Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed has said dealing with the wrongs of the past without stymieing the future happiness of the country was one of the major challenges for the government. He made the statement in his address, today, at the Observer Research Foundation of India on the topic “From dictatorship to democracy: a transition in justice”.

In his address, Vice President Dr Waheed said, many people suffered under the former regime, and many of them were using their new-found freedom of speech to demand justice for the crimes that were perpetrated on them and their loved ones.

He said he believed some sort of redress needed to happen, and there were consequences that we might have to face if we ignored what happened during the previous regime and continued as if nothing happened.

Dr Waheed said, there was the fear that, as a society, if we failed to come to terms with the past and collectively accept that the things that happened in the past were wrong, such behaviour could be repeated in future. He said “as a country, we will not have learnt the lesson that human rights abuses are fundamentally wrong.”

However, he said as a result of any effort to provide justice for the past violations of human rights of many people, country’s future development should not be threatened, and its fragile but robust competitive democracy should not be undermined.

The Vice President said, he believed some form of transitional justice was the way forward to ensure that the victims of violations of human rights in the past received justice. He briefly spoke on the forms of transitional justice that had been used under different circumstances in the past.

However, he said, whichever form of transitional justice the Maldives chose to adopt “there are no easy answers, no quick fixes, one size does not fit all. We have to develop our own form of justice that suit our own particular circumstances.”

Vice President Dr Waheed is currently on an official visit to India.