Oct 23, 2019
Deeply concerned by the threat to life and liberty of the members of the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), a leading civil society organisation in the Maldives, 16 prominent Asian human rights groups today called on President Solih to ensure their protection and freedom.
“We note that the Maldives government has launched a police investigation of alleged blasphemy contained in a 2016 MDN publication that highlighted the threat of violent extremism, yet also ordered it to suspend operations without giving MDN a chance to present its case or even coming to a conclusion of the inquiry,” said the group, all members of FIDH, a leading international human rights body which was meeting in Taiwan.
Given the gravity of the charges, MDN removed the report from its website for review by an Islamic expert and also submitted an apology.
The groups called on the Maldives to immediately remove MDN’s suspension and allow it to continue its efforts to protect the rights of the Maldivian people. Such arbitrary actions pose threats to other Civil Society Organisations and Human Rights Defenders in the country.
While acknowledging that the Government has the power to investigate such cases, it has an equal and corresponding mandate to uphold the rights of MDN members, under its obligations to UN treaties, international human rights mechanisms and provide safety to human rights defenders.
Signatories to the statement:
For more information, please contact:
Sanjoy Hazarika, International Director, CHRI