President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Tuesday, asserted that the Maldivian government remains committed to upholding democracy and human rights.
In his message on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy, the President expressed that the administration "places a high priority in protecting their democratic rights" and emphasised the importance of government transparency.
He also welcomed the citizens' efforts to hold the government accountable according to internationally accepted democratic standards.
Furthermore, President Solih noted that like every other country affected by Covid-19, the pace of social, political and economic activity has slowed in the Maldives and called upon all individuals, as well as state and government institutions to rally together, uphold democratic principles, and collectively strive to build back better from the disease.
Stressing that "we can fully avail ourselves of the benefits of democracy once the country recovers from the disease, the President urged everyone to practice individual responsibility, and follow social distancing measures.
His statements were made at a time when negative sentiments grow louder fuelled by the government's movements in various areas particularly that which is in contrast of electoral pledges made by the ruling Maldives Democratic Party.
Recently, advocacy collective such as 'MinivanEh Noon' (which loosely translates to 'We are not free'), highlighting issues including the lack of justice, safety and opportunities for women, spoke out against the government's failure to address their concerns.
Current opposition coalition of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC) took to the streets, voicing concerns over the incumbent administration "selling off Maldives" and calling for the released of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, currently serving a five-year jail sentence on money laundering charges.
Claiming that Yameen was the "solution" for the country's issues, participants of the demonstration also called for President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's resignation.
In the months of June and July, a number of rallies were held by concerned citizens, advocacy collectives and opposition over a number of issues, including impunity for sexual offenders appointed to public office, lack of measures to ensure the safety of women and children and over its continued tolerance over severe mistreatment of expatriate workers in the country.
Though the president himself has previously acknowledged the exploitation of expatriates, of which a majority are Muslims, working across the island nation, he remained silent amidst the public uproar over various high-profile cases of alleged human trafficking, withholding of wages, poor living condition and other human rights violations that surfaced in the past few months.