We are looking for an energetic, motivated, driven individual for the post of Gender Sensitization Training Development Consultant.

Position title: Consultant
Expected period of commitment: 21 days
Application deadline: Before 1600 hrs, 20 April 2015.
Location: Male’, Maldives

View/download the full Terms of Reference

1. Organization Background
Transparency Maldives (TM) is a non-political organization that endeavours to be a constructive force in society by promoting collaboration and discussion on corruption, transparency and accountability. Our organization seeks to engage with stakeholders from all sectors (government, business, politics and civil society, among others) to raise awareness of corruption’s detrimental effects on development and society, improve transparency and accountability in governance, and eliminate corruption from the daily lives of people.

Transparency Maldives received formal government registration in 2007, and is the National Contact of Transparency International (TI) in the Maldives.

2. Background to the assignment.

One of the key recommendations following from TM’s election observation effort of the 2013-2014 election cycle is to design interventions to increase women’s political participation in the Maldives. In the past, TM has worked under different projects to empower women and increase women’s political participation including trainings for local councilors and candidates and women’s development committee members. Building on this, TM plans to involve the media in promoting women’s political participation. To achieve this TM plans to conduct training programs for practicing journalists and journalism students.

3. Responsibilities of the consultant

• Conduct a brief needs assessment to identify specific training areas through interviews with relevant individuals and institutions.
• Based on the findings of the assessment, design and develop training modules in consultation with TM and technical persons.
• Develop an evaluation and analysis instrument that will measure changes in attitudes of workshop participants to be administered both immediately before and after the workshops.
• Conduct a Training of Trainers (ToT) for TM staff and partners.
• Gather feedback from the participants of the ToT and finalize training modules.
• Finalize assessment and analysis instruments.
• Deliver final assessment, analysis instruments and training modules along with usage guide of the modules.

 


Closing date for applications:
Before 0400pm Monday, 20 April 2015.

Application and selection procedures:
Interested applicants are kindly requested to submit a CV, Expression of Interest stating why the applicant is suitable for the position, the timeframe, fee, and names of two referees to Project Coordinator, Shifza Omar at shifu@transparencymaldives.org. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews. If you are short-listed you will be notified by either phone or email.


