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Maldives News Bulletin, 06-04-2008
Issue No: No.1156

 Technical Cooperation Agreement signed between Maldives and Sri Lanka

30 Mar: A technical co-operation agreement is signed between the construction ministry and Srilankan Ministry of Immigration and Water management. The construction minister, Mohmaed Mauroof Jameel signed the agreement while on a trip to Sri Lanka. He was invited by the immigration ministry of Sri Lanka. The signing took place at the Srilankan ministry of port and aviation. According to the agreement, the present work being carried out by the central engineering consultancy bureau and public works will be enhanced and improved further.
After the signing ceremony, the minister conducted a session on Maldivian architecture at the central engineering consultancy bureau.



Atolls Minister Highlights the Importance of a Human Rights-Trained Civil Service

30 Mar: The Minister of Atolls Development, Honorable Mr. Thasmeen Ali has highlighted the importance of a human rights trained professional civil service.  He made this observation at the opening ceremony of a workshop for civil servants on human rights which began in Male’. The Workshop is organized jointly by the Civil Service Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Technical support for the workshop is being provided by the Human Rights Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.   The sessions are being conducted by Dr Purna Sen and Dr. Chaloka Beyani and Ms. Alina Meyer, Human Rights Officer who are presently in the country to conduct the training.
The three-day training program is aimed at introducing participants and senior officials of the government to the importance of human rights, duties and responsibilities of civil servants in the context of their work and their relevant ministries/departments, and introducing participants to international human rights standards and practices. During the sessions, the participants will discuss the practical effects of international standards and practices at the end, shall be equipped with the knowledge and various techniques of training others on human rights and to fully comprehend and apply acceptable standards in their respective work environments.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister Thasmeen Ali expressed appreciation to the Commonwealth Secretariat for facilitating the Workshop and noted the long standing cooperation between the Maldives and the Organization. The Minister highlighted the various achievements of the ongoing Reform Agenda in terms of strengthening human rights protection within the country. Minister Thasmeen highlighted important achievements such as the establishment of the national Human Rights Commission as a statutory body, institutionalization of the treaty reporting process and reform towards the independence of the judiciary. In his speech, the Minister stressed on the important outcomes anticipated in the reform agenda.
“What we are striving for or what we are trying to build, I believe is a rights-based culture… Rights do not exist in a vacuum. The true culture of rights and responsibilities may actually sometimes require us to be quite robust about an individual’s rights to maintain the rights of others. It’s a question of the interdependence of rights.”
The President of the Civil Service Commission Dr. Mohamed Latheef and Head of the Commonwealth Human Rights Unit Dr.Purna Sen also spoke at the ceremony. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Dunya Maumoon also participated in the opening ceremony.
 Almost forty officials from all government ministries and departments are taking part in the training programme. The workshop is part of the ongoing collaboration between the Commonwealth and the Maldives in relation to the ongoing reform and democratization process. Previous collaborations include a human rights training conducted for the Maldives Police Service last year. The Commonwealth has been a key developmental partner of the Maldives since it became a member of the organization in 1985.


Parliamentary Education Seminar held

30 Mar: A parliamentary education seminar is held at the Laamu Gan, Hammed bin Khaleefa Al Saanee School.This is the twenty second such seminar held to create awareness among students.The one-day long seminar was inaugurated by the speaker of the Majlis, Ahmed Zahir.
The seminar is aimed at creating a generation that is responsible and aware of the political situations.Hundred students took part in the seminar and they were awarded certificates of participation.Majlis donated sets of books about the Majlis to the school.The speaker also answered questions of the students.


2006 census CD issued


31 Mar: Planning ministry issues CDs containing the 2006 census and information on atolls. Hamdhoon Hameed, planning minister, issued these CDs during the ceremony. He highlighted that the database and informative CDs will be useful in all fields. He also mentioned that the census was the first census that produced efficient quick results.
The CDs were released on the second anniversary of the 2006 census.


MTPB reveals further development plans


1 April: The Maldives Tourism Development Cooperation reveals plans to further develop the Maldivian Tourism industry. The cooperation is trying to incite more countries to visit Maldives, concentrating on those which have the least number of visitors. They will also increase international business chains in Maldives.
The plan is in action already, with the Managing Director of the Maldives Tourism Development Cooperation signing a contract with the renowned Hotel chain, Ritz Carlton.  Ekulhivaru of Noonu Atoll will be developed under the contract. It is to be a 5 star resort, and would be completed by the year 2010.
M-T-D-C will have 20 percent of the shares and Ritz Carlton will have 80 percent of the shares. More than MRf100 million will be spent on the resort.


