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Maldives builds de-radicalization and rehab center

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih delivers his annual address to the Parliament on February 3, 2020

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Monday, announced the completion of the De-Radicalization and Rehabilitation Center built in K. Hinmafushi.

Construction of facility to a de-radicalize and rehabilitate Maldivian citizens had been one of the amendments to the Counter-Terrorism Act.

The amendment had been added following the President’s decision to work towards securing the repatriation of Maldivian citizens, the wives and children of ISIS fighters, who are being held in camps Syria, and allow them to reintegrate into the Maldivian community following strict de-radicalization and rehabilitation programs.

Construction of the MVR 49 million rehab center had been contracted to Police Welfare Corporation (POLCO) in September 2019.

The President announced the completion of the construction of the rehab center in his annual address at the inauguration of the first session of the Parliament for the new year.

“And the construction of the National Reintegration Center, designed to rehabilitate and reintegrate the Maldivian citizens who return after involvement in terrorist wars abroad, or visits to such war zones, is also complete,” he said.

According to information released by National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC), 173 Maldivian citizens had travelled to Syria to join the civil war; 53 percent of whom were men, 26 percent of whom were women, and 26 percent of whom were children.

Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed had previously commented that while 173 Maldivian citizens had been successful in entering Syria, the actual number of Maldivian citizens who had attempted to enter Syria had been far greater at 423. 250 people had been unsuccessful, and either held by local police before they could leave Maldives, or caught and deported back to Maldives at international borders.

The President, in his presidential address, described the spread of both radical philosophies under the guise of true Islamic faith, and the spread of Islamophobia and blasphemy as a great threat to national security.

He said that the government had worked hard to disclose facts regarding the extent of the threat and to counter the threat the past year.

“These two issues, despite having taken root years back, had remained remedied to this day because the previous governments had refused to acknowledge its existence and refused to warrant it proper attention,” said the President.

He said that his government planned on compiling a national action plan to accommodate the exchange of intelligence among relevant institutions to remedy such issues, and would begin execution of the action plan and launch a monitoring mechanism this year.

“We will establish and execute a central system for inter-institutional communications to counter terrorist and radical philosophies,” said the President.