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Press briefing on Maldives

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Location: Geneva
Date: 17 October 2014

(1) Maldives

We are deeply concerned about the case initiated by the Supreme Court of the Maldives against the five members of the Human Rights Commission of the country.

Following the Commission’s submission of a written contribution to the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Maldives before the UN Human Rights Council, the five members of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives are facing serious criminal charges.

In making a UPR submission, the Commission operated in line with international principles governing national institutions (known as the Paris Principles). The Human Rights Council specifically encourages the participation of national human rights institutions in the UPR process. The case in the Maldives was initiated suo motu by the Supreme Court through a summons issued on 22 September, and is currently under way.

We call on the Government to firmly defend the independence of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, in line with the commitments made during the first UPR of the Maldives in 2011. The Government has a responsibility to ensure a safe operating space for the Commission and for civil society actors in the country, so that they are able to cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms without fear of reprisals. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has also written directly to the Government of the Maldives to express his concerns.

The UPR of the Maldives is scheduled to be held between April and May 2015.

ENDS

For more information or media requests, please contact Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 /rcolville@ohchr.org)

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