Nihan Zafar

I am a dissident from Maldives living in exile. For some, Maldives is a picture-perfect paradise; for others, it is a hell-hole of human rights abuses and torture.

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Latest posts by Nihan Zafar

Maldives: Election fever in blogosphere

  15 October 2008

The presidential election being held in Maldives is the first multi-party election in the country. This election is believed by many Maldivians as their chance to bring democracy to a country that has been ruled dictatorially by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom since he became president in November 1978. Gayoom has ruled...

Maldives: Non-Muslims to be Barred from Citizenship?

  14 August 2008

On 7 August, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the President of the Maldives, and Asia's longest serving ruler, ratified the amended constitution of the country. It culminated a process of constitutional amendment that lasted four years. One controversial amendment would prevent non-Muslims from becoming citizens of the Maldives, curtailing freedom of religion in the country.

Maldives: Living with contaminated groundwater

  23 March 2008

As the world observed World Water Day on March 22, issues concerning sanitation and access to safe water were discussed and debated in the media. This year’s theme for WWD is sanitation as 2008 is the International Year of Sanitation. Maldivian bloggers have brought water and sanitation issues to the...

Maldives: Aftermath of an assassination attempt

  14 January 2008

It looks like a scene out of a Tintin or Asterix comic book. On January 8, during a campaign tour of a northern atoll, while the Maldives dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was shaking hands with people gathered to welcome him at Hoarafushi island, a 20 year-old lunged at him with...

Maldives: Inhumane Treatment of Migrant Workers

  3 September 2007

The Maldivian government was able to prevent Bangladeshi migrant workers’ community in the capital Malé from holding a demonstration on Friday, by using the threat of deportation. The Bangladeshi community, consisting of mainly unskilled workers, was trying to protest against the rise of xenophobia in the Maldives, and increasing attacks...

Maldives: Secret Haven for Pedophiles

  6 August 2007

Maldivian bloggers are expressing outrage over the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the country and the lack of firm action by the government to address the issue. Maldives has been rocked by the news of four rapists receiving a light sentence after a judge decided that because the raped...

Maldives: Jamming to save the islands from submerging

  16 July 2007

In Greek mythology singing of the Sirens were so sweet and melodic that sailors were lured into the sea and met fateful deaths. On July 07, or the date known better as 07.07.07, music and melodies were used by Maldivians as they pondered about the fate that sea level rise...

Maldives police accused of torture and killing a young man

  20 April 2007

Torture by Maldivian police on detainees has come under spotlight once again with the discovery of a badly beaten body from water in the morning of April 15 in the capital Male’. The young man Hussain Solah was under police custody a few days before his death. Even though the...

Maldives: Torture Techniques in Paradise

  26 February 2007

The blog Groundsix notes some of the torture techniques used on detainees and prisoners in the Maldives. Putting in stocks: The victim is restrained with his or her ankles and wrists locked in tiny holes in a block of wood. The victim remains bent and does not have the use...

Press freedom watchdogs slam Maldives

  7 February 2007

Major international press freedom watchdogs have recently slammed the Maldives for the Indian Ocean country’s bad record in press freedom. Reporters without Borders (RSF) has criticized the Maldives for violations of press freedom in its 2007 annual report. Information Minister, Mohamed Nasheed, who in May 2006 met members of an...

Maldives struggles with Chikungunya

  30 January 2007

Chikungunya, a viral fever accompanied with joint pains, is spreading throughout the Maldives. The disease was first noticed in the country in late 2006 and so far it has not been controlled. Maldives Today accuses the government of reacting slowly to this outbreak and not taking appropriate measures to combat...

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