The Edition


Over 40 countries to UN Human Rights Council over Maldives govt 'regrettable' decision not to engage

Farah Ahmed
10 March 2018, MVT 19:36
Delegates attend a session of United Nations Human Rights Council on June 6, 2017 in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Farah Ahmed
10 March 2018, MVT 19:36

A joint statement endorsed by over 40 countries, delivered at the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council have addressed the ongoing political crisis in the Maldives and expressed “grave concern” that the human rights situation in the country is deteriorating significantly.

The statement narrated by the UK Mission to UN Geneva on Thursday stated that it was “regrettable that the Government of Maldives has not chosen to engage constructively with [the UN] body and its mechanisms.”

At the UN Human Rights Council session on June 2017, 34 states had supported a statement on the Maldives that underlined the importance of allowing the opposition its freedom of expression, the importance of an independent judiciary, and emphasized the need to uphold constitutional guarantees for human rights.

Therefore, the statement had highlighted how the “situation has further deteriorated significantly” since the session in June, adding that “under the state of emergency declared and prolonged by President [Abdulla] Yameen a large number of human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution were suspended.”

The UK Mission to UN Geneva had called the Maldives government to end the state of emergency that is currently in place, and to free the political prisoners and reinstate the parliamentarians who were unseated for floor-crossing last July.

“We call on the Government of Maldives: to address immediately the deteriorating human rights situation in the country; to end peacefully the state of emergency; to restore all articles of the Constitution; to allow the Supreme Court and other branches of the judiciary to operate in full independence; to permit and support the full, free and proper functioning of Parliament, with the reinstatement of 12 members of the Parliament as ordered by the Supreme Court and to free political prisoners and their family members.”

The statement, which detailed the human rights violations that had taken place since the state of emergency was declared, welcomed the “ongoing attention given to the situation in the Maldives” by High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Council, and urged the Maldivian government to engage with the Council as well as the mechanisms of the Council to “address this extremely worrying situation."

The statement was supported by: Albania, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States