Towards Human Rights Due Diligence: A Review of the Legal Framework and Compliance Mechanisms for Corporate Human Rights Responsibilities in the Maldives
Keywords:human rights due diligence,, human rights, business corporations
The Constitution of the Maldives devotes a separate chapter setting out the fundamental human rights and freedoms. The Maldives is also a signatory to six of the eight core international human rights treaties that recognises fundamental human rights and outlines the responsibility of the state to respect, protect and fulfill those rights. The Constitution also mandates the state to take measures to prevent human rights violations perpetrated by non-state actors. Despite these safeguards, human rights abuses committed by business corporations remains a common occurrence in the country, and the institutional structures to address such abuses continue to be weak. The purpose of this research is to analyse the current legal framework of the Maldives to identify human rights obligations, such as the human rights due diligence (HRDD) mechanisms placed on business corporations. Using a doctrinal approach, we reviewed legal texts including applicable legislations and judicial decisions, and critically analysed them by comparing to international human rights standards. The analysis concludes that the current legal framework of the Maldives addressing human rights dimensions of corporate action comply with the global minimum standards, albeit with some significant gaps. Some of these laws contain provisions for HRDD mechanisms that need further strengthening through additional legal reforms and strong policy directions. This paper brings to light several weaknesses of the current legal framework in terms of having an HRDD mechanism to address, prevent, and remedy human rights violations caused by business conduct. Based on the findings of the legal framework analysis, this paper recommends that a state-initiated business and human rights national framework, such as a National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP-BHR), would strengthen the existing protection mechanisms for human rights and help address corporate abuses of human rights in the Maldives.
Abdulla Jamiu v Attorney General’s Office. (2019). 2016/HC-A/553., High Court.
Attorney General’s Office. (2016). National Human Rights Framework.
Bentz, A.-S., & Carsignol, A. (2021). Maldives’ Migrants The Other Side of Paradise: Economic Exploitation, Human Trafficking and Human Rights Abuses. https://www.fondation-pierredubois.ch/wp-content/ uploads/2021/03/2021-no3-Bentz.pdf
Business for Social Responsibility. (2019). Human Rights Review, Facebook Oversight Board. https://www.bsr.org/reports/BSR_Facebook_ Oversight_Board.pdf
Bunny Holdings (BVI) Limited v Maldives Inland Revenue Authority. (2013). TAT-CA-G/2013/001, Tax Appeal Tribunal.
Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, (2008).
Deva, S., & Birchall, D. (2020). Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Employment Act No. 2/2008, (2008).
Gender Equality Act (Law Number 18/2016), Pub. L. No. (Law Number 18/2016) (2016).
Gibson, J., Kintominas, A., & Symington, A. (2019). Business and human rights: Current and future challenges. Human Rights Defender, 28(1), 4–7. https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/informit.462830077899016
Global Air Services (Maldives) Pvt Ltd. (2016). High Court 21/A-HC/2.
Human Rights Commission Act (6/2006), (2006).
Mission for Migrant Workers Maldives. (2022). Call for inputs- After one and half year: the impact of COVID-19 on the human rights of migrants. https:// www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Issues/Migration/CFI-COVID/SubmissionsCOVID/CSO/Migrant_Workers_Maldives.pdf
Mohamed, S. (2020). Bodufinolhu Riot: Lawyer Levies Strong Accusations against Seal Maldives. https://edition.mv/news/17758
Naif Abdul Rahman & 22 Others V Maldivian Air Taxi Pvt Ltd. (2021). SC 2013/ SC-A/09.
Newton, A. (2019). The Business of Human Rights: Best Practice and the UNGPs. Routledge.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. (2011). Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. https://www.ohchr.org/ documents/publications/GuidingprinciplesBusinesshr_en.pdf
Quijano, G., & Lopez, C. (2021). Rise of Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence: A Beacon of Hope or a Double-Edge Sword? Journal of Business and Human Rights, 6(2).
Sariya Hasan v Island Beverages Maldives Pvt Ltd. (2013). SC 2013/SC-A/13.
Shavin, C. (2019). Unlocking the Potential of the New OECD Due Diligence Guidance on Responsible Business Conduct. Journal of Business and Human Rights, 4.
The disability Act of Maldives. (2010).
U.S. Department of State. (2021). 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices : Maldives. https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/maldives/
U.S. Department of State. (2022). 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report: Maldives. https://www.state.gov/reports/2021-trafficking-in-persons-report/ maldives/
U.S Department of State. (2020). 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Maldives. https://www.state.gov/
United Nations. (1999). Kofi Annan’s Address to World Economic Forum in Davos. United Nations Secretary-General, 1 February1999. https:// www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/speeches/1999-02-01/kofi-annans-address-world-economic-forum-davos
United Nations Development Programme. (2022). GENDER INEQUALITY INDEX (GII). https://hdr.undp.org/data-center/thematic-composite-indices/ gender-inequality-index#/indicies/GII
United Nations Global Compact. (2021). UN Global Compact Strategy 2021- 2023. https://unglobalcompact.org/library/5869
World Economic Forum. (2022). Global Gender Gap Report 2022. https://www. weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2022/
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Sana Fahmy, Dr. Ahmed Shahid
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.