The Republic of Maldives is the lowest country in the world, with its highest point only at 5.1 metres – the height of two and a half men standing on each other’s shoulders! What the Maldives may lack in height, it more than makes up for with its natural beauty, consisting of 1,192 coral islands.
The climate change emergency means that many coral reefs are dying in the Maldives and of course rising sea levels threaten island communities. Only this week the UN Special Rapporteur in Cultural Affairs warned that assistance would be needed from the international community to address climate change in the Maldives.
On another important local issue, the Special Rapporteur added at a press conference in the capital Malé, “I have heard many worrying reports of extremist positions being advocated, including online and by teachers, and of people being harassed and threatened by those motivated by fundamentalist ideology.”
These online threats are of particular concern when put in context that 250 Maldivians left to fight in Syria, making it the highest number per capita rate in South East Asia. Some of those who have returned have been prosecuted, but acquitted due to insufficient evidence. It was timely, therefore, that a team of UNODC experts participated in a workshop this week to advance efforts to access e-Evidence to support terrorism recruitment investigations.
I presented the UN Practical Guide on Requesting e-Evidence Across Borders and ran exercises on securing admissible evidence from social media providers to support prosecutions of foreign terrorist fighters. It was encouraging to see the participants use online tools and complete procedures for the first time to secure the e-Evidence needed for successful prosecutions.
Wider dissemination of how to make requests for e-Evidence to other countries remains fundamental for terrorism, cybercrime, child exploitation, money laundering, corruption and other serious organised crime investigations and we continue to attend priority jurisdictions to explain the support available.