Maldivian Islamic groups call for arrest of UN High Commissioner on Human Rights
Protestors gathered outside the United Nations Building in Male’ on Friday afternoon to condemn UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay for her criticism of the Maldivian constitution, namely its provisions endorsing flogging and mandating that every Maldivian be a Muslim.
The protestors carried signboards with angry slogans, including “Islam is not a toy”, “Ban UN” and “Flog Pillay”, and called on authorities to arrest the UN High Commisioner.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News that the sizeable protest was contained and there were no confrontations.
“Police cordoned off the area so people could not enter the UN building or the roads leading to the building. The protest was pretty heated, but there were no confrontations or arrests,” he said.
After a break for Sunset Prayer, protesters renewed their efforts at the Tsunami Memorial.
Shiyam said police guarded the UN building during the evening protest, and kept appraised of its movements.
No concerns have been voiced to the police by the UN.
During a press conference on Thursday evening, Pillay again called for the government and the judiciary to issue a moratorium on flogging.
“Flogging is a form of punishment that is cruel and demeaning to women. I have as High Commissioner traveled to very many Islamic countries, and apart from the Maldives and one other country that practices stoning, flogging is not a practice that is condoned,” she said.
“The issue needs to be examined, and therefore I called for a countrywide discussion. It is much better if the issue is transparent and debated.”