9 June 2014, Male’; “No nation is born a democracy. It is a process that evolves over time. Today as we mark the Tenth Anniversary of the launch of the Democratic Reform Agenda by President Gayoom, we must celebrate the successes and plan for the road ahead in consolidating democracy,” says Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Dunya Maumoon. In her statement, the Foreign Minister congratulated the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who initiated and launched the Reform Agenda on 9 June 2004, and the current President Mr Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom for his valuable efforts in consolidating democracy and in cultivating the values of democracy in the society.
The Reform Agenda announced by the then President 10 years ago aimed to usher in a modern, liberal democracy with strengthened human rights safeguards and freedoms. Since then, the Maldives has made remarkable progress on achieving the lofty goals of the Agenda, of which the landmark constitution, which was ratified in 2008, was the most visible part of the programme.
On human rights reform, the Maldives has acceded to a wide-range of international agreements and treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) with its Optional Protocol, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Independent oversight bodies such as the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and the Anti-Corruption Commission have been established.
On the political front, the Maldives is one of the most vibrant democracies in the region, with very active political participation. Additionally, there is a vibrant, vocal, and critical media with regular articles criticising Government policies and decisions, and an active civil society that contributes ideas, opinions, and criticism on a wide range of issues.
“Of course, there were bumps and setbacks along the way; our institutions are young, our processes and systems untested: the rights and their associated responsibilities new”, observed the Minister, urging Maldivians to reflect on the challenges and the road ahead. The Minister called on all Maldivians to never let up the fight for democracy and human rights promotion in the country, and to never give up on strengthening the local institutions, empowering those institutions to administer justice and fairness, and to act with integrity, and to support upholding the rule of law above all.
“The peaceful transition of the Maldives, the related blossoming of human rights and the continued successes of our democratic journey, are home-grown achievements, made possible through the tireless dedication and sacrifices of ordinary Maldivians and the political will and sound policies of successive Governments. The success also reflects a strong, mutually respectful, and effective partnership between Maldives and the international community.”
In conclusion, the Minister noted that “just like many others, the story of Maldives is still being written. It is up to every Maldivian, young and old, to contribute to a smooth progress, and a successful end of our journey towards consolidating democracy in our country.”