’’

The commission called on the Home Ministry and the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) to fulfill its duties and take action quickly.

“We call on the parliament to expedite necessary bills such as the bill on the penal code, the criminal procedure bill, the evidence bill, parole bill and the bill on prohibiting threatening and using sharp objects and dangerous weapons,’’ HRCM said.

“We also appeal everyone to conduct all actions bound by the laws and in accordance with Islamic principles and democracy.’’

Recent gang violence reported

Last Saturday, a 17 year-old boy was stabbed in the leg and died after more than eight hours of treatment at Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital IGMH, according to a person familiar with the matter. A total of six men were stabbed during over the weekend.

On May 3, two men on a motorbike stabbed a 16 year old child in front of two police officers on Ameenee Magu near Imadudeen School, before fleeing.

On May 10, NGOs held discussion meeting on the new drug bill, aimed at reducing the number of drug addicts and gang violence in the Maldives.

On May 31, daily newspaper Haveeru reported simultaneous outbursts of violence near Athama Palace and Maafaanu Stadium on May 29, while another third victim was stabbed outside Galolhu police station the following day.

A 14 year old boy was also stabbed eight times on May 28, the newspaper reported, after he was reportedly mistaken by a gang for somebody else.

On June 1, a squad of masked police officers during a special operation destroyed the outer wall of Galolhu Masodige, a house police believed was being used by gangs to gather and hide weapons.

On June 16, a group of more than 10 men beat and stabbed a 19 year old man in Male’ in front of many witnesses, as he was walking down a street in Mahchangolhi, Male’.

On June 20, a 16 year-old boy was stabbed by a group of four men. The men rode up on motorbikes as the victim was near Fen building on Ameenee Magu, a person familiar with the victim told Minivan News.


15 thoughts on “HRCM expresses concern over gang violence, calls on the parliament to expedite bills”

  1. We can legislate, penalize and regulate all we want but until and unless we are willing to enact policies which target the root causes of the growth and strengthening of local gangs then we will NEVER be able to deal with this issue in an effective way.

    An Assistant Commissioner of Police at the MPS has stated to Haveeru Online in an interview that he believes that our politicians use gangs for protection. If the ACP can back his claims up with solid evidence (he has indicated that "bodyguards" used by MPs are individuals suspected of gang activity by police intelligence) then the HRCM could actually coordinate with the MPS when making its next press statement on this issue to emphasize this important and alarming issue.

    While political backing for gangs is one major cause for their financial growth, there other factors which lend towards growth in their numbers. Poor socioeconomic infrastructure and planning - poor basic education, a socioeconomic and legal framework that leads to irresponsible parenting, limited avenues for entertainment especially for youth (youth-oriented entertainment policies always assume that the word youth only implies to healthy young males with an interest in sports), widespread poverty and squalor in rapidly urbanizing areas of the country etc. There are also issues in the physical infrastructure that needs to be addressed such as poor land use planning, social housing programs gone haywire thereby creating ghettoes where crime feeds in on itself, limited public spaces for recreation or relaxation; building codes, landownership, financial institutions and economic realities that allow people to be packed into small spaces therefore leaving the streets as the only breathing space; a belief in religious sermons and platitudes as the only means to admonish and rehabilitate the youth which alienates them from their disciplinarians etc. etc.

    Therefore, crime cannot be stopped overnight with the passing of a few legal instruments. This is NOT to say that Acts of Parliament are unnecessary. They do form the basis and the framework for crime reduction and will also empower the police as well as the judiciary. However, corruption is rampant in all institutions of the Maldives and we must not focus solely on a single institution in attempts to weed it out. This is an important part of ensuring justice. Economic opportunities need to be afforded to our growing youth population in the form of jobs, entrepreneurship and access to higher education and training. Also, the drug trade and gang wars are often allowed to flourish not just through poor oversight but by active encouragement and funding from power players in our society. Unless these elements can be targeted, then there is no point in apprehending and incarcerating the little fish - they can and will be replaced by eager contenders.

  2. This is completely unacceptable. Instead of focusing on all these motions of no confidence, on the approval of the cabinet and everything else, why can't we put focus on to the bills that are necessary for peace and stability in our nation?

    The Penal Code Bill
    The Criminal Procedure Bill
    The Evidence Bill
    The Parole Bill
    The Prohibition of Threatening Behavior and Use of Sharp Objects/Dangerous Weapons Bill

    Then after this is done, impeach all the people you want. Disband the entire cabinet if that is what ya'll seek. Just work together on what we need, then focus on political squabbles.

    The quicker you get all of those bills through the pipeline, the more time you can spend arguing about this Minister said or that Minister did.

    Grrrr. I guess the other option is to get the politics out of the way first, but i just don't see that as feasible and possible. And blame lies on both sides of the political fence. The Executive and the MPs. Mess. Everything is a mess.

  3. all the stabbed are age below 20 and that is very sad. do you people not realise the value of life? you just chant it and take it loosely don't you. the sanctity of life. where is the sacredness of it. this is absolutely a godless state here.

