Statements

    The Government has learned that some countries are pushing for the inclusion of the Maldives on the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

    Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Dunya Maumoon held a telephone conversation with the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Mr. Kamalesh Sharma yesterday in which she underscored the following:

    • There are no persistent or serious issues of undermining of Commonwealth principles in the Maldives; the CMAG in fact, failed to take action when President Nasheed publicly defied and abrogated the Constitution and abducted a sitting judge,
    • The trust that had begun to build between the Maldives and the Commonwealth will be seriously undermined if the Maldives is placed on the CMAG agenda;
    • The Government of His Excellency President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom has shown good faith in engaging with the Commonwealth and to take note of the positive changes that have taken place in the last few weeks.

    According to the Enhanced Mandate adopted by the Commonwealth Leaders at the Perth CHOGM in 2011, if the Secretary General believes that there is a situation where there is a ‘serious or persistent violation of Commonwealth fundamental political values’, the Secretary General is required to raise it with the member state in question, ‘affording it an opportunity to respond, and offering his/her Good Offices to redress the situation’. And in sub-para (ii), the Mandate states that ‘Good Offices engagement . . . could include (a) the appointment of an envoy, (b) the offer of advice and technical assistance in relevant areas’. Such a question has not been raised by the Secretary General with the Government, and the Good Offices have not been extended.

    It will be recalled that the CMAG placed the Maldives on its agenda from March 2012 to March 2013, on  an unfair basis, based on false allegations, and the country’s economy and democratic governance suffered significantly as a result.

    In light of the above the Minister of Foreign Affairs  has informed the Secretary General that the Maldives will seriously consider its membership at the Commonwealth if the organization will continue to treat it on a selective basis and unfairly, in violation of the Commonwealth’s own rules.

    Male, 24 June 2015

    In response to a number of statements that have emerged in relation to recent events in the Maldives, the Government considers its obligations towards legislative, constitutional and judicial reform as an integral part of its development plans and is proud of the many achievements that have already been secured in the space of just a few years. As Foreign Minister Dunya has noted “The general human rights situation in the Maldives has been improving steadily. This Government has enacted a total of 18 key human rights legislations within a period of less than 18 months, which is an unparalleled record in the history of the Maldives”.

    As is the case for every State, successful and far-reaching reform takes time. This is especially true in a small state with limited resources; however, the Government remains committed to sustaining and building on the current rate of progress that has already been achieved in the Maldives.

    The Government recognises that alongside the implementation of legislative and institutional reforms, a country’s record on human rights depends upon the treatment of its citizens.

    The Conviction and sentencing of former President Mohamed Nasheed for unlawfully abducting the Chief Judge for the Male Criminal Court, Justice Abdullah Mohamed has been the subject of significant media coverage and international concern.

    The Government welcomes this opportunity to update the international community on former President Nasheed’s situation and to correct many of the inaccurate and speculative reports concerning his treatment.

    Mr. Nasheed’s rights have been respected fully since his conviction on 13 March 2015. The Government has endeavoured to be fully transparent in this regard and, to this end, has facilitated visits to Mr. Nasheed in prison by the ICRC, the Commonwealth Representative as well as the delegation from the OHCHR.

    As of 21 June, Mr Nasheed has been transferred from the Maafushi Prison to his place of residence on Male, where he will be held under house arrest for eight weeks, during which time he shall receive all necessary medical treatment.

    This decision was made in light of a medical opinion given by Mr. Nasheed’s physician. He shall receive full medical care during this period, in addition to the x-rays and physiotherapy that he has already received. The relevant authorities will monitor and review his condition at all times to ensure that any health concerns are properly and promptly addressed.

    The Government will continue to keep the international community informed of Mr. Nasheed’s condition as part of its broader commitment to strengthening transparency and dialogue.

    As part of this commitment, President Yameen engaged in a constructive telephone call with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Tuesday, 23 June 2015, informing him of recent developments in the Maldives.  President Yameen reiterated his pledge to ensure that a process of structured political dialogue with the opposition parties is realised.

    This commitment to dialogue and cooperation with the international community is reflected in the Government’s desire to foster strong and constructive relations with the opposition political parties in the Maldives. As with the development of reforms, the Government recognises that the promotion of open and inclusive dialogue of this kind will take time.

    The Government will continue to engage constructively with its international partners, and in particular with the Office of the UN Secretary General, European Union and the Commonwealth.

    ENDS

    Male,  23 June 2015

    The Government of Maldives notes the visit of Amnesty International representative(s) from 23 to 26 June 2015 and encourages a fair and objective assessment of the situation on the ground.  We encourage cooperation, transparency, mutual respect and constructive engagement.

