Male’, Maldives – Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has said that they cannot fulfill their legal mandate with the MVR 24 Million allocated to the commission in the 2021 budget.
The 2021 budget submitted to Parliament by the Ministry of Finance grants HRCM with a budget of MVR 24.9 Million.
Speaking the Parliament’s budget committee today, HRCM member Moomina Waheed said that HRCM has been tasked with various work under HRCM laws, anti-torture laws and whistleblower laws.
She explained that the commission submitted a budget of MVR 39 Million which was later reduced to MVR 30 Million after discussions with the Ministry of Finance, but when the budget was submitted to Parliament, it was lowered MVR 24 Million, and that with this budget, it would be impossible to complete everything the commission is tasked with.
Moomina said that all work cannot be done online and that HRCM wishes to visit citizens in atolls but this will not be possible due the low budget, and that they cannot employ new members for different necessary units due the shallow budget.
She added that the current budget only allows for employee salary payments and rent.
At today’s committee meeting, Information commisioner Hussain Fiyaz also expressed his concern for the low budget allocated for his commission, saying that he understands the current situation does not allow for a larger budget but that if other commissions get an increased budget, he wishes for to committee to increase the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICOM) budget in the same ratio.
Fiyaz said that his commission prevents a large sum of money from being embezzled from the government by corruption through ICOM’s release of information and that this work will be greatly hindered in 2021.