  4. you can't legislate them out. the aberrant behavior, the corruption, the heartless business of politics, it all leads to one route cause in all societies. #Money of its by products are: power, social status, greed, violence of most kind to mention a few.

    do you want to solve the problems or deal with the problems? humans have never been very good at longterm planning and that's why its tempting to deal with the problems we face rather than trying to get to the route cause of the problems and solving it.
    legislate and punish the drug abuser, trader and lock'em up.
    what is it that runs the drug or any other business? what drives this maniac system (oh yes we all how its crazy). what makes the youth go for drugs and why is it available so easily? try answering these questions and find a solution.
    chop the hands off for stealing OR inprison them
    find out why people steal? is it because of scarcity which runs the whole market system? say you were able to imagine a time when there abundance of water, food, clothing and shelter that we were able to provide for everyone on earth without a pricetag and give a relevant education with a relevant values, would stealing be prevalent? is there even need to steal anything?

    creat machines that kill, weapons that kill and brainwash people using the known PR and psychological methods to be killing machines. aka ARMY
    spend the same amount of resources and time to educate people to become problem solvers, make machines that solve human problems. imagine the same amount of resources and time spent on WW2 used to create a better place for humans. They could've easily build hospitals all over the world, schools all over the world, provided with clothing and shelter for billions of people, invested on technological developments that will help humanity, cleaned up all the swamps.

    Neither of the political party is as important as a human life. nor a grand or little drug deal is. We need a massive perspective change and a new way to look at the world around us. we need a new value system. Please step out side of the boxes and see the endless possibilities. do not be selfish, do not kill, do not harm others or yourself.

  5. is that a tea table? this is getting very boring. all commisions with their members sitting behind a tea table for press conferences.. and when press conference ends walk out step in brand new car and drive away to 10 storey residence. may Allah curse all independent commisions and all press conference holding agencies.

  6. Hamza and others have given a shopping list of solutions. All nonsense.

    The solution is to “Be the change you want to see in the world.'' as Gandhi says.

    Unfortunately no is leading by example. There are no exemplary role models to look up to and to aspire. Look at the stage, the limelight and see if you aspire to be like any of them. Ask yourself.

  7. Nasheed's government will not respect what HRCM says. And he will continue to release more criminals from prison without a parole process.

  8. It seems that there is no end to this gang violence. And there is plenty of evidence that they are well financed with drug money, and the network goes way way up to the politicians.

    Drug dealers earn shit loads of money by trading illegal substances. They earn such high margins precisely because the drugs are banned. If drugs were legalized (or decriminalized), there will not be that much profit to be made. Since the prices are high now, addicts have to commit to theft and muggins to get money to finance their addiction. Addiction is a real problem and should be addressed as a socio-medical problem rather than a criminal problem.

    So I say we legalize drugs and focus our resource on rehabilitation. If someone could have won a war on drugs it would be US, but they have failed even with their enormous resources.

    OR we could give even more harsh penalties including capital punishment. But then again, it will be the lowly average gang kids who will be caught and receive capital punishments. Not the real power brokers and politicians who engage in this trade.

    Just imagine what would happen if cigarettes were banned in Maldives. There will be black market of cigarettes and it will be gangs who deal cigarettes, and they will be making hefty profits. You will see gang violence related to cigarettes too.

    Just my thought.

  9. what? what? is this real? HRCM finally concerned about ordinary innocent citizens instead of murderers, thieves and rapists? can't be...must be some kind of a hoax... 🙂

  10. So finally we have the HRCM make a statement callng on parliament to pass the laws that we so desperately need for our safety and protection and justice. And finally a word from this institution set up to protect our "rights" about the outrageous and irresponsible actions of our judiciary releasing criminal after criminal and undermining our Police Force.

    I couldn't agree with Salim Waheed more. It is just unacceptable that the parliament has taken this long to pass these laws. The reason we have the difficulties we have in managing our criminals and our justice system is the pathetic state of the legal system that this government inherited. Have we forgotten already that the Police Force and the Department of Corrections are still operating under ancient archaic laws and regulations that just do not work?

    We voted Gayoom out because we were fed up with living in conditions that disempowered us and dehumanised us as a people. Unfortunately the very people who obstructed justice, violated our rights, robbed us, and plunged our country into debt and poverty are now in parliament, doing what they know best: obstruct justice, violate our rights and make sure we remain disempowered, homeless, uneducated, afraid and poor.

    How long are we going to stand by and allow the parliament to treat us with such contempt? When are we the people going to call for a Vote of No confidence in our Majlis?

  11. @hamza on Tue, 3rd Aug 2010 2:27 PM
    In short what you are trying to say is:
    "There's no point of any "law" if there isn't honesty, sincerity ,self restraint, self discipline as a widely accepted and practiced way of life"

    Still a shorter way to say that is: "Implement Islamic Principles.The way of life perfected by Almighty GOD."

    Yet I agree with you that itself will take time and needs some strong commitment to remind people of their real purpose of life here.

    In Almighty GOD we trust

  12. @hameed

    Haha! I want to try what you're smoking! Sheesh, never seen anyone mistake black for white so fast. Must be the effect of crack smoking.

  13. I hope these bills get passed and into law. I also trust that the police do everything to uphold and implement the law.

    A bill which implements Sharia punishments will definitely reduce violence. Just amputate the hand of one robber, and you will see a huge drop in theft. I don't care even if the rights of criminals are trampled, there are far more ordinary citizens (victims) we should be concerned about.

    And I'm not a 'Haabi' or any type of Muslim that you may call as 'extremist' or 'conservative'.


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