State Minister briefs US envoy on Maldives’ extremist rhetoric

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Aslam Shakir met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State, South and Central Asia Affairs Dr Alyssa Ayres to address the “ongoing extremist religious rhetoric” currently at play in the Maldives political arena.

During the meeting State Minister Shakir highlighted the need for judicial reform, claiming that the current judicial system “has not lived up to international norms and obligations”, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs read.

Shakir further stated that “powerful, rogue judges” had undermined accountability, effectiveness and independence in the judicial system.

Citing a report from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released in February 2011, State Minister Shakir specified a lack of standard evaluation mechanisms and the strong lack of transparency at the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

The Maldives government has unconditionally accepted the ICJ recommendations for reform, however the judiciary has yet to formally accept them.

Addressing the pamphlet lately circulated by minority opposition Dhivehi Quamee Party (DQP), termed “hate speech” by the government, the Minister noted that the contents incited religious hatred and violence, particularly against Jews and Christians.

The State Minister expressed concern that the “extremist rhetoric” would lead to Maldives’ alienation in the international community.