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Riots in the Maldives, September 2003


Summary
Guides
News & Analysis


Summary

A day-long riot ensued in Male after a prisoner was allegedly shot dead by guards in the Maafusi island prison on Friday night. The prisoners are reportedly protesting to demand better treatment. A total of 18 persons, including a member of the National Security Service were reportedly injured in the prison disturbances. In the riots that followed, four police stations and the elections office were burnt.

The violence in Malé over the 20th-21st September weekend appears to have taken the Western press by surprise. For example, according to the BBC,

The violence is unprecedented in the Maldives, a sleepy atoll famed for its beach resorts. (Frances Harrison, Maldives ‘had second jail riot’, BBC News, 23rd September 2003.)

This reflects a somewhat romantic view, among Europeans, of Maldives as a ‘Fairy Tale Land’, a Shangri La with coral reefs instead of Himalayan valleys.

However, it seems that there was indeed a precedent, the riots in the southern Addu (Seenu) atoll in 1958-58 (Michael O'Shea and Fareesha Abdulla, The Suvadive Revolt - Addu 1959, Majid’s Pages). These developed into an uprising and a declaration of independence by Addu atoll, which was later joined by Huvadhoo (Gaafu) and Fua Mulaku (Gnaviyani) atolls in what was styled the United Suvadiva Republic (Ekuveri Suvaidib Jamhouriyya). This was finally suppressed on 30th September 1963 (United Suvadiva Republic, Majid’s Pages).

 

Guides

Country Profile: The Maldives, BBC, UK, July 30, 2003
Brief overview with map, timeline of key events, facts, profile of the president and media links.

World Factbook: Maldives, CIA, USA, August 2003
Guide with very brief historical & economic summaries, map, facts on geography, population, government, economy, military, transportation, communications & trans-national issues.

Maldives: a country study, Library of Congress, USA, August 1994
Comprehensive guide to Maldives history, government & politics, economy, geography, society, military, health, education & strategic considerations.

Permanent mission of the Maldives to the UN
General information on the Maldives & other documents pertaining to international & development issues.

Republic of The Maldives, Amnesty International, July 30, 2003
In the past decade, dozens of people - including politicians, journalists and others protesting government policies - have been detained arbitrarily in defiance of their fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly. Several prisoners of conscience have been tried and convicted by the Criminal Court without having access to a lawyer, or to an independent and impartial appeal mechanism. Repression of peaceful opposition - Document referred to in BBC report (see UK)

 

News & Analysis

Views from around the world pertaining to the rioting in the Maldives.

South Asian Viewpoint
International Viewpoint


South Asian Viewpoint

Bangladesh I Bhutan I India I Pakistan I Maldives I Nepal I Sri Lanka

 

Bangladesh

Maldives President faces new threat, Daily Star, Dhaka, September 22, 2003
The president of the tiny Indian Ocean atoll nation, the Maldives, has survived three coup bids and huge waves, but faces a new threat from civil unrest as he moves for a sixth five-year term in office.

India

Amnesty seeks end to repression in Maldives, Times of India, September 24, 2003
In response to the recent wave of protests, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom must take urgent measures to stop the systematic repression of peaceful political activists, and radically reform the criminal justice system to safeguard people's human rights", said Amnesty International.

Curfew imposed on Male again, The Hindu, Chennai, September 24, 2003
Curfew has been imposed for the fourth consecutive night in the capital of the Maldives, Male, which is limping back to normality after rioting over the weekend. The President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has given temporary charge of the attol-nation's main jail to the Construction Minister, Umar Zahir.

 

Maldives

Riots in the Maldives, Haveeru, Male, September 23, 2003
Compilation of news from the Maldivian English Daily

Riots in the Maldives, Miadhu, Male, September 24, 2003
Compilation of news from the Maldivian Daily

President Gayoom's address to the nation, Male, September 20, 2003
From the President's office, Male.

Nepal


 

 

Pakistan

Unprecedented rioting in the Maldives, Dawn, Karachi, September 22, 2003
Five security men were arrested in the tiny Indian Ocean atoll nation of the Maldives on Sunday after the deaths of two prisoners sparked unprecedented rioting in the island capital Male, officials said. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom vowed tough action against any member of his National Security Service (NSS) involved in the killings at Maafushi jail located on a small coral island near Male.

Curfew in Maldives after riot, Dawn, Karachi, September 22, 2003
Five security men were arrested in the tiny Indian Ocean atoll nation of the Maldives on Sunday after the deaths of two prisoners sparked unprecedented rioting in the island capital Male, officials said. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom vowed tough action against any member of his National Security Service (NSS) involved in the killings at Maafushi jail located on a small coral island near Male.

 

Sri Lanka

Rights in paradise, Daily News, Colombo, September 29, 2003
But like most countries the Maldives has never escaped the criticism of the international media and human rights organizations for its human rights practices. The Maldivian government has always discounted all the allegations. And so the fickle fingers of negative publicity come into play.

SL offers to help Maldives as casualties rise, The Island, Colombo, September 24, 2003
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is visiting New York, spoke by telephone Sunday with Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom and offered "any assistance", including help to restore security, official sources in the Maldives said.


International Viewpoint

I UK I USA

 

UK

Maldives leader set for new term, BBC, UK, September 25, 2003
Parliament backs President Gayoom for a sixth term, just days after violent anti-government street protests.

Maldives had "second jail riot", BBC, UK, September 23, 2003
News has emerged of a second jail riot in the Maldives during weekend disturbances in which three prisoners died. Eyewitnesses say up to 18 others were seriously injured when the security forces fired on inmates. The first riot sparked anti-government street protests on Saturday in the capital, Male, which damaged several public buildings.

"Arrests" after Maldive riots, BBC, UK, September 22, 2003
Police in the Maldive Islands have made a number of arrests after anti-government riots rocked the capital at the weekend, reports say.

Maldives capital tense after riots, BBC, UK, September 21, 2003
A curfew has been lifted in the capital of the Maldive Islands, Male, after unprecedented clashes between the police and local people.

Amnesty blasts "Holiday Paradise", BBC, UK, July 30, 2003
Human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Government of the Maldives of political repression and torture.

.

USA

Army on streets of Maldives, CNN, USA, September 22, 2003
Government offices, businesses and schools in the Maldives reopened Monday, but security was tight following weekend violence in the island country off the coast of Sri Lanka, a government official said.

 

 

 

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