    To that end, the Government is facilitating meetings with high-level officials of the Maldivian Government,

    During Amnesty’s last visit to Maldives from 17 to 22 April 2015, the Government was concerned with Amnesty’s decision to meet with only officials and supporters of the opposition party, although the Government had volunteered to facilitate meetings with relevant Government officials and to arrange a visit to former President Mohamed Nasheed in prison. It is unfortunate that Amnesty did not keep in mind dates that had been communicated as convenient to the Government. 

    The Government reiterates the importance of constructive engagement to avoid one-sided reporting that would tarnish Maldives’ reputation without grounds and affect the stability, development and democratic progress made in the country.  Again, the Government notes the biased and baseless allegations made by Amnesty International in the past. 

    The Maldives is still a young democracy and the Government considers its obligations towards legislative and constitutional reform as an integral part of this Government's development plans. 

    The Government of Maldives expects international partners to recognize the progress made and values collaboration based on constructive engagement so long as any such work does not seek to create division within the Maldivian society.

    Minister Dunya said that “The general human rights situation in the Maldives has been improving steadily. This Government has enacted a total of 18 key human rights legislations within a period of less than 18 months, which is an unparalleled record in the history of the Maldives”.

    The Government has so far facilitated visits to the Maldives by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Commonwealth and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and engaged with them at the highest levels. The Government has further facilitated visits to former President Nasheed in prison by the ICRC, the Commonwealth Representative as well as the delegation from the OHCHR. 

    ENDS

    Your Excellency Mr. Rajeev Shahare, the High Commissioner of India to the Maldives,

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Assalaamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakaathuh

    At the outset let me wish you all Ramadhan Kareem. I hope you and your families have a blessed and peaceful Holy month of Ramadan.

    I am deeply honored to be part of this celebration to mark the first International Yoga Day. Special events have been organized throughout the day here in Maldives, and around the world. On behalf of the Government of Maldives I would like to extend greetings of the day to the Government of India. I would also like to congratulate High Commissioner Shahare for organizing the events.

    Prime Minister Modi made a call at the United Nations General Assembly last year, and the world listened. The Maldives was one of the first countries to co-sponsor the Resolution that declared 21 June as the International Yoga Day. In suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the International Day of Yoga, Prime Minister Modi had said that the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.

    I am sure you would agree with me that yoga offers a complete solution for a healthy life style. This is specially significant in today’s age where the stress of modern life is linked to a rapid increase in lifestyle related diseases. Yoga is a discipline that originated in India more than five thousand years ago. The origins of Yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions. Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the West in the late 19th and early 20th century. It became increasingly popular in the West in the 1980’s. 

    Yoga is, however, more than just a physical exercise; it places a great emphasis on breathing techniques and the inner experience of meditation for the well-being of the mind. Yoga has been accepted around the world mainly because it requires one to do simple and gentle exercises, and yet, they have a powerful impact. The physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple in contemporary times. Yoga brings many health and physical benefits and cultivates a sense of inner peace and self-determination in life.

    It is an interesting co-incidence that the first International Yoga Day is marked in the Holy Month of Ramadhan, or the fasting month for Muslims.  Fasting and Yoga both complement each other and together promote a healthier life style. Fasting helps us to experience what true hunger is. This is important in a world where there still are hundreds of thousands of people dying of hunger. We know that fasting has many health benefits. It has also been established that fasting improves brain function and self-discipline. It allows us to feel better both mentally and physically. Both fasting and Yoga cleanses our bodies making it lighter and our minds more focused.

    Fasting and Yoga teach us the value of creating harmony among human beings and harmony between human beings and nature. Yoga’s ability to create inner peace in individuals in turn, helps in facilitating a more peace-loving society. That is exactly the discipline we require in addressing the challenges of our time and in moving forward together as a society in nation-building. Peace and contentment are hallmarks of yoga.

    I once again wish to congratulate High Commissioner Shahare, and the Indian Cultural Center for the excellent preparations put together to celebrate the First International Day of Yoga here in the Maldives. The Indian Cultural Center has conducted several excellent yoga programs throughout the years. Many Maldivians have taken interest and continue to reap benefits from it. I hope that the enthusiasm and awareness of the benefits of yoga will continue to prosper and grow in our community.

    “A healthy body is home to a healthy mind, and yoga is the path to understand your body and mind better. Practicing yoga on a regular basis brings focus, skill in action and emotional balance in life. It also calms and rejuvenates your mind, empowering you to deal with life in a much better way.”

    Thank you all.

    Wa salaamu alaikum

    17 June 2015, Male’; The Government has appointed Omnia Strategy LLP to advise the Government for strengthening the legislative framework of the Government as part of the government’s broader strategy for democracy consolidation in the country. Omnia Strategy is the international legal and advisory firm chaired by international human rights barrister Cherie Blair CBE, QC.

    The Government’s decision to employ an international legal and advisory firm underscores the Government’s commitment to strengthen democratic institutions of the State and to promote a culture of respect for human rights in the Maldives, adhering to international norms, while retaining its unique character.

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