Advocacy & Legal Advice Center (ALAC) is a separate center established within Transparency Maldives (TM) to provide free legal advice to victims and witnesses of corruption. The citizens can pursue corruption related complaints by:

Calling ALAC’s toll-free number: (800) 3003 567

 

Visiting ALAC office: MF Building, 7th Floor, Chaandhanee Magu, Male’

 

Via email: alac@transparencymaldives.org

 

ALAC, in addition to free legal consultation also conducts outreach programs to create public awareness about the detrimental effects of corruption.

 

ALAC would work with the government, independent institutions, NGO’s, private law firms and other relevant organizations and, would undertake advocacy to bring about broader systematic changes needed to tackle and curb corruption.

 

ALAC was officially launched on June 10, 2012, and it is the first legal advice center established in the Maldives to provide free legal services.

 

Prior to its launching, ALAC has worked in building relationship and establishing working partnership with several key stakeholders. This initial pre-launch work resulted in successful signing of ALAC’s first MoU with Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Maldives. In addition to that, initial meetings have been held between ALAC and 18 other key institutions including government ministries, independent state institutions and judiciary. MoU drafts have been sent to 11 of these institutions and discussions are on-going on finalizing and signing the MoUs.

 

The successful official launching ceremony, with media coverage and invitees from public and private sector opened the opportunity to introduce ALAC to the general public and encourage citizens to actively participate in anti-corruption work.

 

Speaking at the ALAC’s launching event, the chief guest, President of ACC Mr. Hassan Lutfy said “the center would make the Commission’s work a lot more efficient”. Mr. Lutfy also expressed his satisfaction with TM’s effort in abolishing corruption, the assistance TM provided to ACC, and called the stakeholders to lend their support to ALAC.

 

ALAC Launching

 

IMG_0350

 

IMG_0353

 

From day one of ALAC’s successful official launching, ALAC’s toll-free line has received several calls and many have visited ALAC office to sought advice.


Asia Pacific Regional Program meeting Asia Pacific Regional Program meeting[/caption]

 

Transparency Maldives participated in the Transparency International Asia Pacific regional annual planning meeting held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from the 12th to the 14th of June 2013. This year’s meeting was hosted by Transparency International Cambodia. 24 Transparency International chapters in the Asia Pacific region attended the meeting. The meeting focused on programmatic work, advocacy and communications, emphasizing on regional cooperation.

 

During the meeting all the 24 Transparency International chapters expressed serious concern regarding persistent corruption in the region and called on governments in the region to strengthen their commitment to transparency and accountability, and to step up their anti-corruption measures.

 

The regional planning meeting was followed by a meeting of the South Asia chapters to discuss the progress of National Integrity Contextual Assessment (NICSA) and to plan the next phase of the research and to plan out regional interventions for the release of the regional NICSA.

 

Transparency Maldives was represented by Ms. Ilham Mohamed, Executive Director, and Mr. Mohamed Thoriq Hamid, Program Manager.


Elections Commission publishes the voter registry of eligible voters for the presidential election 2013. Deadline for voter verification is 9 June 2013, 04:00pm. To ensure that you are able to vote, check your information online at www.elections.gov.mv

 

If there are any problems in the information, fill in this form and send to Elections Commission with a copy of your National ID card or Passport or Driver’s license.

 

If your information is correct and you wish to vote in a place different from the address on the voter registry, you will get a chance to re-register when Elections Commission open for re-registration.

 

How to check your information:

1 – Send a message to 1414 with the key word VIS (space) Your National ID Card Number

2 – You could also visit the Elections Commission website and enter your National ID Card Number to view your details

3 – Call 1414

4 – Voter registry published on gazette and on Elections Commission website

 

Where can you send your complaints?

1 – Elections Commission

2 – Presidential Elections 2013 registration center

3 – Island Councils

4 – Email to vreg@elections.gov.mv

5 – Fax to 300 7905

6 – Help Desks located at different areas of Male’


BHithaadhoo Voter Education

 

TM team with the participants of the voter education program, B.Hithaadhoo

 

Transparency Maldives has commenced a voter education programme focusing on elections and democracy, importance of informed choice and the negative impacts of vote buying.

 

TM travelled to B. Hithaadhoo (2-4 May 2013) and has planned to conduct voter education in Thinadhoo, Gadhdhoo, Gemanafushi and Viliginli from Thursday (9 May 2013) onwards.

 

The current phase of the programme is targeted at island communities. However, TM will expand the programme in the run-up to the elections, utilizing broadcast media and social media to reach out to a wider audience.

 

In the meantime, TM is also collaborating with Maldives Broadcasting Corporation in their voter education campaign, Votah Tayyaaru program broadcast live on TVM, Dhivehi FM and Dhivehiraajjeyge Adu on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday respectively of every week.

 

TM’s Pre-Election Assessment found that there is an immense need to conduct voter education to address the sociopolitical and trust issues and minimize the negative influence of money in politics i.e. vote buying in elections.


NGO Forum

 

Transparency Maldives has called for stronger anti-corruption safeguards in climate finance in the outcome document which was presented to Minister of Environment Dr Shakeela at an NGOs forum held on Sunday.

