We need support, not bullying, says Maldives

Made in the context of the demand by European Parliament and the CMAG for release of detained political leaders

Updated - November 26, 2021 10:23 pm IST

Published - March 03, 2016 04:55 pm IST - COLOMBO:

Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has asserted that her government “will not be apologetic” for upholding the rule of law despite “international pressure.”

Asserting that the government had made it a “priority” to respect the law, the Foreign Minister, while addressing the 31 session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, said: “We are asked by some, to set aside the laws in place, for one or two individuals. Such suggestions undermine efforts to protect human rights in the country.”

On freeing detained political leaders

Her observations were made in the context of demands by a number of bodies such as the European Parliament and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) that all detained political leaders be released.

The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in its finding published in October last on the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed (who was sentenced in March last year to 13 years in prison), held that “there were several serious due process violations, which, taken together, suggest that Mr. Nasheed did not receive a fair trial.”

The European Parliament, in its resolution in December last, concluded that the sentencing of the former President was done on “politically-motivated charges.” It also referred to the imprisonment of former Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb; former Defence Ministers Tholhath Ibrahim and Mohamed Nazim, and chief of the Ahdaalath Party Imran Abdulla. Last month, the CMAG expressed its “continuing concern regarding political space available to the opposition — including detention or custody in the country.”

Into an “advanced democracy”

Ms. Maumoon, in her speech at the UNHRC, said her government was working with “its international partners, to ensure that people have confidence in the legal framework.” It would transform Maldives into an “advanced democracy.”

She added that “to achieve that, we need support and encouragement, to light up the road ahead. But we definitely do not wish to be bullied as we climb uphill on this journey. All we are asking is to give the people of the Maldives the chance, the space, and to give us the privilege to work at our own pace, in our own way, facing our challenges, and learning from them.”

Meanwhile, a report posted on the website of “Maldives Independent,” a media organisation, quoted Abdulla Yameen, during his visit to the northern island of Utheemu on Tuesday, as saying that representatives of India and Pakistan at the recent meeting of the CMAG spoke “in defence” of the government of the Maldives, after he spoke to Prime Ministers of the two Asian countries “at length.” The report, quoting the President, added that “we were saved because of the work” of the neighbours.

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