The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, has said that the Maldives urgently needs legislation to protect the rights of victims of terrorism.

She made the statement during a press conference on Tuesday, where the UN Special Rapporteur briefed the media on her preliminary findings during her recent visit.

As such, she highlighted the broader issue of addressing the challenges of regulation, the regulation of terrorism, violent extremism, extremism and religious extremism in any society, stating that the mandate had recognized that these were challenges for the government.

Stressing that there are very sensitive and complex issues in this regulatory space, she said that the most effective and human rights-compliant way to fight terrorism is to keep key security systems functioning. rule of law in any society.

She stressed that this ensures prison conditions are “adequate” and “in line” with international human rights standards so that prisons themselves do not become conditions conducive to further violence in a society.

Shedding light on judicial independence, she noted that this is a crucial factor in ensuring that human rights are consistent in the fight against terrorism.

That being said, the Special Rapporteur also said that lawyers must be able to function effectively in defending those charged with these offences, adding that the mandate feared there was a need to ensure and more robustly guarantee independence, transparency and accountability among these, if fundamental elements of the Maldivian legal system are needed.

I think one of the things we also need to make sure of is that there is accountability for acts of terrorism and acts of violence that fall under countering violent extremism. In this regard, the mandate states and I state in particular that I am particularly concerned about the lack of adequate protection for victims of terrorism and victims of violent extremism in this society.

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, United Nations Special Rapporteur.

Stating that the government of the Maldives currently has no specific legislation to protect the rights of victims of terrorism, the UN Special Rapporteur urged the government to implement such legislation.

The Special Rapporteur expressed concern about the extent to which the targeting of civil society actors, including women human rights defenders, by private actors and groups, which she described as a constraining phenomenon for civil society, which imposes self-limits on civil society and this ultimately leads to a feeling that civil society cannot function fully and openly and in society.

We are particularly aware of the digital harassment of women human rights defenders and I have urged the government to use the legal capacity and resources available to it under the law to ensure that, in particular, threats of violence be an incitement to violence against civil society. actors and be dealt with urgently.

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, United Nations Special Rapporteur.

The Special Rapporteur concluded her visit to the Maldives on Tuesday and a debriefing session was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She will present her report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2023, during the council’s 52nd session. The report in question highlights a number of very specific recommendations to the Government of the Maldives to amend, strengthen and ensure that parts of this legislation are fully human rights compliant.

The Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights holds a special procedures mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council which was established in April 2005 by the former Commission on Human Rights male.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur has been extended by the Human Rights Council on several occasions, most recently on April 12, 2022, for a further period of three years.