Maldives Political Crisis and Human Rights Implications

Maldives cabinet holding an underwater cabinet meeting to highlight climate change's risk to the country.

Maldives is the only country I know where the leader is a former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience.  I was planning on using that fact to write how Maldives was a model of how a country could transition from one that was strewn with human rights abuses to one that upholds human rights and the rule of law.  Well…the situation in the country is not as rosy as I was hoping.  In fact, its political leaders will need to use a lot of deftness to avoid bloodshed.

President Mohamed Nasheed, working in his office, March 2010. Creative Commons License, UN Development Program

In October, 2008, Mohamed Nasheed (that AI Prisoner of Conscience) won a tough race for the presidency of the Maldives.  Nasheed was a longtime opposition leader who still has a limp from his days of being tortured, defeated Abdul Gayoom, who had the distinction of being the longest serving ruler of any country in Asia.  With the victory came the promise of human rights for all Maldivians.  Sadly, this has been a bit of a challenge for the country as there have been times when people have been at risk for flogging for alleged cases of premarital sex.  There is also the case of Ismail Didi, a Maldivian nonbeliever and air traffic controller who made the fatal mistake of telling people that he was an atheist in a country where it is mandatory to be a Sunni Muslim.  He was later found hanging at his workplace at the international airport.

More recently and more connected with the political crisis is the arrest (and later release) of Abdullah Yameen, one of at least four opposition leaders who were detained and released in recent weeks following the resignation of the President Nasheed’s cabinet on June 29.  It is indeed this political crisis that has the makings of a disaster unless the opposition (led by the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, which together with other oppositions parties hold a majority of seats in the legislature) and the government (the Maldivian Democratic Party) can somehow work out a power sharing arrangement.  It’s not looking too good at the moment as President Nasheed was forced to issue a decree to allow the Supreme Court to operate in the absence of an agreement in the legislature.  This has led to an absurd situation where the doors to the Maldives Supreme Court have been locked and guarded by the police to prevent anyone from entering the building.  The Maldivian paper Haveeru has more (emphasis mine):

MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP)-led opposition were at loggerheads Saturday over the order of agenda items set for a crucial sitting eventually called off in the evening after three postponements.

The opposition controlled parliament’s failure to reach consensus led to a MDP demonstration outside parliament house. The protestors clashed with police but disbanded on riot police request one and half hours later. There were no casualties.

Early Sunday morning the armed forces opened Supreme Court and President Nasheed’s Political Advisor Hassan Afeef, Special Envoy Ibrahim Hussain Zaki and State Minister Aslam Shakir met the court’s staff. Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice stayed home “for fear of being blocked by the armed forces on arrival at the court’s gate.

The widening divide between the two sides developed into a serious crisis and street violence in the past few weeks, threatening to derail the country’s two-year old democracy.  All I can do is hope that President Nasheed, the Maldivian Democratic Party and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party do whatever it can to resolve these issues that divide them and pass needed legislation that will bring Maldives’ justice system into line with international human rights standards.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

20 thoughts on “Maldives Political Crisis and Human Rights Implications

  1. You and your Human Rights !!

    Let Maldives be – they are doing great the way they are and can live without you poking your fingers in to their affairs.

    AI has lost credibility as AI tend to get blood money and work for other peoples and other government's agendas than for the welfare of the human race.

    So, mind your own business !

  2. You and your Human Rights !!

    Let Maldives be – they are doing great the way they are and can live without you poking your fingers in to their affairs.

    AI has lost credibility as AI tend to get blood money and work for other peoples and other government’s agendas than for the welfare of the human race.

    So, mind your own business !

  3. Dear "AI – Leave the Humans Alone !": This is quite a shocking claim you are making about AI. Do you have any evidence for this or are you merely making this up?

  4. Dear “AI – Leave the Humans Alone !”: This is quite a shocking claim you are making about AI. Do you have any evidence for this or are you merely making this up?

  5. Ismail Didi….

    a name now part of my memory….

    The innocent trust of this brother who wanted to share his passion with his own people…….. a brother whose pure eyes failed to see the violent bigotry around him.

    i pray he has found his kind of world.The spirit world may be kinder to souls with natural beliefs than to "believers" in coercion.

    And in this world that's forgotten how to love, the Maldives is now part of the long line of failed countries & communities headed for collapse.