Opening of Parliament and disruptions
The opening of the Parliament on 2 March 2015 occurred amidst protestations inside the chamber from opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs calling for the release of former President Nasheed who was under arrest at the time, and counter-protests from government-aligned MPs voicing their support for Nasheed’s trial and sentencing.
In his opening address to the Parliament, President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom iterated the Government’s commitment to upholding laws and the tenets in the Constitution. His speech summarized the Government’s key achievements in 2014 in areas such as urban development, tourism, foreign relations, infrastructure, health and social welfare and highlighted several key legislation submitted to Parliament in 2014. Within this trajectory, what stands out in particular is the focus on developing the Maldivian economy and financial frameworks. He touched on the pledges to fulfil election pledges to empower youth, including the submission of a youth rights bill to Parliament in 2015, further develop tourism and complementary sectors, and speed up investments through the special economic zones.
Opposition MPs have been protesting at every sitting since Parliament returned from recess. Every sessional debate has been marked by confrontational protests over the arrest and conviction of former President Nasheed, resulting in a lack of earnest and thorough public debate on issues submitted to Parliament. Following the first session of the year, the Parliament administration terminated the live feed of sessions to television stations, barring the public of observing proceedings. Reporters were also barred from recording proceedings during sessions and now can only cover proceedings from a specific media gallery location within the Parliament building. The impact of such a restraining stance on media reporting is a question worth asking as the work of the Parliament, be it protestations against governmental policy, should be publicly available for public consumption.
During the 16 March session, former Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Mahloof, with a printed sign board, requested from the Speaker to provide him with security as he feared for his life. This followed Mahloof’s expulsion from the PPM after his publicized comments on the corruption of current senior Government officials and connections between President Yameen and gang members.
Amendment to Political Parties’ Act and Elections Commission Act regarding party presidential nomination elections
This year’s first session has seen some key amendments and bills submitted to Parliament. This includes an amendment to the Political Parties’ Act, put forward by the PPM to amend clauses in the existing Act that the Supreme Court had ruled in 2013 were unconstitutional. The Maldives guarantees the right to establish and take part in political parties in Article 30 (a) of the Constitution.
Article 11 of the existing Act stated, arbitrarily, that 10,000 members as the minimum requirement to form a political party. The Supreme Court abrogated this article in September 2013 stating 3,000, again an arbitrary number, members as the minimum. The new amendments by the PPM propose to bring the existing law to conform to the Courts’ ruling.
It further stipulates that a political party must have 10,000 registered members to be eligible for state funding. This amendment is seen to restrict and limit the freedom of association in the Constitution.
On 30 March, an amendment to the Elections Commission Act was submitted by former MDP MP Moosa Manik to include administering party presidential primary elections under the purview of the Elections Commission. Currently, presidential primaries are undertaken internally by parties themselves and if this amendment is passed, it would put a substantial financial and administrative burden on the elections commission.
Amendment to the Penal Code
The Government has also proposed amendments to the Penal Code. These include technical amendments to definite clauses, gaps in the code, and address potential problematic issues in implementation. On 30 March, this amendment was accepted with 40 votes in favor.
Another development is the amendment submitted by the Adaalath Party’s sole MP Anaaraa Naeem to incorporate the “retaliation in kind” aspect or Qisas law in Islamic Shari’a into the code. While the Penal Code does state the applicability of Shari’a punishments to Hudud offenses, it does not currently do so for Qisas offenses.
In response to Anaaraa’s proposed amendment, the senior consultant for the penal code awareness programme, Hussain Shameem, stated that including the provision of Qisas without accompanying detailed requirements and classifications for Qisas offenses would not make Qisas offenses more amenable to adjudicate. On 30 March, the Parliament voted unanimously to consider the amendment and have been forwarded to the National Security Committee for review.
HRCM summoning
On 16 March, members of the Maldives Human Rights Commission (HRCM) were separately summoned to the Parliament and questioned at length in a closed-door meeting. Members were questioned on the commission’s statement regarding concerns about the lack of due process in the trial and sentencing of former President Nasheed in March 2015.
Following the publication of the HRCM’s 2014 annual report, in which the Commission highlighted the challenges it faced as a result of the turbulent relationship with the judiciary, the ruling PPM’s parliamentary group leader commented in a local newspaper that the Parliament must play an important mediatory role and to ensure the independence of the Commission. This claim was contended by both the Jumhooree Party and MDP MPs who highlighted the extraordinary levels of judicial activism emanating from Maldivian courts, including the apex court, and alleged the Government’s disregard for upholding the independence of the HRCM. This development further expands on the issue of the state undermining the autonomy of independent institutions and the weakening of the separation of powers that we have highlighted in our earlier parliamentary updates.
Changes to committee allowance
On 17 March, the General Committee of Parliament proposed an amendment to Parliamentary Committee allowances to revoke allowances of members who approach the Speaker’s desk unsolicited. This was proposed to the Committee by the Speaker, PPM MP Abdulla Maseeh, in response to MDP MPs continuous protesting since the opening of Parliament. The opposition has described this as a punitive measure by the Government and vowed to continue their objections during sessions. The change has been passed by the general parliamentary committee and is pending submission for vote during session.
Parole amendment
In March 2015, the Parliament accepted an amendment by the Government to the 2013 Prisons and Parole Act which includes an overhaul of some administrative aspects in the 2013 law as well as new provisions on the limitations of fundamental rights and freedoms. The amendment was first sent to the Parliament in December 2014.
This amendment contains several problematic and contentious provisions, including the exclusion of prisoners from a political party or other association membership or holding leadership positions. It is problematic in that it severely impedes the right of freedom of association which is guaranteed under the constitution and is also perceived to differ from the ambit of rights restrictions that exist in law. In light of its proposition, opposition members alleged the motives behind the submission was to strip former President Nasheed of his party membership and role as party president.
On 30 March, the amendment was tabled for voting following review by the National Security Committee. It was passed with 42 votes in favor and two against. MDP members, who have been in continuous protest since the opening of Parliament, did not take part in the vote and protested its tabling.
Changes to bill allowances and benefits of former presidents
In March 2015, the Parliament also accepted a bill, proposed by the Maldives Development Alliance—coalition partner with the current Government, that would discontinue benefits for former presidents convicted in Maldivian courts. This amendment follows similar proposals—all withdrawn—to the Parliament in 2014 by the Government coalition.
The amendment was accepted for consideration with 38 MPs voting in favor while 11 voted against it. MDP MPs did not participate in the vote and continued their protest calling for former President Nasheed’s release. The amendment if passed will revoke Nasheed’s benefits as he was convicted of terrorism charges in March 2015 and is currently serving his sentence. This amendment, as well as the changes to the committee allowance and the parole amendment are largely perceived as retributive, politically-motivated manoeuvres by the ruling coalition to undermine the opposition as well as former President Nasheed.

Transparency Maldives (TM) notes with concern the recent allotment of flats to public officials holding high-ranking state positions.

The flats from the recently built luxury Rehendhi Residency have been contracted, below market rate, to public officials holding high-ranking positions  including chairs of selected independent oversight bodies and judges.

The State can provide privileges to state officials based on need and limited to the duration of employment of individuals, and as specified in the Constitution and law. However, it is concerning that these flats are to be permanently contracted by the Executive to public officials holding time-bound positions of the state. The offering of arbitrary privileges to public officials holding high-ranking positions and the acceptance of such privileges, will undermine public trust in these institutions.

