Reference No: 24 /11/2013
2 November 2013
MDP Welcomes Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights NaviPillay
Maldivian Democratic Party (MD) welcomes the recent statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on her comprehensive and accurate assessment of the current situation in the Maldives with respect to the Presidential elections.
In her statement, High Commissioner Navi Pillay expressed alarm at the excessive interference by the Maldives Supreme Court in the conduct of the country’s recent presidential elections, contributing to the subversion of the democratic process in the country in the process.
“The court also imposed on the Elections Commission an onerous set of guidelines for the conduct of the election, which will be difficult to satisfy,” Pillay said, recalling that “it was on this basis that police prevented the Elections Commission from carrying out its plan to re-run the election on 19 October 2013”.
High Commissioner reiterated the “longstanding concerns” that had been expressed regarding the independence and impartiality of the judiciary in the Maldives, which had been highlighted by both the High Commissioner and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriel Knaul, both of whom are fully conversant with the state of the Maldives judiciary, having made official visits to the country in 2011 and 2013 and had held wide ranging discussions on the subject with all the relevant parties. It may also be recalled that the Commission of National Inquiry, conducted by the Maldives after the Coup of February 2012, had also concluded that the judiciary requires fundamental reform.
MDP is deeply concerned with the unconstitutional actions of the Government and the judiciary to obstruct the people of Maldives to exercise their constitutional right to hold a free and fair election.
It is equally disturbed by the ill-advised and belligerent responses from the Chief Justice and the President, attempting to summarily dismiss the very serious and germane observations made by the High Commissioner on the current delicate situation of the country. These responses clearly establish the obstinate reluctance of the Administration and the judiciary to heed the repeated calls by the international community for reform in the country.
MDP is also deeply concerned that its Parliamentarians and pro-democracy lawmakers are being consistently harassed, intimidated and cases fabricated against them by the judiciary. The judicial bias of the Supreme Court is clearly evident in their recent judgments.
MDP calls upon the Government and all relevant institutions not to obstruct the Presidential Elections scheduled for 9 November 2013, but provide necessary support and assistance to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.