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Maldives Background

Since 2019, ABA ROLI has partnered with justice sector institutions in the Republic of Maldives to support access to justice and increase the efficiency and responsiveness of the justice sector.

Following a government transition in 2019, the Republic of Maldives prioritized reforming the justice sector to improve transparency and accountability, responsiveness to citizens, and access to justice. To support these reforms, ABA ROLI has partnered with government institutions and non-governmental organizations to support judicial reform, legal profession development, access to justice, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering.

From 2019-2020, ABA ROLI implemented the USAID/CEPPS Maldives Executive Transition Support Rapid Response Program, with the goal of supporting judicial reforms that reflect international norms and best practices; the USAID Human Rights Support Mechanism program to train journalists, CSOs, and lawyers on trial monitoring and litigation; and the Technical Assistance to the Judicial Service Commission Project, to support the judicial oversight body. Through these programs, ABA ROLI supported the start up of the newly-created Bar Council of the Maldives in the creation of its bylaws, regulations, and institutional and governance structure; developed criteria and processes for  judicial appointments and nominations; provided advice and assistance for the development of a merit-based judicial performance evaluation system; and trained Executive Branch officials on strategic communications related to justice sector reform priorities.

Building on the results of previous programs, in August 2020 ABA ROLI began the Strong and Inclusive Maldivian Democracy (SIMD) Program. In partnership with the USAID Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (USAID/CEPPS), ABA ROLI’s component of the SIMD Program works to increase the efficiency and responsiveness of the Maldivian justice sector. To achieve this goal, ABA ROLI strengthens the capacity and operations of justice sector institutions and assists them in implementing reforms that reflect internationally-accepted good practices for the justice sector, creating strong, independent, and transparent institutions; provides technical assistance and expertise to create an effective, independent, and competent legal profession that will play a leading role in promoting and upholding the cause of justice now and in the future; and works to increase the availability of free and low cost civil and criminal legal aid, make it easier for people needing legal assistance to find pro bono lawyers, and ensure that people know their rights and understand the legal system. ABA ROLI implements SIMD in partnership with local organizations including the Bar Council of the Maldives, Public Interest Law Center, and Maldives Law Institute as well as governmental and judicial institutions.

Since 2020, ABA ROLI has also implemented the South Asia Transnational Partnerships against Money Laundering (Stop ML) program in the Maldives.