Human rights commissioner resigns

Human rights commissioner resigns
May 13 15:01 2017

Shifaq Mufeed ‘Histo,’ the vice president of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives, resigned from his post on Thursday.

Mufeed confirmed his resignation to local media but has yet to comment on the reasons for his decision.

The resignation follows differences of opinion between Mufeed and other members of the commission. In July last year, Mufeed slammed his colleagues for “condemning the media” for its coverage of HRCM’s audit report for 2015.

The audit found that the commission made no effort to recover MVR1.15 million (US$74,500) owed by employees and spent MVR97,569 (US$6,300) in excess of its annual budget.

Mufeed also criticised the commission for cancelling a job announcement for a director after complaints were levelled at HRCM members.

He suggested that the right course of action would have been to ask the anti-corruption watchdog investigate the issue in order to clear the members of wrongdoing.

“Cancelling the announcement is an admission. When such things occur and the audit office, various institutions, and the media talk about it, it is not sensible to release statements saying we condemn it,” he said.

Mufeed also appeared on the opposition-aligned Raajje TV at the time. The commission does not face political influence but needs to use its legal powers better, he said.

The former lawmaker was appointed to the human rights watchdog in August 2015 following the expiry of the five-year terms of the independent commission’s previous members. The ruling party-dominated parliament approved Mufeed as the HRCM’s vice president in October.

Mufeed represented the mid-Fuvahmulah constituency as a Maldivian Democratic Party MP in the 16th People’s Majlis. He joined the now-ruling Progressive Party of Maldives in May 2012, weeks after the ousting of the MDP government on February 7, 2012.

In July 2013, Mufeed quit the PPM, joined the Jumhooree Party and backed its candidate Gasim Ibrahim in the 2013 presidential election. He did not seek re-election in the May 2014 parliamentary elections and went back to the PPM in March 2015.