The Advocates for Human Rights, together with The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, the Capital Punishment Justice Project, Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, and Reprieve, submitted a Suggested List of Issues Prior to Reporting on the death penalty in the Maldives for the 130th session of the Human Rights Committee.
The Maldives has failed to uphold its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Maldives has not yet ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aimed at the abolition of the death penalty and maintains the death penalty as a legal form of punishment. While the State Party has observed a de facto moratorium on the death penalty for six decades, former President Abdulla Yameen announced intentions to resume executions in early 2014. In April 2014, the Maldivian Government enacted a “Regulation on Investigation & Execution of Sentence for Willful Murder,” providing for execution by lethal injection for premeditated murder and “deliberate manslaughter.”
The State maintains the death penalty for juvenile offenders. In 2018, there were at least 5 individuals on death row who had been convicted and sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were younger than 18 years of age. In addition, civil society organizations and human rights defenders who criticize the death penalty face threats, harassment, and violence at the hands of police and security forces, as well as private parties who act with impunity. President Solih’s government has engaged in a crackdown on civil society and political dissent. In 2019, authorities shut down the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), the oldest working human rights organization in the Maldives and one of the only organizations in the country to speak out against the death penalty, claiming the organization was “contrary to the tenets of Islam.”
The authors of the report of the list of issues suggest the following questions for the Government of the Maldives:
What steps have Maldivian authorities taken to reduce the number of crimes eligible for the death penalty and to limit the availability of the death penalty to the "most serious" crimes in accordance with Article 6 of the Covenant?
What measures are in place to ensure that no person is sentenced to death or executed for a crime committed when they were under 18 years of age?
Please provide data about the number of people in detention for offenses committed while under the age of 18 and the number of juvenile offenders under sentence of death.
What protections are in place to ensure that civil society organizations and human rights defenders who provide information to this Committee will not face reprisals from Maldivian authorities?
What steps have authorities taken to ensure protection for freedom of expression of non-governmental organizations like the Maldivian Democracy Network?
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