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Rights Expert Welcomes New Maldives Constitution

UN human rights expert welcomes new constitution in the Maldives

12 August 2008 - A United Nations human rights expert today welcomed the approval of a new constitution in the Maldives, saying it demonstrated the country's progress towards upholding democratic principles and ensuring the independence of the judiciary.

Leandro Despouy, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said in a statement issued in Geneva that the ratification of the constitution by Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom last Thursday was in line with recommendations he made after a visit to the Indian Ocean island chain in February last year.

Mr. Despouy "expresses his satisfaction and calls on the Government to effectively implement the constitution," according to the statement.

The new constitution, the culmination of nearly four years of work by the Special Majlis or constitutional assembly, establishes the separation of powers and recognizes the independence of the judiciary.

It contains provisions for the creation of a Supreme Court and the post of Prosecutor General, as well as for the setting up of a judicial service commission, an independent body that will decide on the appointment, dismissal and discipline for judges.

Special Rapporteurs such as Mr. Despouy serve in an independent and unpaid capacity and report to the UN Human Rights Council.


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