August 17, 2016
CAMDEN, SC – The Mullikin Law Firm (MLF) – in coordination with the American Bar Association–United Nations Development Programme (ABA-UNDP) International Legal Resource Center (ILRC) – was retained to examine best practices for legal services to support the Republic of Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean.
The Mullikin Law Firm provided a case study on the country of Thailand wherein the firm identified successes and gaps in their legal assistance programs’ structure as well as the vulnerable communities’ access to legal assistance. This report was used at the Maldives’ first National Pro Bono Conference, which focused on improving access to justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
The extraordinary coordination of the ABA-UNDP International Legal Resource Center contributed to overwhelming success of this project, and “hopefully the final report brought assistance to the people of Maldives and the vulnerable communities that are in need,” said Tom Mullikin, founding pres. and managing partner of the Mullikin Law Firm.
The Maldives project was not the first legal services and support collaboration between the Mullikin Law Firm and ABA-UNDP. The Mullikin Law Firm team – working in coordination with the ABA-UNDP International Legal Resources Center – led an international group of 50-plus attorneys and subject-matter experts in a review of the Republic of Fiji’s proposed mineral and seabed mining legislation; drafting provisions for mining standards and facilitating stakeholder engagement of the various disparate interests.
“Tom Mullikin has a huge heart for Fiji, the Pacific Rim nations, and the world,” said Tevita Boseiwaqa, permanent secretary, Fiji’s Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources. “What Mullikin and his team has done is strengthening the foundation of Fiji’s economy so that we as a nation may thrive in the global marketplace, while protecting both the Fijian people and our rich natural resources for many years to come.”
Mullikin plans to bring the same spirit of relationship-building as well as the Mullikin Law Firm’s structured and innovative approaches to assisting and serving the Fijian people; to the people of the Republic of Maldives.
An island-nation of 26 atolls stretching across an area southwest of India and Sri Lanka and comprising some 35,000 square miles, the Maldives is said to be “one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries.” It is home to more than 393,500 inhabitants. In recent years, the nation has been rocked by both natural disaster (the Dec. 2004 tsunami) and political upheaval (which has somewhat subsided since 2015).
The Maldives continues to struggle with severe flooding and other environmental issues. And according to a 2012 report by the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, “the most significant” human rights problems in the country are “corruption, lack of religious freedom, and abuse and unequal treatment of women.”