TM also notes that upholding integrity in the performance of high-ranking public posts is an integral and core mandate of such positions and should not be incentivized through handouts of property or other forms of personal enrichment. Gratuities given to state officials by the Government can be perceived as a move by the Executive to assert undue influence over other branches of the state and independent state institutions.

TM calls on the Executive to refrain from arbitrarily providing any form of gratuities and privileges to state officials and in the process unduly influencing other branches of the state and independent state institutions.

ENDS

For media queries, please contact Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre Coordinator, Ahid Rasheed (974 1443)

View/download the statement in Dhivehi and English.


We are looking for an energetic, motivated, driven individual for the post of Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre Intern.

View/download the full Terms of Reference

Position title: Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre Intern
Minimum period of commitment: 1 month
Application deadline: 1700 hrs. April 16, 2015
Location: Male’, Maldives

1. Organizational background

Transparency Maldives is a non-partisan organization that endeavors to be a constructive force in society by promoting collaboration and discussion on corruption, transparency, and accountability. Our organization seeks to engage with stakeholders from all sectors (government, business, political and civil society, among others) to raise awareness of corruption’s detrimental effects on development and society, improve transparency and accountability in governance, and eliminate corruption from the daily lives of people.

Transparency Maldives received formal government registration in 2007, and is the National Contact of Transparency International (TI) in the Maldives.

2. Position summary

We encourage applications from motivated young people to serve as interns at the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) at Transparency Maldives. The purpose of the internship is to provide an opportunity for individuals to substantively contribute to and learn from our work. The intern will be given specific tasks and responsibilities and will be challenged to develop their capabilities and gain experience. The intern is expected to be flexible and to take part in various activities at the office and sometimes in the field.

3. Application procedure

Send mail to ahid.rasheed@transparencymaldives.org before the closing date, clearly stating why you are interested and suitable for the post and an updated curriculum vitae with your contact details.

Please contact Project Coordinator, Ahid Rasheed (phone: 3304017, email: ahid.rasheed@transparencymaldives.org) for any inquiries.


This position paper is submitted to the Maldivian Parliament by the Civil Society Organisations (CSO)-Parliament Dialogue Group, which was formed in December 2014 under the Parliament Accountability Project run by Transparency Maldives (TM) and funded by the British High Commission.

The aim of this position paper is to highlight the essential role civil society organisations (CSOs) play in the policy process, and bring to attention the importance of strengthening the interaction between civil society and the Parliament.

This paper contains two main sections. The first section gives a brief overview of the CSO-Parliament Dialogue Group, including its objectives and the challenges faced in its formulation.

The second section identifies problems in the parliamentary system that hinder the participation of CSOs in the policy process, and also lists key recommendations the Dialogue Group believes will help CSOs to fulfil their function as non-state actors representing public interests and concerns.

1. CSO-Parliament Dialogue GroupThe Dialogue Group, to date, consists of eight CSOs and three MPs:

  1. Transparency Maldives
  2. Islamic Foundation
  3. Hope For Women
  4. Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC)
  5. Maldives Association for Physical Disables (MAPD)
  6. Society for Health Education (SHE)
  7. Care Society
  8. Journey
  9. Ali Hussain (Kendhoo Constituency)
  10. Imthiyaz Fahmy (Maafannu Uthuru Constituency)
  11. Anaaraa Naeem (Makunudhoo Constituency)

The primary objective of the Dialogue Group is to provide CSOs and the Parliament with a platform to engage and collaborate together. Current reality in the Maldives is that civil society engagement with the Parliament is almost non-existent. This lack of engagement between CSOs and the Parliament is due to various reasons:

  • A lack of available platforms and mechanisms for both parties to engage in constructive discussion.
  • A lack of formalised space or established framework through which CSOs can effectively influence policy and provide subject-specific policy advice.
  • A lack of knowledge and capacity of CSOs to engage in the policy process.
  • A lack of political will to build a culture conducive to creating and nurturing a participatory civil society.
  • A lack of trust between civil society actors and MPs.

The Dialogue Group was formed to address these issues, and more importantly, to forge a collaborative partnership between civil society and the Parliament.

View/download the position paper in Dhivehi

Transparency Maldives (TM) notes with grave concern the sentencing of former President Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in prison on charges of terrorism, despite a number of irregularities in the legal process, under which the trial took place.

TM notes with concern that despite calls for fair legal process, President Nasheed was denied legal representation, denied right to appeal, his legal team denied adequate time to build a defence against the new charges of terrorism, President Nasheed’s defence witnesses were refused, and serious issues of conflict of interest were prevalent in the case. Conflict of interest issues we note include two of the three judges presiding over the trial having acted as witnesses for the prosecution and the Prosecutor General who levied the new terrorism charges against President Nasheed having acted as a prosecution witness for the previous charge against President Nasheed. These procedural irregularities raise serious questions about the fairness, transparency and independence of the judicial process followed and the provision of the accused’s inalienable right to a fair trial.

