MDP PRESS STATEMENT: MDP Welcomes Criticism of the Government at UN Human Rights Council

Reference No: 73/6/2012

June 27, 2012

MDP Welcomes Criticism of the Government at UN Human Rights Council

Dr. Waheed’s administration was today attacked by human rights NGOs during a dialogue at the Human Rights Council with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression. The dialogue focused on freedom of expression on the internet, with the Special Rapporteur condemning attacks on journalists and bloggers in several Islamic States. The NGOs used the dialogue to highlight the growing intolerance in the Maldives and the failure of the Government to respond. They also expressed concern at the role of Islamic extremists in “the military-backed coup d’etat in February this year”.

Responding to the Special Rapporteur, NGOs led by the Center for Inquiry and the International Humanist and Ethical Union highlighted the recent attack on Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed in the Maldives. Mr. Rasheed “a blogger, journalist and free speech advocate was brutally attacked near his home on 4 June” said the NGOs. “His throat was slashed and he escaped death by millimeters”.

The NGOs strongly criticized Dr.Waheed and his administration for creating a climate of intolerance and impunity for such crimes. “The Government of the Maldives has made no effort to arrest Rasheed’s attackers despite credible photographic evidence of the attack”. They concluded by warning the Council about the growing influence of extremists in the Maldives, which has recently become “significantly less tolerant”. The increasing strength of such groups “culminated in a military-backed coup d’etat in February this year” they said.

Speaking in response, MDP’s international spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor welcomed steps by international NGOs to draw attention to growing human rights abuses in the Maldives. “MDP condemns all attacks on advocates of human rights and free speech including Mr. Rasheed.

Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson, International Affairs
Mobile: +9607778285
Tel: +9603340044