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Maldives News Bulletin, 04-05-2008
Issue No: No.1160

UN Human Rights Office Congratulates the Government on the adoption of the Maldives Resolution

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) congratulated the Government of Maldives on the adoption of the Resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change by the Human Rights Council last month. In a letter, addressed to Minister of Foreign Affairs H. E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights H. E. Ms. Kyung-wha Kang expressed felicitations to the Government and noted the Maldives’ “instrumental” role in introducing the climate change initiative and ensuring its adoption by consensus. The Deputy High Commissioner highlighted the OHCHR’s readiness to commence work on the study mandated by the Council Resolution.
In the letter Deputy High Commissioner also noted the “Government’s full support for the work of the Office”, in particular its good cooperation with the Special Procedures. The Maldives initiated resolution was sponsored by seventy-five countries from all regions, demonstrating the importance of the issue for millions of people around the world, as well  as a common determination among the world’s governments to respond decisively to climate change and in-so-doing protect the future of vulnerable countries like the Maldives.
The resolution calls on the OHCHR to conduct a study into the effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights. The study will then form the basis of a full Human Rights Council debate on the issue during its March 2009 Session. The conclusions of the study and the debate will be fed into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) ongoing negotiating process in order to raise political awareness about the human dimension of global warming.



The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces commissions Coast Guard Ships “Ghaazee” and “Shaheed Ali”

The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces today commissioned the Coast Guard Ships “Ghaazee” and “Shaheed Ali”.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the President praised the Coast Guard for its exemplary service to the people over the years. He also noted the ongoing efforts to further development of the Coast Guard. “Patrolling the vast territorial waters of the country is a Herculean effort”, the President highlighted. He added that the Government was investing in further strengthening the Coast Guard and those discussions were underway to widen the current fleet of vessels of the Coast Guard.
The President announced that Surveillance Radar System will be installed in five regions of the country by the end of this year to protect country’s fishing grounds from poachers. He also disclosed plans to establish regional communications centers in five more regions of the country. “These new centers will greatly benefit our fishermen”, he noted. He added that the first of these regional communications centers has already been established on South Huvadhu Atoll Kaadedhdhoo.
After the commissioning, the President toured the two Ships and signed the formal letters of commissioning.
In his speech at the ceremony, the Director General of the Coast Guard, Colonel Zakariyya Mansoor, thanked the fishing community for their tremendous support and assistance to the Coast Guard in fulfilling their duty.
An introductory remark of the ceremony was delivered by Major Ibrahim Afzal.



The President extends sympathy to the President of Ukraine

The President has sent a message of sympathy to the President of Ukraine, Mr. Viktor Yushchenko, on learning of the death of 19 Ukrainian nationals in a helicopter crash off a gas drilling platform.
In the message, the President extended profound sympathy to the Ukrainian President, the Government and the people of Ukraine and conveyed sincere condolences to the members of the bereaved families.



The President appoints Mr. Fathulla Jameel as Senior Minister

The President today appointed Mr. Fathulla Jameel as Senior Minister.
Mr. Fathulla Jameel took his Oath of Office, at a ceremony held at the President’s Office this morning. The Oath was administered by the Chief Justice, Sh. Mohamed Rasheed Ibrahim.
The ceremony was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain.



The President ratifies the “Armed forces Act”. The President says the enforcement of the “Armed Forces Act” opens up new avenues for the development of the MNDF

The President today ratified the “Armed Forces Act”, which was passed by the People’s Majlis at its sitting of 2 April 2008. Following the ratification of the Act, it was included in the Government Gazette.
The “Armed Forces Act” was ratified at a ceremony held at the President’s Office this morning. The ceremony was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain,  the Minister at the President’s Office, Ms Aneesa Ahmed, the Chief of Defense Forces, Major General Mohamed Zahir, and the Deputy Minister of Defense and National Security, Mr. Ahmed Hafiz. Members of the press, including the Voice of Maldives, Television Maldives, daily newspapers, independent FM radio stations, weekly magazines and registered e-news websites were also present at the ceremony.
Speaking to the press after the ratification, the President highlighted the importance of the new Act. He thanked all those who had contributed towards drafting the Armed Forces Bill, as well as the Members of the People’s Majlis for the smooth passage of the Bill earlier this month.
The President noted that the most important aspect of the new Act was its clarity in defining the rules and responsibilities of the MNDF. He noted that the MNDF and the members of the general public alike would benefit greatly from the introduction of the new Law.
In his statement to the press the President emphasized the important role of the MNDF, including the protection of the country’s vast territorial waters. On this note, he stressed the need to continue ongoing efforts to further strengthen the Coast Guard and other Units of the MNDF. He added that the MNDF was today a highly-trained professional organ of the State, which delivers and invaluable service to the country and its people.
The President then took question from the media on the new Act as well as the way forward in further developing the MNDF.



