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The new Japanese Ambassador presents credentials to the President

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H.E. Takeuchi Midori, the new Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Maldives, presented her credentials to H.E. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The ceremony was held at the President’s Office this morning.

Welcoming the new Ambassador and congratulating her on her new appointment, President Solih highlighted the key role played by her predecessor, H.E. Keiko Yanai, in improving bilateral relations between the two countries. He expressed hope for continuing and further strengthening existing relations during the new Ambassador’s tenure.

Speaking at the meeting, the Ambassador highlighted that this year marks the 55th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two nations, expressing hope to further strengthen bilateral ties and work together on regional and global issues.

President Solih expressed his appreciation for the significant contributions made by the Japanese government across various sectors of the Maldives. The President happily noted the Japanese assistance to the Maldives during the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that the Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan was the largest concessional loan received from Japan to combat the pandemic.

President Solih thanked the Japanese government for its ongoing development projects in the Maldives, mentioning the Sea Wall Renovation project, Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting Project, and also thanked the Japanese Government for the assistance received for the development of Maldives Health Sector, Education, Sports, Agriculture and community development. He also noted the scholarship opportunities received under the Japanese Development Scholarship Programme to strengthen human resource capacity in the Maldives as some of the significant contributions.

The Ambassador expressed her desire to further address the Maldives’ developmental needs and strengthen cooperation in various sectors of the Maldives including fisheries, agriculture, environment, disaster prevention, countering Climate Change and enhancing governance. The President and the Ambassador further explored avenues for increasing cooperation between the two countries.

The Maldives and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1967.

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MNP to decide on going to court over Villimale’ WDC by-election

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Maldives National Party (MNP) has stated a decision will be made soon on going to court over concerns related to the Women’s Development Committee (WDC) by-election held for Villimale’ constituency in Male’ City.

The by-election, which was held on May 14, was contested by candidates from MNP and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). The election was won by PPM’s Fathimath Nazima with 359 votes, just one vote ahead of MNP’s candidate Aminath Sheeza who received 358 votes.

Speaking at a press conference, Vice President of MNP Ahmed Usham said the party has some valid concerns over the way ballots were counted in some polling stations. Usham stated there were inconsistencies in declaring null or invalid votes at different stations, noting ballots at some stations were counted out due to an additional line on the ballot paper while ballots with the same issue were counted as valid in other stations. He said the party is thinking of going to court over the case, and would be making a decision after the case is fully analysed.

Following the by-election, MNP requested a recount of the ballots to confirm the result. After reviewing MNP’s request, ECM decided to recount two ballots which received complaints during the vote. However, after recounting the two ballots, ECM stated there is no issue that would lead to a change of results.

 

Source: psmnews

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Dr. Ahmed Shaheed: Solih administration joins ranks of most repressive governments, time to CMAG Maldives?

Hamdhan Shakeel

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Former Maldivian Foreign Minister and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Dr. Ahmed Shaheed has stated that the Solih administration has joined the most repressive governments.

Following yesterday’s arrest of key activists associated with the India Out campaign which seeks to expel the Indian military forces in the Maldives and the ensuing protest and arrests last night, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed took to Twitter to express his disapproval of the Solih administration’s suppression of people’s right to freedom of expression.

In his Tweet, the former Foreign Minister state that “if the news reports of arrests to suppress dissent against Indian military presence in Maldives is true, this government has joined the ranks of the most repressive governments in Maldives”.

He also questioned whether it is time to add the Government of Maldives to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s agenda.

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Police attacks on Media contributes to decline in accountability and democratic backsliding.

Hamdhan Shakeel

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Staff Sergeant Solih is alleged to have threatened local media on the night of 18 May 2022.

The recent rallies and protest calling for the removal of Indian military forces in the Maldives has one undeniable fact, that the Maldives Police Service has become highly critical of local media outlets.

The advent of democracy marked the ushering in of a new era where unlike the yesteryears of Maumoon and his predecessors, the public were free to criticize and call for reform within the government and military forces. No longer were the police able to arrest people in the middle of the night and hold them in solitary confinement till a verdict is passed against them in a highly politicized judiciary.

Just as with every other sate institution, the police were held accountable, senior officers were prosecuted for their actions. Massive reform was made within the institution to hold them accountable and to develop a modern police force.

However, following the appointment of the former officer Mohamed Hameed who had been dismissed for leaking intelligence documents, as the Commissioner of Police, the whole institution has undergone a dramatic backsliding in its reform and development.

As a member of the press, we deal with the Police on a daily basis, submitting queries on a wide range of cases. Maldives Police Service has always not been on much good terms with the media thanks to their apparent prejudice that the media is the antithesis to the police in executing their duties during protest and rallies. However, under Commissioner Mohamed Hameed, the Maldives Police Service has adopted an unprecedented stand against media, actively barring media from covering domestic events.

Echoing the Maumoon era police brutality, the Solih administration has also utilized the Police to cover the brutality towards protestors and the media. Several high-profile attacks on the media has been brought to the attention of international media organizations such as RSF. However, this does not even remotely do justice for the countless attacks against the press, as they too perform their duty.

Their alienation and refusal to cooperate with the fourth estate is evident from their official police media group where the police repeatedly decline to even comment on any query by the press, only releasing statements and other messages they see fit.

Unforeseen to he general public, this poses a serious threat to the fundamental checks and balances in the democratic system where state institutions with overwhelming powers are kept in balance by independent state institutions and the fourth estate. In this case, the police’s refusal to cooperate nor allow the media to freely operate and cover political and other protests pose a direct threat to and contribute to the democratic backsliding in the Maldives, by removing the element of accountability from the equation.

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