Orders to Dismantle Local Political Campsites are Unlawful

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) strongly condemns Home Minister’s orders to dismantle the various political campsites that have been built by the people with their own funds to hold peaceful political activities are clearly illegal. The believes this is beyond the powers mandated to the Home Minister and the Police by the Constitution and the law. Furthermore, the MDP calls upon the Home Minister to refrain from issuing such illegal orders.

The process of dismantling the local political campsites constructed by the supporters of different political parties in their respective islands is aimed at weakening the country’s multi-party political system, narrow the political space for freedom of expression and to establish a dictatorial regime. The recent dismantling of the local political campsites built at Dh. Kudahuvadhoo and HA. Dhidhdhoo are manifest examples of this trend.

The campsite constructed by the supporters of the Opposition for engaging in peaceful political activities (‘jagaha’) built by the opposition supporters in Dh. Kudahuvadhoo, the “Thinbaaru” jagaha and the “Mundu” jagaha in HA. Dhidhdhoo had been set up by the local population spending their personal funds; these places present a haven not only for the inhabitants of these islands, but also offer a place of rest and shelter from the rain for those visiting these islands from outside. There are no illegal activities taking place in these sites. However, on the orders of the Home Minister, these sites have been dismantled and many valuable materials belonging to the people have been confiscated and destroyed without a court order. These sites, in addition to being a venue for engaging in political discussions and debate, have also been providing numerous social services. As these places are frequently used by many elderly people and visitors to the island, the wanton destruction of these sites is an unacceptable act. The use of a large number of Police personnel to dismantle these sites is a waste of their valuable time and abuse of the Police to achieve Government’s political agenda.

The MDP would like to inform the Government, the fact that these sites in Dh. Kudahuvadhoo and HA. Dhidhdhoo were dismantled and the materials and possessions contained therein were confiscated without any prior notice, in a manner that could only be termed as ‘looting’, is an act that is totally unacceptable.

Furthermore, it is a matter of concern that at a time when the Commonwealth and other similar international organisations have stated that political space in the Maldives is narrowing; when the Government engages in actions that are inimical to the spirit of democracy in an accelerated manner, the Maldives becomes increasingly susceptible to even greater criticism and possible unfavourable actions against the country. The Maldivian Democratic Party appeals to the Maldives Police to cease from following and carrying out the orders of the Home Minister which are unlawful and cause harm to the people.