  6. a.savage: Well stated words about Ismail Didi. I wish AI and other organizations would have been able to have stepped up before it was too late. I feel personally very sad at not being to do anything about his case.

  7. Ismail Didi….

    a name now part of my memory….

    The innocent trust of this brother who wanted to share his passion with his own people…….. a brother whose pure eyes failed to see the violent bigotry around him.

    i pray he has found his kind of world.The spirit world may be kinder to souls with natural beliefs than to “believers” in coercion.

    And in this world that’s forgotten how to love, the Maldives is now part of the long line of failed countries & communities headed for collapse.

  8. a.savage: Well stated words about Ismail Didi. I wish AI and other organizations would have been able to have stepped up before it was too late. I feel personally very sad at not being to do anything about his case.

  9. I am from the Maldives, the articles has most of the facts right. However, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) is not willing to accept anything short of a coup. Resolving these issues through talks has so far been a complete failure, DRP would have ousted the President if they could (which requires a two third majority from a Parliamentary vote; Abd. Yaamin and Gaasim Ibrh. was arrested upon claims of Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) members that they were offered bribes to vote with DRP to oust Pres. Nasheed)

    On a different level the small islands of Maldives are becoming harvesting grounds for Islamic extremists. Pushing more moderate and liberal thinkers aside.
    The alliance between MDP and Adaalath Party (largest Islamic party in the country) has given more control to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which in turn has become a powerful propaganda machine and flourishing of extremist NGO's like Salaf.
    Recent death of Ismail Didi (http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/489229-ismail-didi-maldives-atheist-who-committed-suicide-because-of-persecution-by-the-pious ) a normal young adult, and whose thoughts are shared by many (but who keep silent, in fear of the same retaliation that Ismail Didi faced) are being coerced into accepting the more fundamentalist/extremist forms of Islam.

    I agree with what 'AI – Leave the Humans Alone !' says to some extent, acting without fully understanding the cause and nature of the situation will definitely cause more harm then good. And understanding a situation as such Maldives is in will be very hard, finding a solution even harder.
    Despite all this, I hope and humbly ask of AI to take seriously any request for asylum based on the above. Some of us have decided to stay and fight for our rights but that path is not for all, and your decisions could mean life or death for someone. It will be truly miserable to see another good man like Issey ( aka I. Didi) to go in such a sad way.

  10. Well all this is moot. Eight/Nine months ago this organization and others believed SUVs were going to melt enough ice and the people in maldives would be swimming. How is that prediction so far?

    The citizens of Maldives (through elected officials) don't need your two-cents. And Mohamed Nasheed doesn't need your "help" governing.

    Move along…move along.

  11. I am from the Maldives, the articles has most of the facts right. However, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) is not willing to accept anything short of a coup. Resolving these issues through talks has so far been a complete failure, DRP would have ousted the President if they could (which requires a two third majority from a Parliamentary vote; Abd. Yaamin and Gaasim Ibrh. was arrested upon claims of Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) members that they were offered bribes to vote with DRP to oust Pres. Nasheed)

    On a different level the small islands of Maldives are becoming harvesting grounds for Islamic extremists. Pushing more moderate and liberal thinkers aside.
    The alliance between MDP and Adaalath Party (largest Islamic party in the country) has given more control to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which in turn has become a powerful propaganda machine and flourishing of extremist NGO's like Salaf.
    Recent death of Ismail Didi (http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/489229-ismail-didi-maldives-atheist-who-committed-suicide-because-of-persecution-by-the-pious ) a normal young adult, and whose thoughts are shared by many (but who keep silent, in fear of the same retaliation that Ismail Didi faced) are being coerced into accepting the more fundamentalist/extremist forms of Islam.

    I agree with what 'AI – Leave the Humans Alone !' says to some extent, acting without fully understanding the cause and nature of the situation will definitely cause more harm then good. And understanding a situation as such Maldives is in will be very hard, finding a solution even harder.
    Despite all this, I hope and humbly ask of AI to take seriously any request for asylum based on the above. Some of us have decided to stay and fight for our rights but that path is not for all, and your decisions could mean life or death for someone. It will be truly miserable to see another good man like Issey ( aka I. Didi) to go in such a sad way.

