The United Nations Human Rights Committee has urged the Maldives to consider setting up an independent commission to investigate all human rights violations, including torture that took place prior to 2008.
In a report issued Thursday, Committee further called on the Maldives to abolish the death penalty, ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and remove mandatory death penalties from its statutes.
The Committee expressed concern over the reported cases of torture in some police stations and ill-treatment by Police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) that occurred in the State party prior to 2008 which have not all been investigated. The Committee is further concerned at information according to which human rights violations, including torture, were committed by the Police during the arrest and detention of protestors in the course of the demonstrations of February 8, in Male and Addu cities, report read.
“The State party should take steps to combat torture and ill-treatment in its all forms and prohibit it in its legislation. The State party should consider setting up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate all human rights violations, including torture that took place in the State party prior to 2008 and provide compensation to the victims. The Committee should further investigate all allegations of torture that took place at the time of the demonstrations of February 8, 2012, in Male and Addu, prosecute those responsible, and provide compensation and rehabilitation to the victims. The State party should implement the findings of the Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate events that took place during the political transition period.”
The Human Rights Committee while expressing concern over the composition of the Police Integrity Commission and the low number of cases relating to torture and ill-treatment received by the Commission as well as at the low number of police officers sanctioned, urged the Maldives to review the composition of the Commission to ensure that its independence is guaranteed.
“The State party should also ensure that complaints lodged by alleged victims of torture or ill-treatment are thoroughly and impartially investigated and that those responsible are prosecuted and punished with appropriate penalties.“
Committee also stressed that the composition and the functioning of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) seriously compromise the realization of measures to ensure the independence of the Judiciary as well as its impartiality and integrity and urged to adopt effective measures to reform JSC.
The report also called on the Maldives to improve prison conditions, treatment of inmates, strengthening the judicial system and cease intimidation and harassment of media personnel.
The Committee, while welcoming the efforts to facilitate the participation of women in public and political life, including in the Judiciary, expressed concerned at the continuing gender-discrimination which results in the under representation of women in political and public affairs and prevents women from fully enjoying these rights.
“The State party should strengthen its efforts to facilitate the participation of women in political and public affairs, including by taking temporary special measures and conducting awareness-campaigns to further increase the participation of women in public and political affairs.”
The report further recommended necessary measures to implement fully the Domestic Violence Act, facilitate complaints from victims without fear of reprisals, intimidation or exclusion by the community; investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible with appropriate penalties; and provide compensation to victims.
The Committee also called on the Maldives to revise the Constitution to ensure that religion is not a basis for citizenship.
The Committee in its five page report requested the Maldives, in its periodic report, on July, 27 2015 to provide, specific, up-to-date information on all its recommendations and on the Covenant as a whole.