The President briefs the Cabinet on his visit to Singapore to attend the Business for the Environment Global Summit


The President today briefed the Cabinet on his visit to Singapore to attend the second Business for the Environment Global Summit which was held from 22 to 24 of April.  Speaking at the meeting the President briefed the Cabinet on the highlights of his speech at the summit. He noted the importance of the environment to businesses and ways of preserving the environment. Further, the President also spoke about his new book, titled “Paradise Drowning” which is a collection of his speeches in English on environmental issues.
The President also said that the delegates at the summit applauded the efforts of the Maldives to address the issues relating to the environment and climate change during the past two decades.
In today’s meeting, the Cabinet discussed ways of further strengthening the information and the media sector of the Maldives and the impact on the Maldivian economy due to the changes in the world markets.


The President says “thank you” to all retiring Government employees

With the entry into force of the Maldives’ Civil Service Act and the subsequent involuntary retirement today of Government employees over the age of 65, the President last night thanked all the retirees for their long and diligent service to the people.  He made the statement at a meeting held last night at the President’s Office to bid farewell to all retirees from the President’s Office and Presidential Palace.
Highlighting the Government’s efforts to defer retirement for two further years, the President noted that the draft amendment failed in the Parliament.  He went on to thank the Civil Service Commission for offering retiring Government employees with an improved financial incentives package.
The President wished the retirees good health and happiness.
Mr. Mohamed Qasim, who had served at the President’s Office for over 40 years, delivered the vote-of-thanks on behalf of the retirees.
The introductory remarks were delivered by the Permanent Secretary at the President’s Office, Mr. Ahmed Hassan Didi.
The meeting was attended by the Senior Ministers and Executives and senior officials at the President’s Office and the Presidential Palace.



UN Fact-finding mission to visit the Maldives next week


The UN spokesperson yesterday announced the impending visit of the UN Fact-finding mission to the Maldives at a Press Conference in New York.
 
He noted that 'A UN Fact Finding mission led by the Department of Political Affairs will visit the Maldives from 4 to 9 May 2008 in response to a request by the Government.
 
The mission will meet with a range of interlocutors including Government officials, political leaders, civil society, non-governmental organization and other important national actors, as well as diplomatic representatives in order to assess whether UN assistance to the forthcoming elections would be appropriate.”
 
Commenting on the mission on behalf of the Government, Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid noted “We very much welcome the Fact-finding mission by the UN. We look forward to a constructive and fruitful dialogue and a positive outcome based on the discussions that the mission will undertake.  The government is committed to engaging with our international partners to obtain their expertise for a free and fair election in line with international standards”.
 
Apart from the United Nations, the government has engaged the support of the Commonwealth and the EU in the reform process and particularly in preparing for the upcoming elections.
 


Foreign Minister launches website of the Maldives Human Rights Commission
 
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, launched the website of the Maldives Human Rights Commission today.  In his keynote address at the ceremony to launch the website, Minister Shahid noted the vital role that the
HRCM is already playing in the Maldives and expressed his expectation that the new website would only serve to further enhance that role.

The Foreign Minister noted in particular that, while the Maldives Government has recently acceded to many important international human rights conventions, it is vital that key independent bodies like the HRCM play an active role in helping people understand, enjoy and enforce those rights. In order to fulfill its important role in society, the Minister emphasized the importance of effective communication and dialogue between the HRCM and the citizens of the Maldives.
Highlighting on the theme of this year’s International Press Freedom Day, “access to information – empowerment of people”, Minister Shahid reiterated the importance of disseminating accurate information through websites and other mediums and highlighted the significant role played by the media in a liberal democracy. Continuing his address Minister Shahid noted the extensive initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Legal Reform Information and Arts in its endeavour to strengthen media freedom in the country.
In his remarks at today’s ceremony, the President of the Commission, Mr. Ahmed Saleem expressed gratitude to Minister Shahid for his continued support and assistance to the development of the Maldives Human Rights Commission.
Today’s ceremony was held at the Maldives Human Rights Commission.
 

SAFF Championship 08: National team departs to Malaysia

Male', MALDIVES - Maldives national team preparing for the upcoming SAFF championship left to Malaysia for three friendly games against Malaysia, Philippines and Malaysian super league side Selangor. All the players except those from New Radiant accompanied the team. Players from New Radiant will join the team from Kuala Lumpur, as they are currently in Malaysia after their AFC cup game against Perak.
Surprisingly no official from a first division club, except VB manager Ibrahim Rasheed (Satho) was presented at the jetty when the team left last night. Even Interim committee secretary Shah Ismail wasn’t around, but chairman Shahir and member of interim committee Ibrahim Amir and senior minister Umar Zahir was there to farewell the players and officials.
National team official Nizar lost his passport while in Hulhule and couldn’t join the trip with the national team. Team manager Hanim was not available to comment on this matter but it is expected that Nizar will join the team later.
Ahead of the crucial tournament, Maldives team was rocked by the news of their skipper Assad’s elbow injury. Assad, who suffered the injury against Perak on Wednesday, is likely to miss the championship in Male’ and Colombo.

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