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UN Expresses Worry Over Increased Polarisation In Maldives; Here’s What Others Said In Past

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern on the increasing polarisation in the Maldives, which has made dialogue among the Government and political parties increasingly difficult. This is the second time during the year when UN chief expressed concern over the increasingly autocratic regime under President Abdulla Yameen.

ban


Ban Ki-moon in a statement released on Saturday said:

The Secretary-General strongly encourages all concerned to work toward an inclusive dialogue aimed at finding mutually acceptable solutions based on compromise, the primacy of the national interest and the preservation of democratic principles and institutions.

Earlier in May, Ban had also expressed the need to establish political dialogue among all stakeholders and urged the Maldivian government to grant clemency to former president Mohamed Nasheed who was locked up in Maafushi jail that time.

Besides the apex human rights body, other human rights watchdog had been expressing concern over the deteriorating political situation in the country. Here’s what all has been said so far:


On Muzzling Political Voice


In September, CHRI said that the nations is sliding into a dictatorial system once again and the situation will soon push the island nation into the brink of and anarchy.

Suspend, exclude and halt the current government.

Following CHRI’s report Commonwealth had put the Maldives on agenda and threatened suspension by March next year. However, President and his men decided to leave the Commonwealth on October 13.

In August, United States’ lawmakers slammed government by saying that the legitimate political space is “narrowing” in the country. The US blamed government’s intolerance for putting many opposition politicians behind bars adding that they are being sent to jail after flawed judicial processes.

’s Special Convoy to the , also warned government of international consequences and said that the country facing “severe deficit”.

zeid-raad-al-hussein-1


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the 32nd Human Rights Council session in Geneva in July had expressed concern about the “shrinking democratic space” in the country and said the use of terrorism related charges “troubled” him.

In July, European Union opposed to capital punishment in “all cases and without exception” and urged government to continue to apply the “’de facto moratorium’” on executions as a first step towards its abolition.


Death Penalty


Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also expressed worry over implementation of death penalty in the country. He also cited the “flagrant irregularities” in Humam’s trial, describing it as “a rushed process that appears to contravene the Maldives’ own laws and practices and international fair trial standards in a number of respects.”

U.N. logo pattern a press conference background at the United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)


Four United Nations human rights experts in July also urged the government to halt the execution of Hussain Humam Ahmed, and to re-try him in compliance with international standards.They called on the authorities to uphold the unofficial moratorium on capital punishment in force for the last six decades.

Criminal proceedings against Mr. Ahmed did not afford him guarantees of fair trial and due process,” said the independent experts on arbitrary detention, summary executions, torture and independence of the judiciary. The implementation of a death sentence following judicial procedures which do not respect the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary execution.

Freedom Of Press


press 4

, the international watchdog for press freedom, had termed the ’ government’s assault on the country’s independent “utterly absurd and unacceptable”. The organization slammed President ’s regime after a court banned former journalists with the now-defunct newspaper, Haveeru, from working at any other organization, saying it could only lead to authoritarianism and the end of democracy.

Benjamin Ismaïl, head of Asia-Pacific desk at the RSF, said:

The court’s verdict not only violates the fundamental rights of all the journalists which it targets, but it also confirms, if need be, that the judiciary is serving the government’s policy to suppress critical and independent media in the country.

Maldives has been ranked 112th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2015 World Press Freedom Index, after falling 60 places since 2010.


Nasheed’s Trial & Human Right Abuses


In May, European Union adopted a resolution to adopt a resolution seeking imposition of sanctions on the country, the government has hit back calling it “inappropriate” and “irresponsible”.

Nasheed


The resolution was passed condemning the frequent “human rights abuses” committed during President Abdulla Yameen’s regime.

Around same time, an official fact-finding mission report prepared by the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) raised questions over the arrest of former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed saying that it was without legal basis and that he must be provided with a transparent appeal hearing.

Renowned human rights body Amnesty International termed the conviction of Nasheed after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a “travesty of justice.”

To Invest Or Not: GMR Fiasco At Hands Of Yameen & Friends Leave Indian Investors Nervous, Non-Committal

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At the lavish Ashoka Palace in the Indian capital New Delhi, visuals of clear turquoise water, white beaches, exciting under-water experience and boduberu dance set the mood for the delegates of over 400 companies who were here to attend the third edition of Maldives Investment Forum on Tuesday.

mif-gmr


Government in its keynote address tried to recapture the confidence of Indian investors as apprehension was running high due to the abrupt termination of international contract with GMR Infrastructure Ltd.

