24 April 2015; The Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms Dunya Maumoon has said that the allegations made in the media statement made by Amnesty International on 23 April concerning the purported human rights situation in the Maldives are “preposterous fabrications with zero truth’’.
The Minister noted that, contrary to the claims made by Amnesty International, the Government and Amnesty had recently discussed the possibility of a visit to the Maldives by the Amnesty team, and it was mutually agreed that such a visit could be scheduled for May this year. The Government had further volunteered to facilitate meetings with relevant officials of the Government and arrange a visit to former President Mohamed Nasheed in prison.
Despite that, Amnesty officials visited the Maldives on 17 April and chose to meet with only officials and supporters of former President Nasheed’s opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
Minister Dunya also dismissed Amnesty’s accusations about “peaceful protests” in the Maldives. Freedom of association is guaranteed in the Maldives. “The nightly protests that take place in the capital Male’, led by the MDP opposition coalition attract an extremely small crowd, and the police are able to control the protest well and ensure peace and security for all citizens of Male’. It is ludicrous and an absolute lie for Amnesty International to suggest that the authorities were attacking the protesters.”
The opposition MDP have however, by contrast, in the past been responsible for systematic acts of arson and other violent acts.
“Equally fallacious are the Amnesty’s observation about the human rights situation in the Maldives”, the Minister added. Minister Dunya said that “the general human rights situation in the Maldives has been improving steadily especially following the reform agenda launched in 2004 leading to the ushering in of a modern constitution in 2008. Additional impetus has been seen during President Yameen’s government in terms of promotion and protection of human rights. This Government has enacted a total of 18 key human rights legislations within a period of less than 18 months, which is an unparalleled record in the history of the Maldives”. The Minister noted that ‘that Amnesty in collusion with the MDP opposition seems intent on tarnishing the image of Maldives Government, which is a well-respected member of the Human Rights Council, serving its second term in office’.
Amnesty International’s accusations about former President Nasheed’s trial are also without any basis. The Criminal Court sentenced President Nasheed for the ‘abduction and enforced disappearance of the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court’ in January 2012; the investigation of the incident was carried out, and the case was filed more than an year before the current government came into office. President Nasheed has been tried, convicted and sentenced for this heinous crime as per Maldivian laws. His rights were assured to him and he chose not to appeal the verdict or sentence of Criminal Court. Amnesty through its baseless allegations once again seeks to undermine and defame the Maldives judiciary and its national institutions.
The Government of Maldives maintains its engagement first policy and continues to hold constructive dialogue with its international partners, including international non-governmental organizations that are serious about and value such dialogue.
The Government has so far facilitated visits to the Maldives by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Commonwealth and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and engaged with them at the highest levels.
The Government has further facilitated visits to President Nasheed in prison by the ICRC, the Commonwealth Representative as well as the delegation from OHCHR.