The position of the United Nations Country Team Maldives on the death penalty and corporal punishment is guided by international human rights law, particularly the international legal commitments undertaken by the Maldives.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated, “The United Nations system has long advocated abolition of the death penalty.” A growing number of countries — around 150 in all — have either abolished the death penalty or do not practice it. This global trend is also seen among countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The Maldives made a commitment following its Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2010 to maintain a moratorium on the death penalty, in line with its vote in favour of UN General Assembly Resolution 65/206.
In view of the country’s more than 50-year de facto moratorium, the United Nations calls upon the Maldives to take the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to its international human rights obligations, and abolish the death penalty.
Moreover, flogging as a punishment is prohibited under the Maldives’ international commitments to prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Maldives is a State party to all three international human rights treaties.
The United Nations Country Team notes with particular concern the possibility in the Maldives of sentences of death, as well as corporal punishment to persons who committed crimes while below 18 years of age. These concerns have also been expressed to the Maldives by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 2012, and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2007.
Article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides, “Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”
Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides, “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”
The United Nations Country Team stands ready to support the Maldives to ensure its legislation and practices fulfil its international human rights obligations.