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The Government of Maldives has imposed a temporary cessation of activities upon the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) following widespread public condemnation of a report published by the organisation in 2016 entitled Preliminary Assessment of Radicalization in the Maldives, due to content slandering Islam and the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH).
In a statement, Ministry of Foreign affairs revealed the imposed cessation of activities will be effective for the duration of the state’s investigation into the matter. The Maldives Government remains fundamentally committed to upholding all the rights enshrined in the Constitution, including those of free expression. The statement reminded all parties the exercise of all these rights is subject to refrainment from creating communal discord or blatantly contravening the fundamental tenets of Islam.
Further, the Maldives Government said it is firmly committed to upholding the democratic rights of the citizens including those of expression and peaceful assembly as prescribed in both domestic laws as well as international treaties to which Maldives are party to including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 19 of which lists freedom of speech and expression as fundamental human Rights. However, as recognized in the ICCPR, these rights cannot be exercised maliciously, in the form of hate-speech, or in a manner that contributes to public discord and enmity, the foreign ministry said in the statement.
‘’The maintenance of public order and communal harmony while ensuring the rights of citizens are the highest obligations of any government. Islam is one of the fundamental sources of our country’s democratic framework as well as a source of unity and peace within our community,’’ the statement said.
On conclusion, the government unequivocally condemned those who foment hatred, send out threats and call for violence against others in the name of defending religion. ‘’We will not hesitate to use the full force of the law against those who do so. We call upon all parties to exercise their rights in a manner that is respectful of each other and the sentiments of the wider Maldivian community,’’ the government said.