TM calls on state actors to accord President Nasheed with full legal rights in the appeal process including adequate time and access; and calls on the state to address increasing concerns regarding the fairness and independence of the justice system in the Maldives.

Furthermore, TM calls on all state actors to uphold democratic principles and international conventions the Maldives is party to; and calls on the public and law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint and calm in order to mitigate further deterioration of the security situation in the Maldives.

ENDS


Introduction
This report looks at the political developments surrounding the work of the Parliament in 2014, and highlights the contested nature of legislation during the period. The report addresses some noteworthy bills, key institutional appointments and dismissals, and issues surrounding urgent national issues submitted to Parliament.

Key legislation
The lack of bipartisan support on crucial governmental legislation was a recurring theme in parliamentary proceedings in 2014. In some cases support for government-sponsored legislation was tied to the political dynamics prevailing at the time. For example, at the start of the year, the government’s budget was passed with broad support from then-coalition partners the PPM and JP, while MDP’s amendments to the budget were dismissed. In others, as in the case of appointments to key institutions, the failure of political parties to whip votes along party lines led to inconsistent stances on various issues across all major parties.

This in turn adds to the precariousness of democratic consolidation where opposition members allege the Executive branch’s encroachment on the principle of separation of powers and eroding constitutional maxims. On the other hand, the government, including the current Attorney General, in an interview to DhiTV news on 25 February 2015, has categorically denied any undermining of the Constitution.

1. Special Economic Zone Act
The enactment of the Special Economic Zones Act (SEZ) in August 2014 highlighted one of the flagship economic drivers indicated in the new government’s budget. Our January parliamentary update summarizes the developments surrounding the passage of the bill in Parliament. The JP switching from its initial ambivalence to fully supporting the bill’s passage prompted opposition media to suggest that the government’s impeding of Gasim’s business interests lead to the change. Since its passing, the government has stated that it is reforming existing bureaucratic hurdles to incorporate the provisions in the SEZ Act; and government representatives have given media interviews, albeit without specificity, on potential mega-investments following-from the Act. Other than a few news articles such as the one by former MDP administration Minister Inaz in Haveeru newspaper, a point of note is the lack of public commentary on the socio-economic impacts of the Act by accredited independent sources such as civil society.

While the government has forecasted it would receive about 100 million US dollars as acquisition fees for the SEZs by August this year, the opposition has criticised the lack of significant foreign investments. Since then, the “Investment Board”(1) for the SEZs has been formulated by the President and in September 2014, the government assigned South Kulhudhuffushi MP Mohamed Nasheed, whose law firm(2) drafted the SEZ bill to outline additional regulations required by the Act.

The government may very well undertake to smoothly pass complementary regulation with its majority in Parliament, however, what is abundantly clear is that political consensus and cross-party support will be crucial to ensure an unhindered implementation programme. Attracting foreign investments under the Act is further complicated as it is closely tied to existing domestic political dynamics and fallout from political incidents(3) such as rights violations and suppression of dissent.

2. Penal code
The amended penal code will come into effect on 13 April 2015, and the Attorney General’s Office is carrying out training programmes and establishing resource office for stakeholders to improve competence in dealing with the new provisions in the code.

Whilst the government is seen to be speeding-up preparations for the advent of the new code, the opposition MDP has accused the government of “rushing the proceedings in order to convict former President Nasheed before the new penal code comes into effect in April” and has called on the Prosecutor General (PG) to cease his case against Nasheed. The PG has since withdrawn these charges, and has attempted to re-prosecute Nasheed, and others in his administration, under the 1990 Prevention of Terrorism Act. Nasheed was arrested by the Police on 22 February 2015 and his case is ongoing at the time of writing.

3. Amendment to eligible age for seeking presidential elections
The constitutional amendment submitted by the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA)—ruling party coalition partner—on 24 December 2014, which proposed to amend the eligible age for contesting in presidential elections to below 65 years faced widespread criticism from the opposition. The opposition, which included the JP after the dissolution of the coalition agreement with the ruling PPM, contended that the amendment was intended to bar JP leader Qasim Ibrahim from contesting. The legality of the amendment was questioned by prominent legal experts, including former Attorney General Husnu Al Suood, as being unconstitutional. Our October-December 2014 parliamentary update highlights issues surrounding this amendment.

The amendment was withdrawn on 3 March 2015 amidst media reports of a meeting between Gasim Ibrahim, prominent businessman Mohamed Moosa, and Tourism Minister Adeeb to discuss the current political situation and negotiate the withdrawal of this amendment.

