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HRC35 Oral Statement on Freedom of Expression in the Maldives and Investigation into Yameen Rasheed’s Murder

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35th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 3: General Debate on promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Oral Statement Delivered by Hussain Rasheed on behalf of

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Mr President, this statement is related to freedom of expression.

I am making this statement only because my precious son, Yameen Rasheed, was murdered in April this year for exercising his freedom of expression.

Yameen was a lovely boy. He loved to write. He had a blog, called the Daily Panic. He criticized what was going on in the Maldives: the political repression, the corruption, the human rights violations and the growing religious extremism. In 2015 Yameen visited Geneva and participated in events related to freedom of expression at 30th session of this Council.

The last two months have been the worst months of my life. They say there is nothing on Earth more painful than losing a child. I didn’t just lose a child. He was brutally taken away from me. When I saw my son’s body in the hospital, I counted 34 stab wounds. His throat was cut and part of his skull was missing.

Extremists repeatedly threatened to kill my son for his writings, in the months before his murder. Yameen reported these death threats to the police, but they did nothing.  Previous murders have all gone unsolved. In August 2014, Yameen’s best friend, journalist Ahmed Rilwan, was abducted. Police refusal to properly investigate the case and the way they treated Rilwan’s family shows that the government is actively protecting the perpetrators. Yameen was relentless in the fight to find justice for his friend, and now his voice has been silenced too.

International monitoring of investigations into my son’s death is imperative. I believe that only active international engagement looking into attacks on freedom of expression in Maldives could provide justice for my beloved son and others like him.

For a PDF version of this statement, click here.