Government said they were ready to promote a transparent, hassle-free and liberal trading and investment environment and will welcome investment from India with open arms. ” The government is committed to change its legal framework to allow trade and investment to diversify economy and there has been massive progress on the infrastructure front,” Vice President Abdulla Jihad said.

“I want to assure all potential investors that Maldives is open for business. It is open 24 hours,” he added.

Even though the delegates looked impressed and were confident about the potential of doing business in the Maldives, the GMR fiasco held them back from committing immediately.

“No doubt, the Maldives looks like a dream destination for doing business. But, I would like to know more about the legal and bilateral aspects before we move forward,” said a delegate while looking at his info kit on investing in the Maldives

Another delegate who was here to explore the possibilities of investing in telecom services said, “It is very important to have a set up where we can feel secure about investing money in a certain project. Let’s see how it rolls.”

The concern over providing a conductive environment to do business in the Maldives also appeared in Indian newspapers. A leading Indian business paper Mint wrote, “The memory of the Maldives government abruptly terminating a India-Malaysia joint venture for modernising the Male airport in 2012 saw Indian industry seeking greater predictability and protection for investments in the Maldives… The cancellation of the deal had soured ties between India and the Maldives.”

Last month, GMR won a lawsuit over termination of contract to run Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).  In a major embarrassment, government was ordered to pay USD 250 million to Indian infrastructural company GMR by a 3-member Singaporean Arbitration Tribunal in its final order.

The third edition of the investment forum was held in partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to seek investments in infrastructural development, airport expansion and various other sectors to boost job creation in the country.

Jihad also announced that the country will sign its first free trade agreement early next year to boost trade and cooperation with other countries.

“It is investment, both foreign and domestic that has transformed our economy and elevated to current position. On the strength of our past achievements, the government is looking into new investments and is actively seeking foreign direct investment as it is one of the fundamental driving forces of Government policies,” he added.

The annual Maldives Investment Forum was held in Singapore in 2014 and in Beijing last year. The next edition of the forum will be held in Doha, Qatar.

Maldives Investment Forum 2016 Becomes ‘Hail Yameen’ Conference

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The third edition of Maldives Investment Forum was all praise of President Abdulla Yameen by his cabinet ministers – Vice President Abdulla Jihad and Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed – as they tried to garner the interest of investors in the Indian capital New Delhi on Tuesday.

mif


The annual forum to tap the potential of the Maldives’ tourism and infrastructure sector in the international market was started under the presidency of Abdulla Yameen in 2014 in Singapore followed by Beijing in 2015.

Here are top 5 mentions of President Abdulla Yameen at the high-profile investment forum:

  • GDP has grown with double digit under the leadership of President Yameen in last three years
  • We have seen the trust for President Yameen’s economic policies. We are seeing the results of our efforts
  • Far-sighted policies of President Yameen has narrowed down fiscal deficit in the country
  • President Yameen has eased monetary policies leading to increased credit availability for the private sector and have lowered inflation
  • President Yameen’s government promotes a transparent, hassle-free and liberal trading and investment environment and believes in strong, predictable and transparent commercial regime is critical for private sector led growth

Ex-Prez Nasheed Advocates Need For Low Carbon Strategy At UK’s Heathrow Expansion Protest

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Former President Mohamed Nasheed, the poster boy of climate change in the Maldives, has joined a protest against the expansion of Heathrow airport in the United Kingdom as it would lead to higher CO2 emissions.

nasheed-heathrow


Nasheed joined the protest M4 spur road on Saturday alongside various environment protection agencies and voiced his concerns against possible negative repercussion to the environment from the airport’s expansion.

According to Daily Mail, the protest was part of a day of action by campaigners who are angered by the government’s plans to expand the airport. The day of action included a peaceful rally attended by Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith, impressionist Alistair McGowan.

15 people were later arrested under on suspicion of public order offences. They chanted ‘No ifs, no buts, no third runway’ and ‘No more runways and held placards reading ‘Heathrow expansion will destroy thousands of homes’ and ‘Protect the planet, no more runways’.

Maldives To Blast Coral Reef Even As It Attends COP22 To ‘Save The Climate’

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At a time when 197 representatives  — including the Maldives– have gathered at 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Morocco to discuss climate change, government’s decision to blast coral reef of Addu City using dynamite has received flak from the opposition and people of the country triggering online campaign against it.

coral-1


The Environment Protect Agency on Wednesday asked the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to approve the use of dynamite to blast the reef project to dredge the channel between the islands of Meedhoo and Ismahelahera states.

