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Analysis of Troubling Maldives Constitution

12/15/08 Maldives (Institute on Religion and Public Policy) – Following its news-breaking alert in August of a problematic new constitution passed in the Maldives-one of the worst in the world for religious freedom–the Institute on Religion and Public Policy today released a full legal analysis of the document.

The 2008 Maldivian constitution offers several new protections for human rights, including freedom of assembly and of expression. However, the constitution has one of the worst and most restrictive legal foundations in the world against religious freedom.

The most contentious provisions come with the citizenship requirements in Section 9. While explaining that citizens are people who are citizens at the commencement of the constitution; who are children born to a citizen of the Maldives, and who are naturalized foreigners; the section is limited by 9(d), which states “a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives.”

According to the Institute’s analysis, “Article (d) and many of the actual practices in the Maldives violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Maldives is a signatory and are incorporated into Maldivian law through the Constitution.” The Institute further recommends that article 9(d) be removed, as it “creates a conflict with both domestic and international law.” However, the analysis notes that such reform is unlikely without significant international pressure.

To read the full analysis, click here.