 

The outcome document included thirteen key recommendations to the government, including ensuring access rights such as participation of citizen bodies in government’s decision making on issues of sustainable development and environment.

 

Transparency Maldives Chairperson, Mohamed Rasheed Bari, made a presentation to the forum participants on the topic of strengthening NGOs role in environmental governance. Azim Zahir, TM’s senior project coordinator, led the discussions on NGO recommendations to the government.

 

Mr Bari also called on the government to strengthen governance mechanisms by including stronger standards of transparency, accountability and integrity.

 

The NGOs forum, organized jointly by NGO Federation and the Ministry of Environment and Energy, focused on NGOs role in environmental governance and management.

 

Dr Shakeela promised the government would seriously consider all the recommendations.


Transparency Maldives met with the members of the Elections Commission on the 3rd of April to discuss on implementing the key recommendations in its recently published Pre-Election Assessment. The EC welcomed TM’s report and assured the commission’s consideration of the findings of the report. Recommendations in the report regarding the legal electoral framework, voter education, and elections dispute resolution were discussed at the meeting.

 

Transparency Maldives met the EC on April 18, to discuss recommendations proposed by Transparency Maldives to the Presidential Elections Regulation 2013.

 

General recommendations proposed by Transparency Maldives regarding the complaints system, early convening of the national advisory board, voter issues, campaign financing, and media issues were discussed.

 

In addition to it’s meetings with Elections Commission Transparency Maldives has met with and continues to meet with stakeholders including the public broadcaster Television Maldives, Anti Corruption Commission of Maldives to advocate for changes to the electoral framework and push for recommendations identified in the Pre-Election Assessment 2013.


TM releases its pre-election assessment

 

TM releases its pre-election assessment.[/caption]

 

A pre-election assessment conducted by Transparency Maldives has concluded that trust and confidence in the political system, relevant institutions and institutional processes, needed to be increased and maintained for holding successful presidential elections later this year.

 

The assessment, which was based on interviews with key stakeholders and focus group discussions, highlighted the need for increasing and maintaining confidence in the electoral administration and processes, and recommends the Elections Commission to proactively and regularly engage with relevant actors.

 

“Several interlocutors we met highlighted that there was a need for the Elections Commission to be more proactive. There is a concern that everyone was not on board as the EC prepares for the elections”, TM’s Advocacy Manager Aiman Rasheed commented.

 

Similarly, the assessment recommended that institutions such as the judiciary that handles any case affecting the electoral rights of voters and candidates must ensure public confidence and must be unquestionable.

 

The assessment also found that a crisis of confidence and trust in politicians sincerity to deliver on their promises was one of the main reasons for the practice of vote buying.

 

As a key recommendation, the assessment calls on the EC, the media and the civil society, to organise urgent voter education and constructive public debate around issues.

 

In the assessment, the elections complaints and dispute resolution system was described as broken and lacking stakeholder trust.

 

“Almost all of the interlocutors we met described the electoral complaints system as an utter failure,” said Mr Rasheed.

 

Part of the solution we propose is establishing an interagency task force between relevant institutions such as the Police, the Prosecutor General, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and the EC.

 

We have also recommended for urgent reforms to the electoral legal framework to establish an independent complaints tribunal, and better regulate the most problematic areas such as political finance and interagency jurisdictional issues.

 

Without such reforms, what the assessment calls the culture of misuse of state resources could not be addressed too, Mr Rasheed added.

 

The pre-election assessment is part of TM’s comprehensive Elections Program to conduct nation-wide observation of the upcoming elections.

 

The assessment was released at a press conference on Thursday.

 

To download the assessment tm_pre_election_assessment

 

To download Dhivehi press release elections_pressrelease

 

Media contact:

 

Aiman Rasheed, Advocacy and Communications Manager

Mobile: +960 7908967

Email: aiman.rasheed@transparencymaldives.org


stakeholder

 

Transparency Maldives met with key stakeholders on Sunday to share the findings and recommendations of its Pre-Election Assessment for the upcoming presidential elections, which is to be released soon.

 

The forum was attended by, among others, Members of Parliament from political parties, the government, the Elections Commission, the Auditor General’s Office, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Maldives Police Service, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission.

 

A lively discussion followed the presentation by Transparency Maldives, in which participants welcomed the findings and the recommendations.

 

Transparency Maldives Spokesperson Aiman Rasheed commented: “Transparency Maldives hopes with this stakeholder meeting and the release of the report to the public soon, constructive debate will take place around issues for the upcoming elections, paving way for addressing those issues.”

 

The Pre-Election Assessment covers areas such as the electoral and political environment, electoral administration and processes and the electoral legal framework.


Wohab an Exchange Fellow from Transparency International Bangladesh working with TMs legal advice center answers questions from migrant workers

Wohab, an Exchange Fellow from Transparency International Bangladesh working with TM’s legal advice center answers questions from migrant workers

Transparency Maldives provided free legal information to 350+ expatriates as part of the ALAC project set up to help victims and witnesses of corruption, at an event held to celebrate the International Migrant Day. The event was held on 28 December 2012 at Sultan Park.