Appointments and removal of members of key institutions

1.Removal of Elections Commission (EC) members
In February 2014, the Supreme Court (SC) initiated a contempt of court charge under its new “Suo Motu” regulation against EC members stating they violated the Court’s rulings on dissolving political parties(4). While there are problems associated with the “Suo Motu” regulation itself, the procedures undertaken in this instance against the Commission members heralded irregularities in the filing of charges and hearings. In March 2014, the Court ruled to remove the Elections Commission President Fuwad Thowfeek and Vice President Ahmed Fayaz Hassan and decreed Thowfeek serve a suspended prison sentence of six months.

Opposition parties and international civil society organizations have questioned the legitimacy of these expulsions as it was contrary to provisions on dismissal of EC members under the Constitution. This ruling also emphasizes the larger implications of the SC’s interpretations of contempt of court includes violating basic rights, principles of separation of powers and infringes on the autonomy of independent commissions. Building on the experience of the 2013 Presidential election where the independence of the EC was a dominant issue, there exists the possibility of negative impacts on future electoral environments.

2. Removal of Auditor-General
The government has continued in this trend of undermining the autonomy of independent, oversight institutions and in October 2014, the PPM proposed an amendment to the Audit Act, and removed the Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim on a technical triviality, before the expiration of the constitutionally mandated term of his office. The amendment is problematic in that it bypasses existing provisions in the Constitution that clearly prescribe the sole grounds for removal of the Auditor General – misconduct, incapacity or incompetence. It must also be noted that the passing of the amendment and the consequent removal of the Auditor General coincided with the release of an incriminating audit report implicating the current Tourism Minister. The opposition MDP protested the amendment as unconstitutional, nevertheless, it passed with 36 votes in favour and 22 against.

Ibrahim’s appointment as Auditor General was approved by Parliament in 2011 as President Nasheed’s nominee. During his tenure, Ibrahim presided over a spate of audit assessments into allegations of corruption under President Nasheed’s presidency, that were widely welcomed by the PPM at the time, as well as appraisals on corruption in the term of the current administration.

3. Removal of SC judges
In December 2014, a controversial amendment was submitted by an MDP MP to the Judicature Act to reduce the number of SC judges from seven to five. Following the amendment to the Act on 10 December 2014, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended the removal of Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain and Justice Muthasim Adnan citing “gross misconduct” as basis. This decision by the JSC to remove these judges without publicising the criteria against which they were evaluated raised questions about the transparency and fairness of the process.

On 15 December 2014, the Parliament approved the JSC’s recommendation by a two-thirds majority with 53 votes in favour and 21 against. Six of the JP members voted in favour as well as MDP MP Reeko Moosa Manik. Some MDP members did not attend the parliament session and allegations that opposition MDP MPs were offered bribes to stay out of the session ensured. The MDP has even followed-up with disciplinary proceedings against some MPs, including the expulsion of Manik.

This contentious removal of SC judges severely undermines the independence and integrity of the judiciary and exacerbates the allegations of political interference with the judicial system. The removal of both judges were heavily criticized by the opposition MDP, independent lawyers, the international community – including the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, and civil society groups. These actors highlighted the fact that upholding judicial integrity requires a concerted effort to reform the broader aspects of the judicial sector, especially the oversight mechanisms in place such as the JSC.

‘Kulli massalathah’ or national issues

1. Malé water crisis
A few “kulli massala” or urgent national issue cases were submitted to the Parliament in 2014. One of the most critical was following the Malé city water crisis, submitted by PPM. It called on the state to fully investigate of the causes of the crisis, and to undertake expedient efforts to solve the water shortage.

The crisis started with a fire at Malé’s only water purification plant, cutting off supply to every household. The government immediately formed a taskforce, headed by then Defence Minister Nazim. Drinking water supplies were quickly airlifted into Maldives by India and other friendly states including China and the US, somewhat alleviating the immediate crisis. Political rhetoric was brought into furore when the government’s response in the aftermath of the crisis was to ask for public donations of US$ 20 million to help fully normalize the situation.

The opposition MDP and civil society groups countered stating the lack of detailed information on the part of government authorities on the investigation into the issue, the arbitrary nature of the aid amount as well as need for soliciting aid from the public citing the government-owned Malé Water and Sewerage Company’s apparent lack of contingency plans. In the midst of the crisis, the MDP also passed a resolution to handover the presidency to JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, in an act largely viewed as an attempt to destabilise the government. Civil society groups responded to the resolution alluding that it inferred overruling constitutional electoral processes and called on all political parties to operate within the boundaries set in the Constitution.

2. Disappearance of journalist Rilwan
In August 2014, Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a journalist working for local newspaper Minivan News, disappeared and was allegedly abducted, and has been missing since. While the Maldives Police Service maintain they are investigating the disappearance, they have not been forthcoming with information or updates to either the public or Abdulla’s family. His family have since taken up a public campaign calling for state authorities to expedite the search and investigation efforts. The opposition and some civil society organizations have alleged state involvement invoking Abdulla’s prominence as a strong critic of the government on social media.

