Maldivian judge re-elected for second term on UN anti-torture subcommittee

Maldives Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon Mohamed has been re-elected to the UN subcommittee on the prevention of torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment.

Shujoon was first elected for the sub-committee in 2010 and won re-election by winning 63 of the 70 valid ballots cast at a vote held in Geneva.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon congratulated Judge Shujune, saying that the re-election “is a true testament to Judge Shujune’s performance in the sub-committee, her integrity and conviction.”

Shujoon is one of the founding members of the Maldives Detainee Network – now the Maldives Democracy Network – as well as being outspoken on issues of bribery within the judiciary.

The 20 member UN subcommittee works with governments to prevent torture and makes unannounced visits to prisons and detention centres to ensure detainees are not being mistreated.

Late last year, the Maldives passed its first anti-torture legislation. The Anti-Torture Act declares freedom from torture as a fundamental right, penalises torture, ensures respect for human rights of criminal suspects, and prohibits torture in state custody.


Maldives condemns ISIS crimes, says foreign minister

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has condemned human rights abuses carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), calling for the respect of life and dignity in the spirit of Islam.

“The Maldives strongly condemns the crimes committed against innocent civilians by the organization which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” she said in press release today.

Jihadist militants – who declared an Islamic caliphate in territory held across the state of Iraq and Syria – are accused by the UN of having committed mass murders against prisoners, enemy combatants, and civilians.

“IS is using the veil of religion as a pretext for inflicting terror, and committing violations of human rights,” said Dunya.

“Their philosophy blatantly violates the fundamental principles of peace, tolerance, and unity which are advocated by Islam, and their actions have tarnished the world’s perception of our great religion. A religion of peace and tolerance.”

Dunya’s remarks follow Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed’s declaration that the ISIS would not be allowed to operate in the Maldives.

“ISIS is an extremist group. No space will be given for their ideology and activities in the Maldives,” Shaheem tweeted on Sunday night (August 24).

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) immediately seized upon Shaheem’s comments, suggesting that the words had not been backed up with concrete action by the government.

“We note with concern that neither the Islamic minister nor the government has taken any action while activities related to terrorism in different forms as well as extremism are carried out in the Maldives, religious strife and hatred is incited widely, and death threats are being made against various people over religious matters,” read an MDP statement.

Authorities are currently investigating the source of a number of death threats sent to journalists and politicians in recent weeks, some of which were send from a user identifying themselves as ‘ISIS’.

The threats also made reference to the recent abduction of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla – missing since August 8. Rilwan had also been the subject of intimidation from extremists as a result of his writing and micro-blogging.

Foreign Minister Dunya also spoke in favour of moderate Islam during a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in June, calling for a thorough self-assessment to identify the reason Islam is being associated with intolerance, terrorism, violence, and backwardness.

“It is beyond imagination, or within the realm of belief, to think that we can overcome these dark times? Let us recommit ourselves to work together to overcome our challenges. United and strong we can once again become the standard bearers of tolerance and innovation,” she said.

Condemning Islamophobia, Dunya told the 41st session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers that the chaos seen in the Muslim world today was the result of not exercising true Islamic ideals.