International Fund for Agriculture development issues loan to Maldives

2 April: The International Fund for Agriculture Development gives Maldives a loan of MRf2350000. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance Gasim Ibrahim. The fund will be used to develop agricultural activities and fish processing. The fund will also aid in extending the market abroad. According to the Agriculture ministry, local farmers and fishermen will be directly profited thanks to the fund.


MMA becomes a member of IFSB while CMA becomes an associated member

2 April: Maldives Monetary Authority becomes a member of the Islamic Financial Services Board while the capital market authority becomes an associate member. This ensures a branch of the Islamic bank being established in the Maldives in the near future. It also allows more information to be exchanged between and among the parties. The Islamic financial sector will work more efficiently according to this arrangement.


The President visits the MGTC and MNSL offices in Singapore

2 April: The President visited Maldivian Government Trade Centre (MGTC) and Maldives National Ship Limited (MNSL) offices in Singapore and met with members of the staff of the offices.
During his visit to MGTC office, the President signed the dignitaries’ book placed in the office. He thanked the Head of the MGTC, Mr. Mohamed Khaleel and members of the staff, for MGTC’s services for the Government and people of Maldives. He then visited the MNSL office. In his inscription in the dignitaries’ book at the office, the President highlighted the importance of seafaring for the Maldives. He noted that maritime travel was an integral part of the people’s daily life, and stressed the importance of advancing the sector for the country’s prosperity, sovereignty and security. He also thanked the Head of MNSL, Mr. Aiman Jameel and members of the staff, for their services in this area.


Maldives urges increased European Member State involvement into the Global Climate Change Alliance

02 April: H. E. Dr Mohamed Asim, High Commissioner of the Republic of Maldives to the United Kingdom, spoke at the European Parliament’s Committee on Development. The hearing, entitled “Building a Global Climate Change Alliance between   the EU and Developing Countries” was organized by Swedish MEP Mr. Anders Wijkman to inform his forthcoming report on this infinitive launched by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Development. The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) aims to act as a link between the EU and poor developing countries most vulnerable to climate change, in particular the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. The Maldives interest and input into the Alliance has included participation of the President of the Maldives, H.E. Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, at the EU Development Days event in Lisbon in November 2007, and request by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H. E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, for Maldives to be included as one of the initial pilot countries for the GCCA. High Commissioner Dr Asim provided his reflections on the GCCA as well as informing MEPs in the Development Committee on the various and complex issues facing the Maldives as regards the necessary adaptation to climate change ongoing in the country. Dr Asim was particularly keen to welcome the creation of the GCCA but urged MEPs present to assist Small Island States such as the Maldives by persuading their own national governments to further input, whether in a financial sense or a technical sense, to the Alliance. The MEPs were also informed about the 28th March 2008 United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on the subject of human rights and climate change. In response to the Ambassador's statement, Mr. Wijkman further highlighted the plight faced by the Maldives if global warming increased.


The Government and Commonwealth Human Rights Unit Discuss Future Collaborations

02 April: H. E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dr. Purna Sen, Head of the Commonwealth Human Rights Unit discussed possible ways of further collaboration between the Government and the Commonwealth. The discussions were held during a courtesy Call by Dr. Sen on Minister Shahid. At the Call, which took place at the Foreign Ministry, Minister Shahid detailed the reform measures the Government had taken under the Reform Agenda and highlighted some of the achievements.  The Minister further outlined the ongoing work to strengthen the national human rights framework, including the establishment of the Human Rights Commission as a full statutory body and the constitutional and legal reform measures. Foreign Minister highlighted the Government’s engagement with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and noted the long standing close relationship between the Government and the Commonwealth. The Minister added that the Commonwealth was a key developmental partner of the Maldives and expressed hope that the collaboration with the Commonwealth would be further consolidated in the future.
During the meeting Dr. Sen congratulated the Government for the recent adoption of the Resolution on human rights and climate change at the UN Human Rights Council, initiated by the Maldives. Discussions were also held on possible ways of further collaboration between the Government and the Unit in furthering the human dimension of climate change. Minister Shahid emphasized the important role the Commonwealth could play in raising awareness on the threat posed by climate change on fundamental rights of the people of the Maldives and other small island and vulnerable states.
Dr. Sen is in Male currently to conduct training on human rights for civil servants that took place from 30 March to 1 April and to carry out an assessment of human rights in the country.
Ms. Dunya Maumoon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Liusha Zahir, Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ms. Alina Meyer, Human Rights Officer of the Commonwealth also participated in the Call.


Five new resorts to be opened in the Huvadhu Atoll soon

3 April: 5 new resorts are to be opened at Huvadhu Atoll. The Minister of Tourism says that the resorts would be opened this year.  2 resorts will be opened at the South of the atoll, while 3 will be developed at the North. The resorts are being developed in an environment friendly way.
Most of the construction has been finished at most of the resorts, and contractors are concentrating on interior designing.

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