President Nasheed has said that governments everywhere must see peaceful protests not as a threat, but as an opportunity, to start a dialogue with the people and to begin the process of reform.

The President made the comments during a keynote speech on Tuesday at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

In his address, President Nasheed said that the recent uprisings in the Middle East, where protestors have brought down dictatorial regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, have changed the course of human history. “This year’s protests show, that the power of the government to control information has been broken forever,” he said.

Stressing the importance of establishing individual liberties and a sustainable rule with the consent of the governed, the President spoke out against leaders that placed their interests over those of their people.

The President said that following globalization and the democratization of information, “governments simply have no option” but to listen to the demands of pro-democracy protestors. “In a time of awakening, Muslims across the world are standing up, governments must see peaceful protests not as a threat but as an opportunity,” said the President.

President Nasheed delivered this address to the entire United Nations, including the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council, accredited organizations and the NGO community.