The EIA had earlier recommended the government to seek alternatives saying the use dynamite can be dangerous and should not be used.

The main-opposition Maldivian Democratic Party criticising government for “reneging” on its international commitments said that the action will cause “irreversible damage”. The party also urged government to respect its international commitments.

“Disregarding the EIA recommendations, it is deeply worrying the Minister of Environment has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve the use of dynamite to blast the reef in Meedhoo…. It is deeply troubling the Maldives government is engaged in activities that will further cause irreversible damage.”” MDP said in the statement issued on Saturday.

sareer-2
Ahmed Saleem at COP22


Maldivians took Twitter to run an online campaign to bring the attention of the ongoing COP22 where Ahmed Saleem is currently representing the Maldives and Alliance of Small Island States (AIOSIS).


According to Act on Environment Protection using dynamite for blasting coral reefs is an offence punishable by huge fees.

The practice of blasting coral reefs was discontinued by former President Maumoon Gayoom in the Maldives due to its negative impact on the environment.

coral-2


More than 60% of coral in reefs in the Maldives has been hit by “bleaching” as the world is gripped by record temperatures in 2016 due a strong “El Nino” phenomenon, the Guardian reported in August. The Maldives which is just 4 feet above sea level contains around 3% of the world’s coral reefs and is considered particularly at risk due climate change and sea level rises.

Shoko Noda, UNDP Representative of Maldives had also tweeted asking for action on climate change ahead of COP22.

UNDP Maldives also called for action on climate change saying that livelihoods and economy in the Maldives depend on natural resources.

Finally, Maldives Condemns Terror Attack In India After Pak Postpones SAARC

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Foreign Ministry late night on Friday finally condemned the terror attack in India’s Uri distict after Pakistan was forced to postpone the SAARC Summit scheduled in November this year in Islamabad facing isolation from five of the eight-nation group.

Maldives also demanded a conductive environment for conducting the summit and was last to do among the group.

India, early this week, strongly called for isolating Pakistan at the summit after it allegedly sponsored terror attack in which 19 Indian armymen were killed.

Extending strong support to India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka not only condemned the attack but also pulled out of the summit.

The eight-memeber SAARC Summit cannot take place even if any of the countries refuses to attend it.

Nepal’s Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thakur also said that the summit cannot take place in tense atmosphere, however, did not officially pull out.

The Maldives, often advocating “India first” policy had maintained silence till late night on Friday on isolating Pakistan and chose to condemn the attack, and demanded a conductive environment for the summit.

Government has been receiving flak over for delay in its decision on the summit and was criticised for not following the India first policy in real sense.

Diplomat and politician Dr Ahmed Shaheed criticised government for not pulling out of summit and even suggested that it would not be diplomatically accurate to ignore India’s stand “especially” when the country is seeking United Nations Security Council seat.

Commonwealth’s Special Envoy Willy Mutunga Warns Maldives Of International Consequences

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The Commonwealth’s Special Convoy to the Maldives, Willy Mutunga warning government of international consequences said that the country is facing “severe democracy deficit”.

Photo Courtesy: President's Office
Photo Courtesy: President’s Office

  • Mutunga points out abysmal and alarming picture of the Maldives in a 14-point briefing note to CMAG
  • Warned government that continued crackdown on dissent could lead to international consequences
  • He said that high level of fear and political intimidation is prevailing
  • Also raised question marks over the credibility of the next presidential elections in 2018
  • Described judiciary as deeply politicised and compromised, and willing to disregard the principles of natural justice

Willy Mutunga’s 14-point briefing note to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, according to Asian News International, reads,

The curtailment of fundamental freedoms of expression and assembly has created an environment of fear and intimidation

Read full report at Mihaaru

Maldives Faces Threat Of Suspension From Commonwealth, Now On Formal Agenda By CMAG

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The Commonwealth in its 49th meeting on Tuesday in New York on the sidelines of the 27th United Nations General Assembly concluded that the group is “deeply disappointed in lack of progress in the Maldives and now on a formal agenda and threat of suspension in March.”

In a two-page report, the CMAG expressed deep disappointment in lack of progress in the priority areas identified in April this year and said,

Ministers expressed deep concern over lack of progress in the progress areas that they earlier identified, and therefore placed Maldives on CMAG’s formal agenda. Ministers agreed that in the absence of substantive progress across the priority areas, the group would consider its options, including suspension from the Council of the Commonwealth, at its next meeting in March next year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Asim and Attorney General Mohamed Anil were also present in the meeting.

