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Page added on April 23, 2012

No response to requests for Commonwealth assistance with inquiry, alleges Foreign Ministry

No response to requests for Commonwealth assistance with inquiry, alleges Foreign Ministry thumbnail

The Foreign Ministry has issued a statement in Dhivehi claiming the Commonwealth had not answered the government’s requests seeking expertise for the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).

The CNI was set up by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan to investigate the controversial change of power on February 7 which the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) maintains was a coup d’état orchestrated by remnants of the former dictatorship, funded by several resort interests and carried out by mutinous police and military units.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) on April 16 challenged the independence of the commission, urging the government “to review immediately the composition and terms of reference of the Commission to make it genuinely independent, credible and impartial. CMAG reiterated the Commonwealth’s offer to provide assistance in this regard.”

However in its statement yesterday, the Maldives Foreign Ministry claimed “when the inquiry commission was set up on February 22, this ministry requested the Commonwealth for expertise. This ministry sent the terms of reference for such an expert to the Commonwealth. However, the Commonwealth has not sent an answer to the request to this day.”

“The Maldivian government has previously agreed to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s call for international expert assistance as per the CMAG statement. Hence, the Maldivian government requests an international expert for the inquiry commission in the near future with Commonwealth’s support,” the Ministry stated.

Spokesperson for the Commonwealth Secretariat, Richard Uku, said that CMAG had noted during its teleconference on March 15 that while the CNI had commenced work, “it had failed to secure cross-party support.”

“[CMAG] Ministers acknowledged that international assistance had been requested, and noted that the Commonwealth could be of potential assistance,” Uku said.

Following a visit to the Maldives by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Sir Donald McKinnon, the Commonwealth had discussed the provision of a senior judicial advisor to the CNI, Uku explained.

“Draft terms of reference for the adviser were agreed with the Government of Maldives, and preparations made for the selection and placement of a Commonwealth adviser. However, by this time it had become amply clear that the existing composition of the Commission did not enjoy broad political acceptance. The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy consequently focused his discussions with parties on attempting to facilitate agreement on this matter,” he said.

“At their meeting on 16 April, CMAG ministers were concerned that the Government had not made any moves to revise the composition of the CNI in a manner that would enhance its credibility. CMAG accordingly asked for the composition and terms of reference of the CNI to be reviewed in order to make them generally acceptable.

“Pending such a review,” he concluded, adding that the Commonwealth remained “ready to assist the Commission as soon as broad-based political agreement is reached on its composition and terms of reference.”

Rising rhetoric

In its concluding statement on April 16, CMAG warned of “stronger measures” against the Maldives “should the composition and terms of reference of the Commission not be amended within four weeks in a manner that is generally acceptable and enhances its credibility.”

Uku told Minivan News last week that while the Secretariat would not speculate about what “stronger measures” might entail, a range of options were available to CMAG “including suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth”.

Figures in the new government and MPs of the new ruling coalition have reacted angrily in parliament and in local media to the deadline, possibility of Commonwealth suspension and accompanying international censure.

Haama Daily reported State Minister for Foreign Affairs and daughter of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Dunya Maumoon, as questioning CMAG’s impartiality, claiming their response was based on “incomplete information” and stating that it was “very apparent that CMAG is not aware of Maldives’ laws and regulations.”

President Waheed’s political advisor, Ahmed ‘Topy’ Thaufeeq, posted on Twitter that the Commonwealth ”has no right to call on Maldivian govt to hold ‘early’ elections against the country’s constitution.”
“CMAG can take whatever action it wants if the Maldives does not hold early elections against its constitution. Go ahead if that is democracy,” Thaufeeq stated.

State Minister for Tourism, Ahmed Shameem, was reported in newspaper Miadhu as accusing the Commonwealth of showing contempt for the Maldives constitution, claiming that “some entities of the United Kingdom are trying to shatter the Islamic unity of the country.”

“Everyone wants their puppet to rule the country. Nasheed ruled Maldives as a puppet of the United Kingdom. Nasheed is ready to destroy the Islamic unity of Maldives,” Miadhu reported Shameem as saying.

State Minister for Fisheries, Fuwad Gasim, also alleged in Miadhu that “Most foreign ministers sitting in CMAG would not even know the colour of the Maldivians.”

“A group like that all of a sudden releases a statement listening to only one party through a teleconversation and comments on issues. This is not how responsible organisations do things,” Fuwad claimed.

Fuwad said that a statement released by the Commonwealth after “thoroughly considering what has happened in Maldives” would “differ a lot from the original statement.”

“There are countries in the Commonwealth that know what happened on February 7, and haven’t said it was a coup,” he said.

