Maldives - OPCAT Situation
National Human Rights Commission
Article 44(c) of Anti-Torture Act, (23 December 2013). National Human Rights Commission Act (2004).
Shortly after the ratification of the OPCAT in 2006, Maldives appointed the National Human Rights Commission as its NPM in 2007 through the means of a presidential decree. A specific NPM unit was established within the Commission, with dedicated staff and budget.
In December 2013, after its ratification by the President of the Maldives, the Anti-Torture Act was published in the official Gazette, based on international human rights treaties, including the UN Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol, and combining all aspects of prevention and prohibition of torture. The Anti-Torture Act, in its article 44(c), also officially designates the Commission as the NPM and makes it a legislative body.
The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture visited the Maldives in December 2007 and in December 2014. Only the report of the first visit in 2007 was made public.
The SPT member who is the SPT Focal Point for the Maldives is available here.
At first, the NPM functioned as part of the investigation unit of the Human Rights Commission. In 2009 a separate unit was created to perform the NPM tasks. The NPM unit reports directly to the Secretary-General of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and is assisted by one Commissioner as mentoring member.
The APT was informed that the NPM Unit receives support from existing departments within the Human Rights Commission, as follows:
- the Legal Department assists the NPM Unit through comments on national legislation relevant to prevention of torture;
- the NPM Unit can refer cases and complaints from victims of human rights violations received during their monitoring visits to the Complaints Department; and
- the Education and Media Department conducts awareness programs for persons deprived of their liberty and human rights’ training for prison officers.
The Human Rights Commission publishes an annual report which includes a section on the NPM, which may be available on its website.