Maldives government urged to defend independence of human rights body

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Ravina Shamdasani. Photo: UN Multimedia

The government of the island nation of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean has been urged to defend the independence of the country's Human Rights Commission.

The appeal has come from the UN human rights office after the Supreme Court of Maldives laid serious criminal charges against five members of the Commission.

The case was initiated after the Commission submitted a written contribution to a periodic review of the country in the UN Human Rights Council.

Ravina Shamdasani is a spokesperson for the UN human rights office in Geneva.

"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." (25")

Ms Shamdasani said the government of Maldives must ensure that the Commission and civil society actors in the country are able to cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms without fear or reprisals.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1'20"

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