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Go Vote campaign promoted in Colombo

July 23rd, 2008 · No Comments · Election

Press Release

22 July 2008 – A voter awareness campaign initiated by eight civil society organisations of the Maldives was promoted in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, on Sunday. The ‘Go Vote’ campaign, which aims to educate and empower the Maldivian people ahead of the first multi-party elections in the Maldives this year, was publicised at a mass street rally held to conclude the South Asian People’s Assembly 2008.

Participants from the Maldives who attended the South Asian People’s Assembly, including Maldivian students in Colombo, joined the rally with a Go Vote campaign banner. In addition, campaign banners were displayed at a tent inside Viharamadevi Park where most functions of the South Asian People’s Assembly were held.

Go Vote at Colombo gathering

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Go Vote campaign promoted at concluding session of South Asian People’s Assembly, Colombo

The Go Vote campaign is a joint effort of civil society organisations Hama Jamiyya, Madulu, Maldives Aid, Maldivian Detainee Network, Open Society Association, Rights for All, Strength of Society and Transparency Maldives. The campaign was launched in Male on 6 July with a keynote speech from Dr Peter Hayes, British High Commissioner to the Maldives. The campaign is endorsed by Maldivian Civil Society Network (MCSN).

The South Asian People’s Assembly, held in Colombo from 18-20 July, was a gathering of individuals and groups including civil society organisations, rights activists, trade unions and marginalised communities from the eight countries of South Asia. The event, also known as People’s SAARC, is a timely reminder for the leaders of South Asia that as they meet shortly for the summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), issues such as poverty, inequality, discrimination, hunger and violence remain rampant in the region. Issues such as violence against women, the need for free movement of persons within the region, environmental justice, right to information and religious extremism were discussed at parallel workshops.

MCSN members Transparency Maldives, Maldivian Detainee Network, Maldives Aid and Madulu participated in the event. In addition, civil society groups People’s Foundation Maldives, Maldives NGO Federation, Maldivian Network on Violence against Women and Huvadhoo Association for National Development were represented. Former MP and former Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives Ahmed Mujuthaba, MP and Presidential Candidate for Social Liberal Party Ibrahim Ismail and former MP and co-founder of Maldivian Democratic Party Mohamed Latheef addressed the South Asian People’s Assembly.

Go Vote at South Asian People's Assembly

niOS

Go Vote campaign promoted at mass street rally in Colombo

By promoting the Go Vote Campaign at the South Asian People’s Assembly, the organisers of the campaign aimed to reach out to a wider audience and sensitise the people on the forthcoming election in the Maldives.

“We have plans to reach out to the Maldivian population residing in Sri Lanka, as the opinions formed by the Maldivians abroad will be as crucial to the election as the views of people resident in the country. The Go Vote campaign aims to empower the voters to ensure they make well-informed choices realising that they have legally entitled rights as voters and citizens,” said Mariyam Seena, coordinator of Maldives Aid.

The Go Vote campaign will include public forums, radio and TV programs, music shows, booklets and posters to ensure a high turn out and public participation in an election that is expected to be an important milestone in the country’s transition to a democracy. The first public forum under the campaign will be held at Dharubaaruge Faashana Maalam at 9.00 pm on Wednesday, 23 July 2008. A wide range of issues related to the election will be discussed by a panel of experts at the forum, while a question and answer session and public discussion will encourage broader interaction and public engagement.

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