American NGO Condemns Maldives Constitution Over Religion Clause

August 9, 2008

Author: Olivia Lang

Source: Minivan News

An American-based NGO promoting religious pluralism has condemned the Maldives’ new constitution over a clause requiring all citizens to be Muslims, saying it does not conform to international norms and human rights.

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP) says the regulation in the country’s new constitution – ratified on Thursday – undermines basic guarantees of rights and freedoms.

The move follows criticism from US Ambassador Robert Blake, who also said the clause violated international covenants, describing it as a “concern” earlier this week.

The clause was left unchanged in the constitutional drafting process – despite being flagged up as a controversial issue – due to its sensitive nature in an Islamic country.