The European Union (EU) Monday warned the Maldivian government of potential “targeted measures” on its officials, if the current political situation does not fall in line with democratic principles and separation of powers.
The Council of the European Union had issued a statement briefing seven conclusions on the “deteriorating situation in the Maldives” and “called on its authorities, particularly law enforcement forces, to act with restraint.”
Acknowledging the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on February 1, the Council had also called on the government to “immediately lift the state of emergency, and restore all constitutionally guaranteed rights” to the citizens.
“The Council calls upon Maldivian authorities to respect the rule of law, and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression and the right to fair trial,” the statement read.
Further, it had also called for the “immediate release of all political prisoners,” and condemned the politically motivated arrests. It had also condemned any interference with the work of the Supreme Court and the actions taken against the judiciary and judges.
“The Council underlines that the parliament and the judiciary should be enabled to return to their normal functioning in accordance with the Constitution.”
The EU Council had also expressed concern about the possible impact on the security of foreign residents and visitors to the country, including tourists, due to Maldives’ current political situation.
“The Council calls on the Government of the Maldives to engage with the leaders of the opposition in a genuine dialogue that paves the way for credible, transparent and inclusive Presidential elections.”
The statement concluded with the EU Council declaring that it is ready to support UN facilitation of such a dialogue with the opposition.
Meanwhile, Persus Strategies LLC, which offers legal services and advisory services to non-profit organizations, governments and individuals, published a report titled “Moving from Condemnation to Action,” which outlines a case for the EU to impose “restrictive measures on serious human rights abusers in the Maldives.”
The report was prepared by former President Mohamed Nasheed’s lawyer, Jared Genser.
The sternly worded report had recommended the EU Council to impose human rights-based sanctions in response to the crisis in the Maldives, which includes targeted asset freezes and travel bans, for those implicated in major human rights abuses in the country. Genser’s report stated that the EU Council could only bring about the necessary results “if accompanied by concrete action that carries real consequences for the top perpetrators of human rights abusers.”
The report drew in-depth examples from instances where the EU had refused to tolerate governments that carry out repression and human rights abuses that are similar to the actions of the current administration in the Maldives, and noted that “asset freezes and travel bans have proven to be effective in bringing about change in repressive governments, as well as securing the human rights protection and long-term safety of those governed by such regimes.”
It also highlighted several human rights abuses that has occurred in the Maldives over the past four years, which includes: arbitrary arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, torture and other cruel treatment or punishment, the death penalty, restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms, culture of impunity and interference with the rule of law in the Maldives.
In its call for action, Genser had accused President Abdulla Yameen’s of imposing a “severely authoritarian rule in the Maldives” and that “democracy and human rights in the Maldives are at great risk.”
“The severity and breadth of the abuses committed by top government officials in Yameen’s administration, coupled with their interference in democratic institutions, reaffirm the need for the EU to take swift, concrete action.”
Genser, in his 68-page report to the EU, had also said that repression and instability is accelerating in the Maldives and that “the time to act is now.”