MDV 001 / 0612 / OBS 053
June 6, 2012
TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme ofthe International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in the Maldives.
Descriptionof the situation:
TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources of a violent assault againstMr. Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed, prominent Maldivian blogger and journalist advocating in favour offreedom of religion and combating extremism, and former editor of the newspaperHaveeru.
Accordingto the information received, on June 4, 2012, Mr. Rasheed was stabbed in theneck at around 8:15 p.m. close to his house in Male'. He was later brought tothe ADK hospital to undergo emergency treatment.
Thepolice subsequently cordoned off the area around the location of the attack andan investigation was opened. However, as of issuing this urgent appeal, noinformation could be obtained regarding the perpetrators and the motivation ofthe attack. On June 5, 2012 in the morning, Mr. Rasheed’s condition hadreportedly stabilised, but was still critical. He was due to remain inintensive care for a couple of days.
Twoblogs belonging to Mr. Rasheed were blocked in November 2011 by theCommunications Authority of the Maldives (CAM) upon order of the Ministry ofIslamic Affairs, on the grounds that the sites contained “anti-Islamic”material. Mr. Rasheed claimed then he was being censored, in particular,because of his calls for more freedom of interpretation within the faith. Hehad also called to amend the clause in the constitution which requires allMaldivians to be Sunni Muslims only.
OnDecember 10, 2011, Mr. Rasheed had already been attacked by a group of menwhile attending a protest calling for religious tolerance on the occasion ofHuman Rights Day. He had subsequently been arrested by police and questionedover his involvement in the protest gathering, before being jailed for overthree weeks for “disrupting the religious unity of the Maldives”. His case wasdismissed, but he was later told by the authorities that he had been detainedfor “his own safety”.
Please write to the Maldivian authorities and ask themto:
i. Order an immediate, thorough and transparent investigation into theassault against Mr. Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed with a view to establishing thetruth and to sanctioning all those responsible for this attack;
ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrityof all human rights defenders in the Maldives;
ii. Putan end to acts of harassmentagainst all human rights defenders in the Maldives;
iii. Conform in any circumstances with theprovisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9,1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, and in particular:
- Article1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in associationwith others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights andfundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
- and Article 12.2 which provides that “the Stateshall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competentauthorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adversediscrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of hisor her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the presentDeclaration”.
iv. Ensure in all circumstancesrespect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance withinternational human rights standards and international instruments ratified bythe Maldives.
· Maldives,Phone: 3323826, 3337638 Fax: 3342064 Email: email@example.com
Pleasealso write to the diplomatic representations of the Maldives in your respectivecountries.
Paris-Geneva,June 6, 2012
Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.
TheObservatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of HumanRights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
Tocontact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT: + 4122 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH: +33(0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80