Migrant workers are among the most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Issues raised and advice sought by themigrant workers include:

  • Delayed and or non-payment of wages;
  • Withholding of passports; and
  • Poor living conditions.

The ALAC provides Bangla translation services to persons who have difficulty in communicating in English and Divehi, with the assistance of an Exchange Fellow from Transparency International Bangladesh.

Since the project inception, the ALAC made contact with and provided free training to over 3,000+ people. ALAC lawyers can be reached for free legal advice at the toll free number (800) 3003 567. The free legal advice center is open from 9am to 5pm every week except on public holidays.


Staff of the Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (ALAC) conducted Mobile Camps in all in-habited islands of Vaavu Atoll and Addu Atoll for the purpose of providing free legal advice to victims and witnesses of corruption during October and December 2012 respectively.

 

ALAC, the only free legal advice center in Maldives, is established at Transparency Maldives. ALAC lawyers can be reached at the toll free number (800) 3003 567.

 

During the trips to the atolls, ALAC staff actively sought out persons who may be in need of legal advice. An Exchange Fellow from Transparency International Bangladesh accompanied the ALAC staff to provide legal advice and information to Bangladeshi workers in the atolls.

 

ALAC’s are set up by chapters of Transparency International in over 40 countries.


Transparency Maldives and RTI experts meeting with Majlis Social Affairs Committee

 

Transparency Maldives and RTI experts meeting with Majlis Social Affairs Committee.

 

International experts who participated in the RTI Symposium along with staff of Transparency Maldives met with the Social Affairs Committee on 24th October 2012 reinforcing the positions of Transparency Maldives to advocate for the timely passage of a strong RTI Bill and propose amendments to further strengthen the bill. The Committee welcomed Transparency Maldives engagement with the People’s Majlis, especially with the Social Affairs Committee on providing technical support in the development of the bill. The Committee agreed with TM’s recommendations and promised to give full consideration to those recommendations at the committee stage. The group of experts also provided written comments to the RTI Bill based on the discussions with the Committee.

 

In addition to meeting with the Social Affairs Committee Mr. Venkatesh Nayak and Mr Michael Karanicolas also made media appearances to promote RTI in the Maldives. Mr. Nayak appeared on Raajje TV after the English News on 24th October 2012.

 

Mr. Karanicolas appeared on Dhi TV on the same night, along with Transparency Maldives Advocacy and Communication’s Manager, Mr. Aiman Rasheed. Both programs were aired during primetime.

 

Minutes of Social Affairs Committee meeting with Transparency Maldives


speaker_shahid

 

Transparency Maldives organized a symposium on Right to Information with international speakers and panelists as part of a project funded by UNDEF in partnership with UNDP Maldives on 23 October 2012. The specific objectives of the symposium were to: promote RTI as a tool to advance democracy; facilitate sharing of experiences and international best practices; and create demand and culture a deeper appreciation for RTI.

 

The Symposium was attended by President’s Office, state ministers, senior government officials, members of Human Rights Commission, Anti Corruption Commission and Elections Commission, Maldives Police Service, Police Integrity Commission, Prosecutor Generals Office, UNDP, Maldives Post Limited, Maldives Customs Service, Local Government Authority and representatives from the civil society and media.

 

The closing ceremony was attended by Hon Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, who made a commitment to contribute to expediting the process of passage of the RTI Bill currently at the Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament.

 

Team of Experts

 

intenational_speakersInternational experts from leading organizations on RTI, including the Open Society Justice Initiative (US), Open Democracy Advice Center (South Africa), Center for Law and Democracy (Canada), Central Information Commission of India (former) and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (India).

 

1. Ms. Sandra Colliver, Senior Legal Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative.

2. Mr. Mukelani Dimba, Deputy Executive Director, Open Democracy Advice Centre, South Africa.

3. Mr. Michael Karanicolas, Legal Officer Centre of Law and Democracy.

4. Mr. Sailesh Gandi, former Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission, India

5. Mr. Venkatesh Nayak, Program Coordinator, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, India

6. Uz. Mohamed Anil, Chairperson, Democracy House, Maldives

 

Sessions conducted at the symposium

 

The following sessions were conducted at the symposium.

  1. Right to Information and Democracy – history of RTI, importance of RTI in democratic governance and history of RTI in Maldives.
  2. Administering an RTI regime – practical aspect of administering an RTI regime, appeal processes, redress mechanisms, archiving and challenges faced.
  3. Local governance and RTI – importance of building relationship between democratic participatory governance and the role of RTI in local governance and how it can empower rural and vulnerable communities.
  4. Proactive Disclosure was the last session and we looked at its features in a good RTI regime and speakers discussed about creating a culture of proactively disclosing information across the state.
  5. In the closing session the speakers shared Success Stories from across the world.

Transparency Maldives is preparing a report on the symposium, which would include papers from the international speakers on different aspects of RTI, the discussions in the symposium and a list of resources that the participants can access to further their knowledge on RTI. The report will be shared with all the participants and will also be made available to the larger public.