Fuwad added that India had been observing the events from the day they unfolded, and that all political leaders were in touch with Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay.

“They were regularly updating Mulay about the events,” he said. “So I believe Mulay had been observing the events of February 7 and he would have said whether it was a coup or not. India was the first country to recognise the new government, so how could we give credibility to a report made by those who were  too far away?”

Meanwhile, speaking in parliament today, Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed called on the government to preemptively withdraw from the Commonwealth.

“There is no reason to have international relations with a group like this, who don’t even know how to ensure justice, he said. “I propose to disaffiliate ourselves from the Commonwealth for now.”

MP Muththalib from the Adhaalath Party accused CMAG of being “a weapon used to destroy the religion of this country.

“I do not believe CMAG has any right to call on us to hold early elections. We should consider the countries that are doing things for us,” he said.

“If the current government feels that disassociating with CMAG or the Commonwealth is the best thing for this country, I am in full support for this Majlis to pass such a motion.”

The MDP released a statement claiming it was concerned that attempts to discredit international bodies locally would lead the Maldives down the path of international isolation – “the route of Myanmar’s junta, or Zimbabwe or Fiji” – and reiterated its calls for Dr Waheed to step down and trigger early elections under the Speaker, or agree to amend the Constitution to provide for early elections before the end of 2012.

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14 Comments on "No response to requests for Commonwealth assistance with inquiry, alleges Foreign Ministry"

  1. Thuththube on Mon, 23rd Apr 2012 9:59 PM 

    I think Foreign Ministry needs to do real work.
    What can Gayyoom’s daughter and friend do to tell the world that Gayyoom has nothing to do with the change of power?
    Why dont you guys resign and go home so that capable people can do the work?

  2. Jaiz ( Maathoda ) on Mon, 23rd Apr 2012 11:02 PM 

    Who can live alone in this world ? some Maldivians really need to attend mind set up class.

  3. Yasir on Mon, 23rd Apr 2012 11:21 PM 

    commonwealth has been bribe by mdp scum. they are not impartial and should be arrested by their government for breaking international laws.

  4. peasant on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 3:06 AM 

    “commonwealth has been bribe by mdp scum. they are not impartial and should be arrested by their government for breaking international laws.”

    True bro, MDP bribed them. Not to worry though, the police is on our side and the Commonwealth will be arrested soon.

    The MDP scum do not realize how stupid they are.

  5. strange situation on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 4:42 AM 

    Pointless to even have an investigation. mdp won’t accept the current govt, and the other parties will continue to.This won’t change no matter who investigates or what the outcome of an investigation is.
    The call for an early election from CMAG shows bias. It should either be a call for investigation, or if they don’t accept the current government say so and call for reinstatement. Not early elections.

  6. Lesson from history on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 6:16 AM 

    History teaches that inviting foreign parties/powers to settle internal problems of a country/people is in the end detrimental to the the country/people. One of the most recent example is Iraq. Despite the blunders of the former Iraqi president Saddam (invasion of Iran in 1979 supported by Saudi/Kuwait as well as US/Britain; and the invasion of Kuwait later in 1990-1)and his iron-handed treatement of his opponents) Iraq would not have been invaded by the US in 2003 except with the help and collaboration provided to the US by some Iraqis (headed by Chalabi). See the situation of Iraq today. One of the richest and resouceful countries of the world is in ruins.

  7. Lubna Ali on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 7:27 AM 

    The clock is ticking and we are going to face the consequences, while our leaders will take all the money from the coffers. Currently they are printing money to hide their short comings.

  8. Hani on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 8:05 AM 

    This is hilarious. I wonder if the coup government has any idea how guilty they look.

    Yasir: The Commonwealth has been bribed? I don’t think even Maumoon, the professional, could afford that and he’s got heaps of cash left over from the 30 years he raped and pillaged the nations wealth.

  9. ppd on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 9:25 AM 

    Ha! Mulay is one single person which have been proved to have business ties with Gayooms family. Now the ministers throwing Mulay’s name around as if he is an organization. We dont care who Mulay is, so stop waving him around our face…

    Everyone is waiting for this damn investigation hence, no one has said it was a coup or not. Is this the level of arguments put forth by Ministers of this country.

    You are a bunch of traitors flailing around trying to prop up Gayoom and his family.. you bunch take us as fools… it is only through police brutality and corrupt courts that prevent us from hanging you lot in public. A bunch that stole this countries next generation..

    please do us a favor a shutup. let that batons of your army defend the regime. We would rather bleed than listen to your shameless words.

  10. Unbelievable!! on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 9:35 AM 

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is being highly iresponsible with the media statement they have made regarding this matter.

