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UN rights office condemns Maldives prosecution of human rights commission members

[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] expressed concern over the Maldives's Supreme Court's prosecution of five members of Maldives's Human Rights Commission, following the commission's written submission for OHCHR's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) [official websites] of the country's human rights records. The UPR permits each UN member state to assess its own human rights situations and to declare what actions it has taken to improve them. The Supreme Court of the Maldives initiated its case against the Human Rights Commission members [Sun report] for criticizing rulings of the Supreme Court in the Maldives' contribution to the UPR.

The judiciary in the Maldives has faced recent criticism. In March the Supreme Court of the Maldives dismissed the country's four top election commissioners [JURIST report], giving each a six-month jail sentence and three-year suspension for "disobeying orders." In November the Supreme Court of the Maldives suspended [JURIST report] the nation's presidential election for the third time. Last October then-UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay asserted [JURIST report] that the Supreme Court of the Maldives has meddled excessively in the nation's presidential elections. In February 2013 the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers found that lawyers and judges in the Maldives are not adequately independent [JURIST report] from outside influence and called for a separation of powers between the parliament and court system.

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