President Mohamed Nasheed has said that the Maldivian government was no longer on the defensive about allegations of human rights abuse. The President made this statement during a meeting held yesterday with the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Ms Irene Khan.

In the meeting, the President said that the Government attached a very high priority to improving human rights safeguards in the country.

Noting that since 11 November 2008 only two inmates had complained of torture in the prison, the President informed Ms Khan that a presidential commission had been established to investigate those allegations.

Also, informing Ms Khan on the priority areas of the government, President Nasheed said that the government was working on providing affordable housing; providing quality and affordable healthcare; preventing drug abuse and trafficking; providing affordable living; and, establishing a nationwide transport system.

Speaking further, the President said that the government has made arrangements to prevent the occurrence of physical and psychological torture in the country.

Separately, the President has also met with senior officials of the English PEN. At the meeting, the President briefed the officials on the status of human rights in the Maldives.
Both the Amnesty International and English PEN had long advocated reforming the standards of human rights in the Maldives.

During his visit to the UK, the President also gave interviews to several prominent news media, including the BBC World Today and Aljazeera.