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Advance questions and statement to Maldives

Advance questions:

  1. The conviction of former President Mohamed Nasheed for charges under anti-terrorist legislation raises serious questions about due process of law. Why is the government defending the Court's decision to deny President Nasheed proper legal representation when he was indicted as well as adequate and timely access to court documents after the sentencing?
  2. What active measures will the government take to ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders and journalists in the Maldives, given recent reports of a deterioration in their situation?
  3. Given the Maldives’ longstanding moratorium on executions, we are concerned by recent developments that could again allow for use of the death penalty. Will the Maldives instead opt to follow the international trend and take a proactive stance to abolish the death penalty in law, and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR?

Statement

President,

Norway welcomes the delegation from the Maldives. We appreciate the constructive and active role of the Maldives in the Human Rights Council, and acknowledge their important support to several initiatives related to civil society, human rights defenders and the freedom of expression.

Since the ousting of former president Nasheed in 2012, we have however been worried by numerous reports of worsening conditions regarding rights such as freedom of assembly and association, freedom of expression and the situation for human rights defenders and civil society more broadly. We are very concerned about the lack of respect for the most basic principles of fair trial and due process during Mr. Nasheed’s recent criminal proceedings. We urge the current government to take measures to reverse recent trends that undermine key democratic principles. The rule of law and independence of institutions are crucial in any democracy, and we recommend the government to ensure the independence of the Human Rights Commission, the Election Commission and the Office of the Auditor General.

Norway further recommends that the Maldives develop and implement specific laws, policies and mechanisms that recognise and protect the work of civil society, human rights defenders and journalists. We also recommend that in light of the lack of a fair trial former president Nasheed be released immediately.  

Finally, we recommend that the Maldives ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

Thank you.