South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) a regional network of human rights defenders, vehemently condemns the violent police crackdown of the peaceful sit –in protest carried out by journalists in front of the President’s office and the arrest of 16 journalists in Male on 3 April. These journalists reportedly were peacefully protesting against the government’s actions to impede the freedom of the press such as the court order against the publishing of Haveeru, the local newspaper with the highest circulation and the prolonged investigation of the disappeared journalist Ahmed Rilwan. The journalists were released after 10 hours of detention and were directed by the police to report for further interrogation.
In the recent past, SAHR has been deeply concerned about the numerous incidents of serious violations and severe abuse of fundamental rights of the civil society delineating the gradual deterioration of human rights standards and the rule of law, thus, perilously hindering the country’s transition to more representative government. It strongly urges the government of the Maldives to effectively engage in the measures that would restore independence of democratic institutions and rule of law which in turn would uphold human rights standards enhancing the country’s democratic transition.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights.
Dr. Nimalka Fernando