On the sidelines of the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council, Justice Rapid Response (JRR) co-hosted a side event together with the Permanent Missions of the Republic of the Maldives and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to emphasize the importance of relying on a victim-centered approach in State-led investigations.
GENEVA, 4 April 2023 – The efforts of the Maldives Presidential Commission on Deaths and Disappearances (DDCom) to put victims at the heart of their work was the theme of a Human Rights Council side-event co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of the Republic of the Maldives and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Geneva. The UK Global Ambassador for Human Rights and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Rita French, JRR Executive Director, Samuel Emonet, DDCOM Chairperson, Fareesha Abdulla, a representative of victims’ families, Moosa Rilwan, and one of JRR’s roster experts deployed in the Maldives all took part in the event.
“We have been waiting for 9 long years. We will not give up. We are desperate for justice; we are desperate for closure,” declared Moosa Rilwan during his intervention. Mr. Rilwan, who lost a brother and a close friend during the regime of former President Abdulla Yameen, praised the transparency with which DDCom has conducted its activities by engaging in a real dialogue with the victims’ families, thus making sure they are kept appraised of the developments in their respective cases. He also spoke about his feeling of being an integral part of the mechanisms put in place to bring effective justice to the victims.
Since its establishment in 2018, DDCom has been instrumental in advancing new lines of inquiry by relying on innovative investigative strategies and methods, supported by JRR experts. One of the main achievements of DDCom’s work has been the creation and operationalization of a witness protection programme, the first of its kind in the country. This programme has fostered trust from the public toward a state-led investigation, and contributed to securing more testimonies from witnesses that were previously afraid of coming forward as they feared for their security.
“DDCom is a great example of the combination of the main ingredients to bring effective justice to victims: courage, patience, dedication, professionalism, and expertise. It is a demonstration of the powerful alliance between international and national experts, who are putting the victim at the heart of their action, to investigate human rights violations and international crimes in a manner which provides local ownership and accountability,” said Samuel Emonet.
This side event was the occasion to foster a discussion aimed at strengthening ongoing efforts in similar State-led investigations into human rights violations and to make the case for the implementation of a victim-centered approach. JRR has a long track-record of pushing forward this approach as it believes it contributes to creating the prerequisite conditions to build lasting peace and help achieve the 2030 Development Agenda.
JRR’s deployments in the Maldives were made possible thanks to the contributions of the United-Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth Development Office.