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Organization: Maldivian Detainee Network
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
Posted: May 05 2010,10:15 If you wrote this report, you will find a button here that you may click
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Postal address of organization/institution

G. Uthurubin, 2nd Floor, Alikilegefaanu Magu, Male’, Rep. Of Maldives

E-mail address of organization/institution


Website address of organization/institution


Telephone of organization/institution

+ (960) 3343609

PRIORITIES: All of the organization's domains of culture of peace activity


TOP PRIORITY: The organization's most important culture of peace activity


PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

Asian NGO’s Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI)

ACTIONS: What activities have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the ten years of the Decade? If you already made a report in 2005, your information from 2005 will be included in the 2010 report.

The Maldivian Detainee Network (MDN) has been deeply involved in the efforts to consolidate democracy in the Maldives since the democratic transition in 2008. In pursuing this work we have come to understand two major facts. The first is that the biggest impediment to the consolidation of democracy in the Maldives is the culture of intolerance and the failure to accommodate difference. The second is that promoting the language and mechanisms of human rights is perhaps the best way to counter the culture of intolerance. As such, our work in the recent past has been underpinned by the belief that a cultural shift which accepts differences and welcomes diversity is needed in the Maldives.

One of our major efforts has been in promoting awareness about the rights enshrined in the 2nd chapter of the new Constitution which was ratified in 2008. We believe that when people are made aware of their numerous constitutional rights, as well as the legal mechanisms in place to safeguard those rights, this empowers them to seek redress for their grievances through peaceful and legal means. MDN has also seen that it helps combat crime and reduces vigilante action. This is especially so because in its Constitutional awareness raising work, MDN emphasises human rights principles such as human dignity and equality as well as civic responsibility.

The other major initiative undertaken by MDN has been to setup a Network of Human Rights Defenders. This volunteer Network has two major purposes. The first is to effectively monitor the Human Rights situation across the country while reducing our reliance on the media for doing so. The second purpose of the Network is to advocate for Human Rights principles in local communities on a sustained basis. It is hoped that this Network will be able to promote a culture of mutual respect by providing a Human Rights perspective to local dialogue and discourse. The Network is trained in Human Rights principles, advocacy, monitoring and reporting. The Maldives being an Islamic state, special attention was given in the training to highlight the peaceful nature of Islam and to emphasise that Islam is a pluralistic faith which accommodates other cultures and beliefs.

Given recent rise of Islamic extremism in the Maldives, MDN has been attempting to play the role of a watchdog, monitoring comments and statements made by extremists. MDN has highlighted Human Rights unfriendly and intolerant comments made by such groups and continues to raise the issue with public bodies as well as countering these messages in the public domain.

PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the second half of the Decade?

The transition to democracy in 2008 with a new rights based constitution was a huge step towards achieving a culture of non-violence and peace in the Maldives. However, intolerance of both other cultures and other views remains rampant. The effort from civil society to promote a culture of peace and tolerance is infant in the country and its effectiveness is yet to be seen.

OBSTACLES: Has your organization faced any obstacles to implementing the culture of peace and nonviolence? If so, what were they?

MDN faces significant obstacles in promoting peace and non-violence through the language of Human Rights.

1) Following the transition to democracy, problems in the judicial sector and economic hardships have caused disillusionment with the democratic experience. Given the conflation between Human Rights and democracy in the Maldives this has caused the language of Human Rights to lose popularity in the country. People often blame the new regime of rights for difficulties in prosecuting crimes.

2) Funding: In order to effectively bring about a cultural shift and counter negative messages in the public domain, it is extremely important that mass media strategies be employed to give out messages and popularise certain concepts. However, these methods are expensive and donors seem increasingly reluctant to fund awareness raising or promotional messages for which it is hard to evaluate the impact in the absence of opinion tracking polls.

3) Many of the issues surrounding tolerance and peacefulness have a religious element to it in the Maldives. Given that the Maldives does not practice freedom of religion and in fact quite strictly controls dialogue regarding Islam itself, it is has been extremely difficult to talk about certain issues. This difficulty arises from both from fear of legal prosecution by the state and intimidation by extremist elements in society.

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization in the short, medium and long term to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence?

MDN plans to provide a platform for both international and local Islamic scholars who will promote a message of peace and tolerance. This will include providing them with public forums where they can speak as well as disseminating recordings of their speeches.

We have also designed a project to reach the youth in schools and hold events with them to inculcate a culture of mutual respect and human rights. Focus will also be given conflict resolution techniques in these engagements.

GLOBAL MOVEMENT: How do you think the culture of peace and nonviolence could be strengthened and supported at the world level??

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Organization: Maldivian Detainee Network

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