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UN Expert Applauds the Democratic Transition in the Maldives

GENEVA - - Following the run-off in the first multi-party presidential elections in the Maldives, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, welcomes the democratic transition process and congratulates the people of the Maldives who have been the central actors of the reform.

The Special Rapporteur expresses profound appreciation for the work of all the members of the Government presided by Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom for the political and institutional reform process during the past four years that culminated in the adoption of the new constitution in August this year and the subsequent conduct of the first multi-party presidential elections.

The Special Rapporteur congratulates the newly elected President Mohamed Nasheed on his election and underlines that there are great expectations towards the incoming President to pursue the legal and judicial reforms in accordance with the new Constitution and international human rights standards.

Following his visit to the country in February 2007, the Special Rapporteur had addressed several recommendations to the Government to reform the judicial system, the majority of which have been introduced through the recent changes.

In his recent presentation to the General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur underlined that the Maldives’ transition process provides a very interesting example of the benefits that can flow from a constructive dialogue between States and the UN’s human rights machinery. The precedent set with the Maldives should be considered as an example of “best practices” and can act as an inspiration for the entire region, particularly small Island States considering or implementing similar human rights reforms.

The Special Rapporteur would like to join the Secretary General in congratulating the Maldives and encouraging the political parties to work in a cooperative manner and continue to carry forward the reform process in the field of justice. In this connection, Mr. Despouy calls for a greater participation of women in public affairs, in particular in the judiciary. The Special Rapporteur calls upon the United Nations to direct efforts for collaboration, particularly through its technical cooperation mechanisms, to further reform initiatives already taken by the Maldives.

For more information please get in touch with Julia Raue, assistant to the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: +41 22 917 9158 or write to jraue@ohchr.org or to srindependencejl@ohchr.org