UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern on the increasing polarisation in the Maldives, which has made dialogue among the Government and political parties increasingly difficult. This is the second time during the year when UN chief expressed concern over the increasingly autocratic regime under President Abdulla Yameen.
Ban Ki-moon in a statement released on Saturday said:
Earlier in May, Ban had also expressed the need to establish political dialogue among all stakeholders and urged the Maldivian government to grant clemency to former president Mohamed Nasheed who was locked up in Maafushi jail that time.
Besides the apex human rights body, other human rights watchdog had been expressing concern over the deteriorating political situation in the country. Here’s what all has been said so far:
On Muzzling Political Voice
In September, CHRI said that the nations is sliding into a dictatorial system once again and the situation will soon push the island nation into the brink of violence and anarchy.
Following CHRI’s report Commonwealth had put the Maldives on agenda and threatened suspension by March next year. However, President and his men decided to leave the Commonwealth on October 13.
In August, United States’ lawmakers slammed government by saying that the legitimate political space is “narrowing” in the country. The US blamed government’s intolerance for putting many opposition politicians behind bars adding that they are being sent to jail after flawed judicial processes.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the 32nd Human Rights Council session in Geneva in July had expressed concern about the “shrinking democratic space” in the country and said the use of terrorism related charges “troubled” him.
In July, European Union opposed to capital punishment in “all cases and without exception” and urged government to continue to apply the “’de facto moratorium’” on executions as a first step towards its abolition.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also expressed worry over implementation of death penalty in the country. He also cited the “flagrant irregularities” in Humam’s trial, describing it as “a rushed process that appears to contravene the Maldives’ own laws and practices and international fair trial standards in a number of respects.”
Four United Nations human rights experts in July also urged the government to halt the execution of Hussain Humam Ahmed, and to re-try him in compliance with international standards.They called on the authorities to uphold the unofficial moratorium on capital punishment in force for the last six decades.
Freedom Of Press
In July, Reporters Without Borders, the international watchdog for press freedom, had termed the Maldives’ government’s assault on the country’s independent media “utterly absurd and unacceptable”. The organization slammed President Abdulla Yameen’s regime after a court banned former journalists with the now-defunct newspaper, Haveeru, from working at any other organization, saying it could only lead to authoritarianism and the end of democracy.
Benjamin Ismaïl, head of Asia-Pacific desk at the RSF, said:
Maldives has been ranked 112th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2015 World Press Freedom Index, after falling 60 places since 2010.
Nasheed’s Trial & Human Right Abuses
In May, European Union adopted a resolution to adopt a resolution seeking imposition of sanctions on the country, the government has hit back calling it “inappropriate” and “irresponsible”.
The resolution was passed condemning the frequent “human rights abuses” committed during President Abdulla Yameen’s regime.
Around same time, an official fact-finding mission report prepared by the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) raised questions over the arrest of former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed saying that it was without legal basis and that he must be provided with a transparent appeal hearing.
Renowned human rights body Amnesty International termed the conviction of Nasheed after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a “travesty of justice.”