It may be good news to see that President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Maldives preoccupies himself with human rights nowadays, just as global warming threatens the islands he has governed for 30 years (“With millions under threat, inaction is unethical“, IHT, Sep 9).
Some people will call his new worry a tad unethical and hypocritical, with him having won six elections as sole Presidential candidate and now trying to get re-elected for a seventh time.
But who knows? Perhaps President Gayoom will reconsider his priorities, and devote himself full time on solving the global warming issue: finally freeing up his people to choose their new, democratic leader. Ah, and to express their opinions unafraid of the State’s repressive policing.
Today’s IHT sported what may be the most absurd climate-related speech by a politician. In a sentence, we are lectured on human rights by somebody that has been President of his country since November 1978.
That’s not all:
- President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is officially the Dictator of the Maldives
- He has been re-elected since 1978 five times, every time by 90%+ of the votes (as sole candidate for the job)
- He is Head of Government, Head of State, Commander-in-Chief (well, George W Bush is that too) but has also been for a very long time Defence Minister and Finance Minister before being ridiculed about it
- having been forced towards democratic reforms, President Gayoom is working hard to get himself re-elected under a Presidential system (for a change)
- as recently as 2003, he was still imposing “severe restrictions on freedom of the press, and political parties were unable to function.” according to Amnesty International
- as recently as August 13, 2004, responded to popular protests by declaring a State of Emergency, sending the police to rough up unarmed civilians, and arrested parliamentarians and members of the opposition
- despite all his earlier promises, President Gayoom has just rescheduled to an unspecified date the first multi-party Presidential elections expected for 10 October
Wouldn’t the above recommend to thread carefully on the subject of human rights, if only to avoid the risk of being called a hypocrite, coming out in the open so clearly picking up only the “human rights” of one’s convenience?
Of course not.
See “With millions under threat, inaction is unethical” by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
And that’s still not all: apparently, President Gayoom has teamed up with Oxfam, and he specifically mentions the upcoming “Climate Wrongs and Human Rights” Oxfam report. Too bad that report contains a lie.
Oh well…what’s a little untruth when there is a chance to prop up a ruler of three decades, by lucky chance exactly during his election campaign?
Oxfam should be more than ashamed by this.