February 18, 2018
The Ministerial Committee met today with Ms Mona Rishmawi, Chief of the Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Ms Shoko Noda, Resident Coordinator for the United Nations in Maldives.
Emphasising that the Government was committed to ensuring full transparency with the international community, the Ministerial Committee highlighted its willingness to address any queries or concerns raised by the visiting delegation. It emphasized that, in spite of the difficult situation in the country at present, the delegation will have full access to State institutions, and individuals not affected by the State of Emergency.
The Ministerial Committee and UN delegation discussed the current state of affairs in the Maldives given the judicial ruling of 1 February 2018, the investigation into the driving factors behind that ruling, and the subsequent State of Emergency that was decreed. The Committee noted that it was only as a final measure and upon the advice of the National Security Council, in defence of the Constitution and the democracy enshrined therein, that the President decreed the State of Emergency. Exhibited judicial overreach necessitated urgent and decisive action to protect the checks and balances in the Constitution, as well as the integrity of the ongoing investigation into corruption and other criminal activities at the highest levels.
The Committee also noted that the rule of law is being upheld absolutely. Even though certain provisions of the Constitution and of certain laws are restricted to facilitate the ongoing investigation into corruption and other criminal activities as a necessity, given the role of the Judiciary in the investigative process, outside of this investigation all regular procedures are being applied to all individuals. Regardless of the investigation, inderogable rights are guaranteed under the Constitution and are being upheld.
Grave concerns regarding the impact of reckless statements by foreign stakeholders were also expressed by the Ministerial Committee. The spread of purposefully false information by the political opposition in an effort to misrepresent the facts on the ground in Maldives creates an undue burden upon the people of the Maldives as well as the businesses operating in the country. The Committee expressed its hope that the United Nations, as an intergovernmental body, would consult more closely with the Government to such efforts do not bear fruit.
The delegation welcomed the open engagement of the Government with the UN system and commended the Maldives and its people for its consistent attitude towards respecting every one of its citizens, including those who are incarcerated.
The Ministerial Committee was led by Dr Aishath Shiham, Minister of Education, and also consists of Ms Iruthisham Adam, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Environment and Energy, and Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, Minister of Health. Dr Mohamed Muizzu, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure also joined the meeting. A technical team supporting the Ministerial Committee, led by Mr Ahmed Sareer, Foreign Secretary of the Maldives, was also in attendance.