The group also asked that both government and opposition to hold dialogue and underlined that the it should be done with full participation and without pre-condition.

The group also addressed the issue of Presidential election due in 2018 and assured a conductive environment for “credible and inclusive” election.

The meeting was held after the review of the situation in the Maldives last week by the human rights wing of the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), which in its report to the CMAG, asked suspension of the Maldives from the group concluding that the island nation is sliding to dictatorship and if the situation continues it will be on the “brink of violence and anarchy.”

CHRI expressed grave concern on government failing to comply with the six-point agenda and said, “These actions not only signal the government’s unwillingness to initiate political dialogue, but also indicate that the government is taking steps to actively impede and obstruct any kind of political dialogue. There is clearly no intention on the part of the government to find a political solution.”

Besides, a critical report on the “dictatorial” functioning of the government, CHRI also gave legitimacy to the most important developments that are most likely to help in the expected ouster of President Abdulla Yameen.


Here’s All You Need To Know About The CHRI Report


Maldives United Opposition (MUO)

MUO 1 (3)


The CHRI said in its report that it was the formation of the rainbow coalition Maldives United Opposition (MUO), a united coalition of the previous rivals against President Yameen that showed his unpopularity among his former allies.

“MUO brings together former allies of President Yameen, such as the Adhaalath Party and jailed Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, together with the largest political party, the Maldives Democratic Party, is a sign of growing unpopularity of the present administration,” the report said.

Stealing Paradise By Al Jazeera

stealing paradise


The group also acknowledged the allegations of corruption on President Yameen by Al Jazeera and criticised the government for not initiating any concrete investigations into the cases.

“(We) express concern about the mounting allegations of corruption against officials at the highest political level. The release of “Stealing Paradise”, a documentary by Qatar based Al Jazeera reveals the involvement of President Yameen and his deputies in massive theft and money laundering,” the report said.
“The government has not shown any inclination to investigate these very serious allegations and bring the perpetrators to account. The total lack of accountability combined with the rollback of constitutional rights and democratic norms has led to deep frustration and disillusionment among the people of the Maldives,” it added.

The 2018 Presidential Election

election


The CHRI concluded that if the current scenario continues, the Maldives will not have free and fair Presidential elections due in 2018 and called for a “firm action” by the Commonwealth.

“CHRI strongly believes that the current environment is not at all conducive to free and fair presidential elections due in 2018. In fact, the nation is sliding into a dictatorial system once again. CHRI is worried that, if allowed to continue, the situation will soon push the island nation into the brink of violence and anarchy.”

The Recommendations

chri


In the strongly worded report, the CHRI asked Commonwealth to “suspend”, “exclude” and “halt” the current government.

“SUSPEND Maldives from the Councils of the Commonwealth, which will EXCLUDE the government of the Maldives from all Commonwealth inter government meetings and events, including ministerial meetings and CHOGM; HALT all Commonwealth technical assistance, other than the mandate of the Special Envoy.”

CMAG Meets On The Sidelines Of UNGA To Discuss ‘Deteriorating Human Rights And Democracy’ In Maldives

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Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has taken up the issue of the Maldives in New York on Friday on the sidelines of the ongoing 27th United Nations General Assembly to discuss the  deteriorating human rights and democracy as the Yameen government failed to fix the six priorities areas set by them in April this year.

chri


The Human Rights wing of the group- Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) asked the CMAG to suspend the country from the councils of Commonwealth after reviewing the situation in the Maldives last week.

Concluding that the Maldives is “sliding to dictatorship” and “the situation will soon push the island nation on the brink of violence and anarchy”, the CHRI expressed grave concern on government failing to comply with the six-point agenda and said

“These actions not only signal the government’s unwillingness to initiate political dialogue, but also indicate that the government is taking steps to actively impede and obstruct any kind of political dialogue. There is clearly no intention on the part of the government to find a political solution.”

Besides, a critical report on the “dictatorial” functioning of the government, CHRI also gave legitimacy to the most important developments that are most likely to help in the expected ouster of President Abdulla Yameen.


Here’s All You Need To Know


Maldives United Opposition (MUO)

MUO 1 (3)


The CHRI said in its report that it was the formation of the rainbow coalition Maldives United Opposition (MUO), a united coalition of the previous rivals against President Yameen that showed his unpopularity among his former allies.

