Foundation delivered the first workshop on “Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Judicial Decision-making” Addu City, Maldives

Between 18-19 February 2024, 20 Magistrate Court Judges from Gnaviyani Atoll, Laamu Atoll, Gaafu Alifu Atoll, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, Thaa Atoll, Dhaalu Atoll and Meemu Atoll attended the first out of three workshops to be delivered in the Maldives’ atolls throughout 2024 for magistrate judges on this topic.

The workshops form part of the second stage of the Training-of-Trainers programme organised and delivered by the Max Planck Foundation with the support of the Department of Judicial Administration and the Judicial Academy since 2023. Following the completion of both Training-of-Trainers programmes in 2023, judges from Specialised Courts, the High Court and the Supreme Court cascade their experience together with the acquired knowledge and skills through three capacity-building workshops for magistrates of the Maldives in 2024.

The goal of the programme is to introduce the magistrate judges to the concept of a human rights-based approach to judicial reasoning and recognise its significance to advance the rights of vulnerable and marginalised individuals, such as women, children, persons with disabilities, migrant workers, and persons deprived of liberty.


The workshop was delivered by the Foundation together with two training judges, who had participated in the first two Training-of-Trainers on this topic – Justice Mohamed Shaneez Abdulla, from the High Court of the Maldives and Judge Abdul Sattar Abdul Hameed, from the Drug Court of the Maldives.

The first day commenced with an introduction to International Human Rights Law, and the obligations that stem out of the international instruments ratified by the Maldives.

This was followed by a session on conceptualising a human rights-based approach in judicial reasoning, exemplified with case studies from other jurisdictions to highlight methods employed by judges that can have a ripple effect on the rights of most vulnerable individuals. The final session of the first day was dedicated to introducing the interrelated principles of equality and non-discrimination and the core human rights treaties that prohibit discrimination with their parallel protections in Maldivian laws and the Maldivian Constitution. The second day continued with a session on gender-based violence as a form of discrimination, with the view of identifying survivor-centred approaches to improve the way gender-based violence is tackled by the justice system, followed by a session on fair trial rights and the various ways their observances can be enhanced. The participants discussed and analysed the hurdles they face in their day-to-day work and identified ways for improvement. After that the rights of the child under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the corresponding Maldivian provisions in the 2020 Child Rights Protection Act and the 2019 Juvenile Justice Act were looked at as well as case studies examined to discuss and assess, together with the magistrates, the considerations that should be taken into account when deciding on the best interest of the child in custody and visitation rights cases.

The workshop concluded with an exercise-based session, where participants were asked to analyse the merits of a case on the aforementioned topics, identify the applicable laws and principles with the view of applying a human rights-based approach to the cases at hand, and present their findings to the larger forum. Remarks from Chief Regional Magistrate, Mohamed Hashim, who spoke on behalf of the participants and the training Judges, rounded off the workshop.

This workshop was the first in the Roll-out programme, with another two planned to take place in Ukulhas and Kulhudhuffushi later this year under the German Federal Foreign Office-funded project At the Crossroad Between Progressive Reforms and Democratic Backsliding: Supporting the Stabilisation of the Maldives’.