  12. I am from the Maldives, the articles has most of the facts right. However, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) is not willing to accept anything short of a coup. Resolving these issues through talks has so far been a complete failure, DRP would have ousted the President if they could (which requires a two third majority from a Parliamentary vote; Abd. Yaamin and Gaasim Ibrh. was arrested upon claims of Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) members that they were offered bribes to vote with DRP to oust Pres. Nasheed)

    On a different level the small islands of Maldives are becoming harvesting grounds for Islamic extremists. Pushing more moderate and liberal thinkers aside.
    The alliance between MDP and Adaalath Party (largest Islamic party in the country) has given more control to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which in turn has become a powerful propaganda machine and flourishing of extremist NGO's like Salaf.
    Recent death of Ismail Didi (http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/489229-ismail-didi-maldives-atheist-who-committed-suicide-because-of-persecution-by-the-pious ) a normal young adult, and whose thoughts are shared by many (but who keep silent, in fear of the same retaliation that Ismail Didi faced) are being coerced into accepting the more fundamentalist/extremist forms of Islam.

    I agree with what 'AI – Leave the Humans Alone !' says to some extent, acting without fully understanding the cause and nature of the situation will definitely cause more harm then good. And understanding a situation as such Maldives is in will be very hard, finding a solution even harder.
    Despite all this, I hope and humbly ask of AI to take seriously any request for asylum based on the above. Some of us have decided to stay and fight for our rights but that path is not for all, and your decisions could mean life or death for someone. It will be truly miserable to see another good man like Issey ( aka I. Didi) to go in such a sad way.

  13. Well all this is moot. Eight/Nine months ago this organization and others believed SUVs were going to melt enough ice and the people in maldives would be swimming. How is that prediction so far?

    The citizens of Maldives (through elected officials) don’t need your two-cents. And Mohamed Nasheed doesn’t need your “help” governing.

    Move along…move along.

  14. I am from the Maldives, the articles has most of the facts right. However, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) is not willing to accept anything short of a coup. Resolving these issues through talks has so far been a complete failure, DRP would have ousted the President if they could (which requires a two third majority from a Parliamentary vote; Abd. Yaamin and Gaasim Ibrh. was arrested upon claims of Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) members that they were offered bribes to vote with DRP to oust Pres. Nasheed)

    On a different level the small islands of Maldives are becoming harvesting grounds for Islamic extremists. Pushing more moderate and liberal thinkers aside.
    The alliance between MDP and Adaalath Party (largest Islamic party in the country) has given more control to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which in turn has become a powerful propaganda machine and flourishing of extremist NGO’s like Salaf.
    Recent death of Ismail Didi (http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/489229-ismail-didi-maldives-atheist-who-committed-suicide-because-of-persecution-by-the-pious ) a normal young adult, and whose thoughts are shared by many (but who keep silent, in fear of the same retaliation that Ismail Didi faced) are being coerced into accepting the more fundamentalist/extremist forms of Islam.

    I agree with what ‘AI – Leave the Humans Alone !’ says to some extent, acting without fully understanding the cause and nature of the situation will definitely cause more harm then good. And understanding a situation as such Maldives is in will be very hard, finding a solution even harder.
    Despite all this, I hope and humbly ask of AI to take seriously any request for asylum based on the above. Some of us have decided to stay and fight for our rights but that path is not for all, and your decisions could mean life or death for someone. It will be truly miserable to see another good man like Issey ( aka I. Didi) to go in such a sad way.

  15. Govind !!

    U ask me to prove why I say AI is biased and run on Blood money !!

    Please do tell me where you get your majority funding from ???

    Have you not got any funding directly or indirectly from the UN ???

    Don’t you get funds from the LTTE supporters and How many Tamils with LTTE separatist mindset are employed at AI ?? Do U not get advice from Nacanethanpillai, who is a known LTTE supporter who even organized a rally in South Africa in support of the LTTE sometime back !!!!

    You also get your funds raised mainly in the west and USA.

    Tell me one single action you have taken against USA and the west for the HR violations that has happened in the middle east thanks to USA and West !!!

    What action against zillions of HR violations that happened in Israel ??

    So obviously, you are running on Blood Money and in no position to pressurize any person – it’s not valid !!

    To preach HR to the world, you need to first show that your side of the stable is clean.

    Sorry for the delay in reply and lets argue these points if you wish to !!! Bring it on bro !!

  16. Govind !!

    I am waiting for you to get back to me…..

    Don't pussy out like your fellow AI drones Jim MD and Christop Kettle !!

  17. Govind !!

    I am waiting for you to get back to me…..

    Don’t pussy out like your fellow AI drones Jim MD and Christop Kettle !!