“MUO brings together former allies of President Yameen, such as the Adhaalath Party and jailed Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, together with the largest political party, the Maldives Democratic Party, is a sign of growing unpopularity of the present administration,” the report said.

Stealing Paradise By Al Jazeera

stealing paradise


The group also acknowledged the allegations of corruption on President Yameen by Al Jazeera and criticised the government for not initiating any concrete investigations into the cases.

“(We) express concern about the mounting allegations of corruption against officials at the highest political level. The release of “Stealing Paradise”, a documentary by Qatar based Al Jazeera reveals the involvement of President Yameen and his deputies in massive theft and money laundering,” the report said.
“The government has not shown any inclination to investigate these very serious allegations and bring the perpetrators to account. The total lack of accountability combined with the rollback of constitutional rights and democratic norms has led to deep frustration and disillusionment among the people of the Maldives,” it added.

The 2018 Presidential Election

election


The CHRI concluded that if the current scenario continues, the Maldives will not have free and fair Presidential elections due in 2018 and called for a “firm action” by the Commonwealth.

“CHRI strongly believes that the current environment is not at all conducive to free and fair presidential elections due in 2018. In fact, the nation is sliding into a dictatorial system once again. CHRI is worried that, if allowed to continue, the situation will soon push the island nation into the brink of violence and anarchy.”

The Recommendations

chri


In the strongly worded report, the CHRI asked Commonwealth to “suspend”, “exclude” and “halt” the current government.

“SUSPEND Maldives from the Councils of the Commonwealth, which will EXCLUDE the government of the Maldives from all Commonwealth inter government meetings and events, including ministerial meetings and CHOGM; HALT all Commonwealth technical assistance, other than the mandate of the Special Envoy.”

From MUO To Stealing Paradise To 2018 Presidential Election: All You Need To Know About CHRI Report

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The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), which was here in the Maldives to follow up on Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) six point agenda set in April, asked the latter to suspend the country from the councils of Commonwealth after concluding that the Maldives is “sliding to dictatorship” and “the situation will soon push the island nation on the brink of violence and anarchy”.

chri

The group expressed grave concern on government failing to comply with the six-point agenda and said, “These actions not only signal the government’s unwillingness to initiate political dialogue, but also indicate that the government is taking steps to actively impede and obstruct any kind of political dialogue. There is clearly no intention on the part of the government to find a political solution.”

Besides, a critical report on the “dictatorial” functioning of the government, CHRI also gave legitimacy to the most important developments that are most likely to help in the expected ouster of President Abdulla Yameen.


Here’s All You Need To Know


Maldives United Opposition (MUO)

MUO 1 (3)


The CHRI said in its report that it was the formation of the rainbow coalition Maldives United Opposition (MUO), a united coalition of the previous rivals against President Yameen that showed his unpopularity among his former allies.

“MUO brings together former allies of President Yameen, such as the Adhaalath Party and jailed Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, together with the largest political party, the Maldives Democratic Party, is a sign of growing unpopularity of the present administration,” the report said.

Stealing Paradise By Al Jazeera

stealing paradise


The group also acknowledged the allegations of corruption on President Yameen by Al Jazeera and criticised the government for not initiating any concrete investigations into the cases.

“(We) express concern about the mounting allegations of corruption against officials at the highest political level. The release of “Stealing Paradise”, a documentary by Qatar based Al Jazeera reveals the involvement of President Yameen and his deputies in massive theft and money laundering,” the report said.
“The government has not shown any inclination to investigate these very serious allegations and bring the perpetrators to account. The total lack of accountability combined with the rollback of constitutional rights and democratic norms has led to deep frustration and disillusionment among the people of the Maldives,” it added.

The 2018 Presidential Election

election


The CHRI concluded that if the current scenario continues, the Maldives will not have free and fair Presidential elections due in 2018 and called for a “firm action” by the Commonwealth.

“CHRI strongly believes that the current environment is not at all conducive to free and fair presidential elections due in 2018. In fact, the nation is sliding into a dictatorial system once again. CHRI is worried that, if allowed to continue, the situation will soon push the island nation into the brink of violence and anarchy.”

The Recommendations

chri


In the strongly worded report, the CHRI asked Commonwealth to “suspend”, “exclude” and “halt” the current government.

“SUSPEND Maldives from the Councils of the Commonwealth, which will EXCLUDE the government of the Maldives from all Commonwealth inter government meetings and events, including ministerial meetings and CHOGM; HALT all Commonwealth technical assistance, other than the mandate of the Special Envoy.”
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