    The Foreign Minisrty has very conveniently left out the critical matter of contention. ie The Special Envoy’s request for the terms of reference for the CNI to be reviewed first before an advisor can be appointed.

    As readers may recall the CNI decided very early on that their findings will not be sent on for criminal nvestigation, and that the enquiry will be just that…. an enquiry for historical record. To which the MDP objected, understandably. At the same time the MDP asked for consultation across parties for the appintment of CNI members. This did not happen.

    Read this statement from the Comminwealth….

    “[CMAG] Ministers acknowledged that international assistance had been requested, and noted that the Commonwealth could be of potential assistance,” Uku said.

    Following a visit to the Maldives by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Sir Donald McKinnon, the Commonwealth had discussed the provision of a senior judicial advisor to the CNI, Uku explained.

    “Draft terms of reference for the adviser were agreed with the Government of Maldives, and preparations made for the selection and placement of a Commonwealth adviser. However, by this time it had become amply clear that the existing composition of the Commission did not enjoy broad political acceptance. The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy consequently focused his discussions with parties on attempting to facilitate agreement on this matter,” he said.

    “At their meeting on 16 April, CMAG ministers were concerned that the Government had not made any moves to revise the composition of the CNI in a manner that would enhance its credibility. CMAG accordingly asked for the composition and terms of reference of the CNI to be reviewed in order to make them generally acceptable.

    “Pending such a review,” he concluded, adding that the Commonwealth remained “ready to assist the Commission as soon as broad-based political agreement is reached on its composition and terms of reference.”

    If there is anyone out there who has any doubts that Nasheed was forced to resign under duress, this statement from the Foreign Ministry should settle those doubts.

    We need to ask the CNI who are they protecting when they decided that their findings will not lead to criminal investigation.Why the need for an amnesty before the invstigation even began???

    It is the CNI which is causing all the unrest in this country. An elected President says he was forced to resig under duress. That HAS to be investigated.

    Two months down the road, we are still talking terms of reference.

    We also want to ask Dr Waheed why he has not heeded the requests of Sir Donald McKinnon,Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth regarding the CNI.

    Dr Waheed, Do your duty to the people of the Maldives who elected you, sack the members you appointed to the CNI and give us a CNI that all political parties of this country can agree to. WITH international participation.

    Then say to us that the Commonwealth did not give us what we asked for.

    Dr Samadh, you should start writing a book, fiction of course you have rel talent.

  11. Radhun on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 9:57 AM 

    Salient points from CMAG’s Report to Heads of Government are:

    · CMAG will continue to respond as before to instances where there is an unconstitutional overthrow of an elected government. In these instances CMAG has done well and has drawn upon the measures adopted at Millbrook.

    · CMAG has concentrated on identifying how it might be more proactive and constructive, with clearer guidelines and timeframes for engagement when the situation in a country is causing concern.

    · The core changes in CMAG’s mandate now accepted by Commonwealth leaders include using the following as among the types of situations that might be regarded as constituting a serious or persistent violation of Commonwealth values:

    i. The unilateral abrogation of a democratic constitution or serious threats to constitutional rule;

    ii. The suspension or prevention of the lawful functioning of parliament or other key democratic institutions;

    iii. The postponement of national elections without constitutional or other reasonable justification;

    iv. The systematic denial of political space, such as through detention of political leaders or restriction of freedom of association, assembly or expression;

    The following developments could also be taken into account:

    i. A national electoral process that is seriously flawed;

    ii. The abrogation of the rule of law or undermining of the independence of the judiciary

    iii. The systematic violation of human rights of the population, or of any communities or groups, by the member government concerned;

    iv. Significant restrictions on the media or civil society that prevent them from playing their legitimate role.

    Where CMAG is wrong is the transfer of Govt is an over throw or a resignation. CMAG has to wait until the findings are established.

    However it appears CMAG has already decided only the word of one sick person and ignored the majority.

  12. Think Evan Naseem on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 1:17 PM 

    CMAG please do not give any assistance till Ismail Shafeeu is removed from the inquiry commission.

  13. Mohamed on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 1:59 PM 

    Our foreign minister and his team does seem to know a lot about foreign relationship to blabber this!!!!!
    No wonder this is not being answered! The dumb and the dumber will know when they are getting the boots!!!!!
    Good hunting Doc Samad!
    You fallen inline with Dr. Waheed!
    You have spoiled your CV too!
    Bye! Bye! Commonwealth!

  14. Mohamed 3 on Tue, 24th Apr 2012 3:17 PM 

    Commonwealth envoy Don should have known that Inquiry commission not acceptable to MDP, when he was here. He should have reported this to CMAG.
    the question now is why did CW even then think of providing technical assistance to the Commission,
    stupid DOn. Stupid CMAG


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