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Skip to comments.Maldives – non-Muslim Maldivians to lose their citizen rights as new constitution is ratified
Posted on 10/11/2008 11:42:55 AM PDT by GreatHeart
On 7 August the President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, ratified a new constitution that is designed to bring key democratic reforms to the country, including a bill of rights. It paves the way for the first multi-party presidential elections, which take place on Wednesday 8 October.
However, the new constitution is based on the common Maldivian assumption that any citizen of the Maldives is also automatically a Muslim. It states that “a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives” and that “no law contrary to any tenet of Islam shall be enacted in the Maldives”.
As a consequence of this clause, around 3,000 Maldivians will lose their citizenship, and it will also affect anyone who in the future converts from Islam. Under the previous constitution Maldivian Christians and other non-Muslims were excluded “only” from voting in elections. Now they will be stripped of citizen rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of movement and habeas corpus. This measure puts the Maldives among the world’s worst countries in regard to religious freedom.