The Human Rights Commission has stated that state authorities are dragging their feet to address this matter and local and international actors have echoed similar concerns. A local NGO has, with the help of a UK-based investigator, undertaken an investigation into Abdulla’s disappearance, alleging involvement of gangs and have shared these findings with the police. The Home Minister has since acknowledged gang connections to the incident, but denied any state involvement in Abdulla’s disappearance and responded that the opposition were hindering investigations with such speculation.

The initial “kulli massala” issue submitted by MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy on Abdulla’s disappearance was accepted with bipartisan support on 19 August, eleven days after his alleged abduction. Since then, a 5,055 signature petition calling on parliamentary committees to investigate the disappearance and address police laxity in conducting the investigation was rejected by the Parliament. The Parliament’s Secretary-General stated the petition was rejected on an administrative technicality, which was contended by Fahmy, who argued he fulfilled all submission procedures.

Footnotes
1. Chaired by current Tourism Minister Adeeb. Board members are not reimbursed for their service, and thus, as claimed by the government, the appointments are not in contravention to restrictions placed on cabinet ministers in the Maldives Constitution, or the SEZ Act itself. The Constitution restricts members of the Cabinet from holding any other public office or office of profit, actively engage in a business or in the practice of any profession, or any other income generating employment, be employed by any person, buy or lease any property belonging to the State, or have a financial interest in any transaction between the State and another party. The government stated that the Board would not gain any financial profit, and would only act in the capacity of a governing body.
2. The current Attorney General is MP Nasheed’s partner at his law firm, “Nasheed Anil & Co.”
3.  Including the ongoing trial of former President Nasheed.

4. The procedure regarding the filing of charges and subsequent hearings were irregular:

– The Elections Commission did not receive a formal charge sheet until the defense team attended the SC for the second hearing on 18 February.
– The case was presided over by 5 out the 7 SC Justices. The Suo Motu Regulations specify that cases under it should be presided over by the full bench unless decided otherwise by the SC.
– The SC had not provided to the defense team the specific statements that allegedly involved contempt. The SC also had not clarified the exact manner EC violated SC’s ruling and order on political parties. In addition, the SC brought up charges on alleged violation of orders and ruling during the Presidential Elections.

 


Maldivian women are considered amongst the most emancipated in South Asia. The Maldives also ranks the second-highest on the United Nations Gender-related Development Index (GDI) in the South Asia region. Despite the apparent progress made in the advancement of women, gender discrimination exists in the realm of public service and politics, and platforms for women to participate in the decision-making processes at both the national level and community level are limited. The very few platforms that do exist to promote women’s participation, such as Women’s Development Committees (WDC), are constrained by a general lack of understanding of the institutional support that is required for such Committees to operate to their full potential.

Transparency Maldives (TM) implemented program, under its Civic Participation Project (CPP), to increase women’s participation at the local level focusing on Women’s Development Committees (WDCs). Despite the fact that WDCs have existed as a platform for women going back as far as 1982, there is still limited understanding of how and why WDCs operate. Existing literature on WDCs provide limited information on the aspirations and motivations of WDC members, the barriers they face, public perception of WDCs, and their relationship with Island Councils. This study was conceived on the notion that interventions designed to strengthen WDCs should be based on the experience and realities of WDCs that operate in the field. Based on this premise, TM set out to undertake an assessment of WDCs in order to gain insight into them, identify challenges and capacity issues and propose recommendations for capacity building of WDCs. This assessment report is divided into five sections: Section two explains the methodology used while section three provides an overview of the historical development of WDCs as well the participation of women in decision-making in Maldivian society. Section four provides details of the findings of the survey and focus group discussions. Based on the findings of the assessment, the final section provides recommendations for various stakeholder groups.

Download
Assessment of Women’s Development Committees in the Maldives


We are pleased to announce that the Transparency Maldives publication ‘Assessment of Women’s Development Committees in the Maldives’ is being launched today to mark the International Women’s Day.

Women’s Development Committees (WDC) are a traditional women’s institution in the Maldives, and are an important platform for women to enter into politics and participate in the decision making process of island development. Despite the fact that WDCs are unable to operate as mandated in the Decentralisation Act, it is paramount that WDCs continue to exist and adequate support mechanisms are developed to steer WDCs to fulfil their mandate.

TM’s Assessment of Women’s Development Committees in the Maldives indicates that financial and resource constraints, poor working relationships with the Island Councils and negative public perception towards women in public life are the main challenges faced by Women’s Development Committees (WDCs) across the Maldives.

