Posts Tagged ‘Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)’

NGO Statement remembers the one-year anniversary of the ban on the Maldivian Democracy Network

December 19, 2020

Today – 19 December 2020 – marks one year since the Government of the Maldives arbitrarily shut down the longest serving human rights group in the country, the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) and arbitrarily confiscated all of its funds. Since then, the Government has not reversed any of its unconstitutional actions related to the dissolution of MDN.

We remind the Government of the Maldives that Article 30(b) of the country’s Constitution guarantees the right to establish societies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Article 43 affords everyone the right to fair administrative action that adheres to basic fairness and procedural propriety. MDN has been deprived of these rights through arbitrary action taken without due process.

An administrative decision was taken based on allegations of a criminal offence, depriving the organisation and the human rights defenders involved of their right to appeal in the criminal and civil processes initiated by the Government of the Maldives. The right to appeal is guaranteed by Article 56 of the Constitution. Furthermore, the organisation has not been given the right of reply or to defend itself against what is widely seen as a biased decision based on the interpretation of an academic research.

We are disappointed that the Parliament of the Maldives has refused to investigate the matter and hold the government accountable. We urge the Parliament not to use its mandate selectively, and call on it to conduct its affairs equally, uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

The Government of the Maldives, by taking arbitrary and unconstitutional actions to silence civil society, has set a dangerous precedent that has resulted in a violent witch-hunt of human rights defenders and civil society organisations. We call on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to conduct a fair and open enquiry into these deplorable actions and stop the harassment of the human rights community in the Maldives, as several United Nations Member States recommended during the third Universal Periodic Review of the Maldives in November 2020[1].

Signed by:

The Asian Forum on Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

CIVICUS

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH),

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) is a non-partisan civil society organisation based in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, operating under the Swiss civil code. MDN, registered  in the Maldives from 2006 until December 2019, was one of  the longest-running human rights groups in the country until the Government of  Maldives forcefully shut down the organisation.

See also; https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/06/26/maldives-mohamed-nasheed-from-human-rights-defender-to-president-to-exile/

[1] Recommendations made to the Maldives at the 36th session of the Universal Periodic Review

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative held meeting on Defend the Defenders

September 20, 2018

There are (fortunately) many conference devoted to human rights defenders, from the mega ones (such as the upcoming HRD Summit in Paris, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/07/24/announcement-of-the-human-rights-defenders-world-summit-in-paris-october-2018/ ] to smaller ons such as the one referred to here in Delhi by the Human Rights Law Network as reported by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on 19th September 2018. Mr. Venkatesh Nayak , Programme Coordinator, Access to Information, CHRI moderated the inaugural session on “Attacks on RTI activists” at the day-long conference on Defending the Defenders organised by Human Rights Law Network in Delhi today. Panelists who spoke at this session included Anjali Bhardwaj, SNS & NCPRI; A K Parasher, former Focal Point for Human Rights Defenders, NHRC; Abhishek Singh, s/o slain RTI activist Late Ram Vilas Singh, Lakhisarai, Bihar and Sanjay Sahni, MGNREGA Watch, Muzaffarpur. Sanjoy Hazarika, International Director of CHRI made an intervention during the panel on “Attacks on Journalists.”

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation, headquartered in New Delhi, India, working for the practical realisation of human rights across the Commonwealth. In 1987, several Commonwealth associations founded CHRI as a response to South Africa’s policy of racism. These groups felt that while member countries had a common set of values and legal principles from which to work and a forum within which to promote human rights, there was relatively little focus on human rights issues.

CHRI’s objectives are to promote awareness of and adherence to the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other internationally recognised human rights instruments, as well as domestic instruments supporting human rights in member states.

http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/events/conference-on-defend-the-defenders-on-19th-september-2018