Human Rights Commission of the Maldives

National Preventive Mechanism of the Maldives (NPM)

Mission

To prevent torture and other cruel inhumane treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, raise awareness and promote a preventive culture in places of deprivation of liberty.

Introduction

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) ratified by the Maldives on 15 February 2006 obliges each State party to “maintain, designate or establish one or several independent national preventive mechanisms for the prevention of torture at the domestic level”.
In 2008 the government of the Maldives designated the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under the OPCAT. The HRCM as a result established a specific department to carry out the functions of the NPM.

NPM’s legal identity

The article 44 (c) of the Anti-Torture act states that, for the purposes of this article, this Act, the international convention against torture and the associated optional protocol, the Human Rights Commission will be the National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) to stop and prevent all acts of torture as defined by this Act. The responsibilities of the NPM shall be inducted into the responsibilities of the commission and this article hereby grants the commission all necessary power to fulfill these responsibilities.

What is the OPCAT ?

The Optional Protocol is an international Convention that came into force in 2006. It creates special mechanisms to assist countries that have ratified it to comply with their obligation to prevent torture and other ill-treatment. These mechanisms function at two levels: the international level and the national level. At the international level, the Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has already been established in Geneva, composed of independent experts elected by States parties and mandated to undertake regular visits to places of detention inside those countries that have become state parties. The national preventive mechanism is at the heart of the OPCAT. Each State party is obliged to set one up to work for the prevention of torture and other ill treatment.

Work of NPM

  • Establish a system of regular visits to places of detention in order to analyze treatment, conditions and administration with a view to strengthening, if necessary, the protection afforded to the persons deprived of their liberty against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • On the basis of information obtained during these preventive visits and its legal and other analysis, make recommendations to further strengthen the protection given to detainees in accordance with the relevant norms of the United Nations and other international standards.
    1. Enter into a series of continuous constructive dialogue with the competent state authorities to discuss regarding the implementation of NPM’s recommendations
    2. Submit proposals and observations concerning existing and draft legislation

Places that the NPM visits – Detention Facility List

OPCAT article 4 states that visits must be allowed to “any place under the jurisdiction and control of the State party where persons are or may be deprived of their liberty, either by virtue of an order given by a public authority or at its instigation or with its consent or acquiescence.” Deprivation of liberty is defined as “any form of detention or imprisonment or placement of a person in a public or private custodial setting from which that person is not permitted to leave at will by order of any judicial, administrative or other authority.” This means that the Optional Protocol does not apply solely to prisons; it applies to all places in the country where people may be detained, whether legally or illegally. The NPM must be allowed unfettered access to all of these locations, persons and information. Places of detention may therefore include the following:

  • Prisons and correctional facilities for both remand and convicted prisoners.
  • Juvenile detention centers
  • Child care centers
  • Police stations and pre-trial detention facilities
  • Immigration centers
  • Psychiatric hospitals and mental health institutions and other such special needs homes
  • Social rehabilitation centers
  • Military compounds

List of places NPM has visited from 2017-2019

2017

  • Lh. Naifaru Police Station
  • Male’ Prison
  • Home for People with Special Needs (HPSN)
  • H. Dh.Kulhudufushi Police Station
  • Male’ Custodial
  • Ga.vilingili Police Station
  • Dhoonidhoo Custodial
  • S. Hithadhoo Police Station
  • S. Hulhumeedhoo Police Station
  • Fiyavathi
  • Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) (Hulhumale' Prison)
  • Kudakudhinge Hiyaa and Amaan Hiya
  • Maafushi Prison

2018

  • Th.Veymandoo Police Station
  • M. Muli Police Station
  • M.Muli Police Station
  • Maafushi Prison (Remand Unit)
  • Dhoonidhoo Custodial
  • Hulhumale' Prison
  • Maafushi Prison
  • Hulhumale' Halfway House

2019

  • Thilafushi Ahuluveri Marukazu
  • Male’ Prison
  • Home for People with Special Needs (HPSN)
  • Gn. Fuvahmulaku Police Station
  • Gn. Fuvahmulah Drug treatment and Detoxification Centre
  • Hulhumale Detention Centre
  • L. Gan Police Station
  • Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre
  • Maafushi Prison
  • Kudakudhinge Hiyaa and Amaan Hiya

Achievements

  • NPM’s work has made it possible to put a stop to the practice of detaining under aged children in Police Custodials and Prisons.
  • Record keeping was strengthened in Police Custodials.
  • A “mapping tool” has been launched to identify places where persons deprived of their liberty are detained.
  • A monitoring mechanism has been established and NPM has made recommendations based on the finding of visits to improve the protection of persons deprived of their liberty and minimize acts of torture carried against them in the past.
  • Handbook has been made and translated into 9 languages explaining the rights of persons deprived of their liberty.
  • Somalian nationals under state care were returned back to their homeland
  • Isolation process practiced at Home for People with Special Needs were brought to a halt.
  • Initiated and facilitated the first ever National OPCAT Dialogue that was held in Maldives

Mapping


View Mapping of Places of Detention in a larger map