The following is a list of recommendations based on our research findings:

  1. Councils must consult WDCs as stipulated in the Decentralisation Act
  2. Clarify the role of regulatory bodies and support structures in relation to WDCs
  3. Build the capacity of WDCs to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills
  4. Island Councils should develop resource sharing mechanisms to support WDCs
  5. Provide financial support for WDCs and secure additional sources of funding
  6. Men should be able to contest in and vote for WDC elections

The recommendations identified in the Assessment intend to provide a basis for the development of strategic actions that promote the role, participation and representation of women in public life. It is hoped that the findings from this assessment provide further impetus for the relevant authorities to establish better coordination amongst stakeholders to meet the needs of WDCs and to implement effective capacity building initiatives.

ENDS

View/download the Assessment of Women’s Development Committees in the Maldives


Transparency Maldives invites applications for the following service contracts
1. Design and layout of a survey report
2. Develop and design advocacy materials

View/download the full Terms of Reference

Interested individuals and parties may apply for more than one service contract.

I. Design and layout of Survey Report

Transparency Maldives is currently conducting a mixed methods research survey to discern public attitudes and

perceptions towards floor crossing in the Maldives.

Transparency Maldives seeks an individual/company based in the Maldives to do design and layout of both the

English and Dhivehi versions of the Survey Report.

a) Terms and responsibilities

● The contractor shall provide print-ready design of A4 document, full colour, utilising both sides of the

paper, in InDesign, vector, and PDF formats.

b) Timeframe

● Completion of the Dhivehi report within 6 days of signing the contract.

● Completion of the English report within 4 days of submitting the completed Dhivehi report.

c) Required qualifications

● Excellent knowledge of layout and design in both Dhivehi and English.
● Proven experience in book layout and design in both Dhivehi and English.

II. Develop and design advocacy materials

Transparency Maldives recently published a position paper titled F ailure to Disclose Assets: A Pathway to

Corruption , and now seeks an individual/company based in the Maldives to develop and design advocacy

materials to TM’s #haamakurey campaign.

a) Terms and responsibilities

● The contractor shall become familiarised with TM’s position paper on asset disclosure.
● The contractor shall develop and design 2 posters (A2) and 1 sticker (9x9cm).

b) Time frame

● Completion of the work within 10 days of signing the contract.

c) Required qualifications

● Minimum 3 years work experience in the field of campaign, preferably advocacy campaign with

experience in social issues related awareness.
● Strong knowledge in traditional and new media communications and technologies.

Submission

Interested individuals and parties may apply for more than one service contract.

Closing date:
Before 8pm 6 March 2015.

Application:
Submit a letter of interest with CV, quotation, and samples of previous work via email to

fazla.abdulsamad@transparencymaldives.org addressed to Fazla Abdul-Samad (Project Coordinator, Parliament

Accountability Project).

Queries:
Please email Fazla Abdul-Samad if further information is required.


PRESS STATEMENT

Male’ — February 25, 2015 — Transparency Maldives (TM) notes with concern the escalating political tensions in the Maldives, especially following the recent arrests of former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim. TM appeals to all actors to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution at all times, and engage in dialogue to resolve political disputes.

TM calls on the state and government institutions to ensure that the ongoing cases against former President Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim are carried out under fair and transparent legal proceedings, free from politicisation and in accordance with the principles of justice. We particularly note with concern that President Nasheed was denied right to legal representation during the court hearing on 23 February 2015.
Furthermore, TM calls on all state actors to follow due process entitled to all Maldivian citizens and to uphold democratic principles at all times in resolving political disputes. TM fears that if the rising political tensions are not resolved peacefully and within the constitutional remit, the political situation of the country may deteriorate further.

ENDS

For media queries, please contact Legal Assistant, Ibrahim Riza on +960 967 6060 or ibrahim.riza@transparencymaldives.org.

View/download the press statement in English and Dhivehi


Introduction
This review looks into the work of the 18th Parliament. A total of ten bills and several amendments were passed in 2014. A number of appointments to key institutions and controversial removals were debated on the Parliament floor.
Important bills and amendments passed
1. Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act
The legislation on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) was submitted to the Parliament in October 2013 and passed on 1 April 2014. The legislation, which complies with the United Nations Convention against Corruption standards, plays an important role in exposing and preventing criminal and illicit activities such as terrorism financing, kleptocracy, narco-trafficking, human trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, counterfeiting currency, corruption, and transnational organised crimes.
Money laundering has potentially destructive social and economic consequences. It allows criminals such as drug traffickers, corrupt officials, and transnational organised crime syndicates to introduce illicit proceeds or “dirty money” into legitimate finance streams as legal funds. This not only erodes the integrity of the international financial system, but it also impacts economic development at the domestic level. Therefore, one of the major benefits of the AML/CTF Act is that it helps fight crime and corruption. Those who commit criminal acts and those who assist in laundering are criminalised and prosecuted under the Act. Punitive measures include confiscation and forfeiture of money laundering proceeds.
According to a report in 2011 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), prior to the AML/CTF Act, only the proceeds of drug crimes were criminalised in the Maldives under money laundering. The IMF report also highlighted that local radicalised groups are involved in financing terrorism abroad rather than in the Maldives. Similarly, according to the US State Department’s 2013 country report on terrorism, local radicalised groups use informal money transfer networks instead of more formal systems, which makes exposing a conspiracy to commit terror acts more difficult in countries with non-existent or weak national anti-money laundering systems. Therefore, AML/CTF Act provides Maldives with a strong framework to extend beyond criminalising only the proceeds of drug trafficking to expose and prevent a wide range of criminal activities, including the financing of terrorism.

