The 2008 Constitution of the Republic of the Maldives, the nation's sixth, guarantees fundamental human rights, but subject to Islamic law. According to Article 21 of the Constitution, everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person "and the right not be deprived thereof to any extent", except if it is contrary to a tenet of Islam.See Art. 16, 2008 Constitution of the Maldives.
According to Article 54 of the Constitution:
No person shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, or to torture.
Under Section 32: "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly without prior permission of the State."
The Constitution decrees that the Maldivian security services consist of the military and the police service. Their role is to "enable all persons in the Maldives to live in peace,
security and freedom."Art. 236, 2008 Constitution of the Maldives.The security services are mandated to:
protect the nation’s sovereignty, maintain its territorial integrity defend the constitution and democratic institutions, maintain and enforce law and order, and render assistance in emergencies.Art. 237, 2008 Constitution of the Maldives.
The actions of the security services
must be exercised in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and operate on the basis of accountability. The President shall ensure that these obligations of the security services are complied with.Art. 238, 2008 Constitution of the Maldives.
The Constitution further requires that the Maldives Parliament (The People’s Majlis) enact legislation "on the organization of and the principles pursuant to which each security service shall operate."Art. 239(a), 2008 Constitution of the Maldives.
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||No|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||State Party|
There is no regional human rights treaty to which the Maldives can become a party.
Police Use of Force
The actions of the Maldives Police Service are regulated under the 2008 Police Act. Every police officer is obligated to "abstain from the exercise of disproportionate force whilst performing policing duties" and to not act "cruelly, in a degrading manner, inhumanely, or mercilessly towards any person in any circumstance".Art. 7(a)(9) and (11), 2008 Police Act.At the same time, the police are authorised to
use the amount of force necessary to achieve the purpose of ensuring compliance of any person who refuses to comply with or shows aggression to a lawful order made by a police officer....Art. 14, 2008 Police Act.
The Act does not explicitly address the use of firearms.
Since October 2015, police oversight has been entrusted to the National Integrity Commission, which replaced the discredited Police Integrity Commission. The authorities report that the Commission "is an independent legal entity possessing powers to undertake its mandate in its own capacity". Its objectives are:
• To investigate unlawful acts of Law Enforcement Agencies and employees of such agencies and to investigate where the commission of such act is suspected or if any party submits a complaint that such an act has or is being committed;
• To foster public trust and confidence in the service provided by employees of Law Enforcement Agencies.
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In its 2018 Concluding Observations on the Maldives, the Committee against Torture expressed its concern at information it received "regarding many reports of torture, including sexual violence, and excessive use of force by police and security forces, particularly following the coup in February 2012".
In its report to the Committee, the Maldives had stated its commitment "to ensure that appropriate guidelines on the use of force are respected and that the law enforcement and correctional officials adhere to and observe the prohibitions against torture and other forms of abuse".
The Committee on the Rights of the Child's 2016 Concluding Observations on the Maldives did not address the actions of the police. The Committee called for the repeal of provisions in the 2014 Regulation on Investigation and Execution of Sentence for Wilful Murder that allow children as young as seven years of age to be sentenced to death for the offence of intentional murder.Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations on the Maldives, UN doc. CRC/C/MDV/CO/4-5, 14 March 2016, paras. 30, 31.
In 2012, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern at "reported cases of torture in some police stations" in the Maldives.Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on the Maldives, UN doc. CCPR/C/MDV/CO/1, 31 August 2012, para. 14.
There is no regional human rights body with jurisdiction over acts of law enforcement in the Maldives.
In October 2017, the National Integrity Commission initiated a suo motu investigation on the death in prison of Mr Abullah Rasheed. Investigations were also initiated by the Human Rights Commission of Maldives and the Maldives Police Service. In May 2018, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives stated that its investigation was still ongoing and that no charges had been sought over the case. Abdullah Rasheed Mohamed, 51, from the capital, Male, was convicted of assaulting a law enforcement officer during an opposition rally on 1 May 2015, and was serving a five-year sentence. He died after being brought to the state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital for medical treatment.