2. Penal Code
The new penal code is the result of efforts that began around 2004 to reform and modernise the criminal justice system in the Maldives. Political opposition groups, governmental bodies, and civil society actors argued that the old penal code was outdated and ill-equipped to dispense appropriate punishments to offences.
Consequently, in 2004, owing to the demand for legal reforms, the Maldivian government with support from the United Nations Development Programme sought the consultancy of Professor Paul H. Robinson of University of Pennsylvania and his PhD students in drafting a new penal code. The final draft of the legislation was submitted to the Parliament in 2006, where it spent seven years under deliberations.
In the meantime, the ceaseless support for a new penal code continued. For example, in 2009, the Attorney General at the time, Husnu Suood, argued that the prosecutorial guidelines for offences were not appropriate and actually obstructed justice. Similarly, the parliamentary member at the time for Kulhudhufushi constituency, Mohamed Nasheed, pointed out that Maldivians faced “bitter experiences” under the criminal system because an outdated penal code was its essential pillar. These sentiments and the urgent need for legal reforms were also captured in a 2011 report by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, which stated that criminalising offences such as rape has been difficult precisely because the old penal code did not classify rape as a specific offence. The report also noted that the outdated legislation was inadequate to deal with grave crimes such as murder—including murder stemming from gang violence—and infanticide, thereby further crippling the criminal justice system.
In April 2004, the new penal code was finally passed, making it the first modern, comprehensive penal code in the world to incorporate the major tenets and principles of Islamic law. After having been given a year to design an effective implementation plan, the penal code is scheduled to be enforced after April 2015.
3. Special Economic Zone Act
The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act was passed in August 2014. The Act states guidelines and procedural aspects of investing, establishing and managing special zones at various areas of the country. It lays an edifice for economic, industrial, social, financial and infrastructural development. It allows economic activities to be carried out under a relatively liberal manner through tax exemptions to investors and developers. Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones, Zones reserved for offshore-financial services and high-tech parks can be established within the ambit of the Act.
The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), the major proponent of the SEZ bill, claimed that the Act will offer a more liberal investment climate and thereby bring mega-projects into the country.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), on the other hand, proposed over 180 amendments to the bill and argued that it encourages money laundering activities and undermines the decentralisation system. However, none of the amendments proposed by MDP was passed. Both MDP and Jumhooree Party (JP) also argued that the law will result in “openly selling off the country” without parliamentary oversight.
4. Amendments to the the Judicature Act
In December the Judicature Act was amended, which included decreasing the number of judges of the Supreme Court bench from seven to five. This—as highlighted in the December edition of the Parliament Update—raised concerns about the political influence on the judiciary in the Maldives. 
Key appointments

The year 2014 saw key appointments to various state institutions.
The new Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin was appointed in July 2014. The position was vacant since the former Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizzu resigned in November 2013. Although the Prosecutor General’s Act states that the position must be filled within 30 days of vacancy, more than seven months passed before Muhsin was appointed.
Two new members Amjad Musthafa and Ahmed Sulaiman were elected to the Elections Commission in November 2014. The position became vacant upon the removal of the former President of the Commission, Fuad Thaufeeq, and a Commission member, Ahmed Fayaz, by a suo moto case by the Supreme Court.
The current Auditor General Hassan Ziyath was appointed on 24 November 2014. The removal of the former Auditor General—as highlighted in the October edition of the Parliament Update—raised concerns among opposition MPs.
Moreover, the former Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain and Justice Muthasim Adnan were removed subsequent to amendments to the Judicature Act. On 14 December 2014 Abdulla Saeed was appointed as the new Chief Justice.
Attendance of MPs during the year
A total of 59 sittings were conducted by the 18th Parliament in 2014. It is worth noting that out of 85 MPs, only 16 MPs attended all sittings held during the year. The only MP who attended less than 50 percent of the sittings was Ahmed Siyam Mohamed of Meedhoo Constituency.
The following pie-chart depicts the attendance of MPs in 2014.
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The chart below shows a party-level breakdown of the attendance.

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