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Montevideo, September 18th 2018 - 13:45 UTC

Maldives quits the Commonwealth over rule of the law and democracy dispute

Saturday, October 15th 2016 - 10:37 UTC
Full article 14 comments
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK is disappointed that the Maldives Government has decided to withdraw from the Commonwealth. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK is disappointed that the Maldives Government has decided to withdraw from the Commonwealth.

Maldives ministry of foreign affairs announced on Friday its decision to quit the Commonwealth of Nations after the organization issued a warning to the country that it could be suspended because of its failure to promote the rule of the law and democracy.

 Maldives ministry of foreign affairs announced on Friday its decision to quit the Commonwealth of Nations after the organization issued a warning to the country that it could be suspended because of its failure to promote the rule of the law and democracy.

Stating that the decision was difficult but inevitable, the foreign ministry said: “Regrettably, the Commonwealth has not recognized that progress and achievements that the Maldives accomplished in cultivating a culture of democracy in the country and in building and strengthening democratic institutions.”

The statement pointed out that the current government has enacted 94 pieces of legislation specifically reinforcing the core values of the Commonwealth and that of these, 69 were specifically targeted toward promoting human rights, strengthening democratic governance and reinforcing the principle of separation of powers.

Stating that these achievements produced “tangible outcomes in strengthening democratic institutions in the country,” the statement claimed the “Commonwealth’s decision to penalize the Maldives was unjustified especially given that the Commission of National Inquiry established with the help of the Commonwealth, found that the transfer of power in the Maldives was consistent with the constitutional provisions.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK is disappointed that the Maldives Government has decided to withdraw from the Commonwealth.

“We believe in the Commonwealth and its commitment to improving the lives of people across all its member states. The Commonwealth is an organization dedicated to developing free and democratic societies, and to promoting peace and prosperity. And we regret that the Maldives has chosen to leave.

”We will continue to work with the Maldives Government to help strengthen democracy, particularly freedom of speech and the media and independence of the judiciary. The stability of the country must be central to what happens next”.

Likewise Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland expressed her disappointment over the decision and stated that the Commonwealth hopes Maldives will later return.

Maldives has been a cause of concern for many human rights organizations and the international community since the resignation of former president Mohamed Nasheed in 2012. Last month Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom signed into law a controversial bill criminalizing defamation with fines and jail terms despite widespread criticism.

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye issued a warning Wednesday condemning the bill approved by the Maldives parliament. In February 2015 Nasheed was arrested for alleged violations of the country's anti-terrorism law.

The next month the Criminal Court of Maldives sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in prison for terrorism-related charges. Nasheed's trial garnered international attention from civil rights advocates.

Immediately following the trial UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned the trial proceedings for violations of due process. In March 2013 Maldives police authorities arrested Nasheed for missing a court appearance over charges that he illegally detained a judge prior to his resignation.

The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. The Asian country is known for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. The capital is Malé and total population is 345.000 according to the World Bank (2013).

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Briton

    Argieland would not be remotely interested in joining an organization that is a direct vestige of Colonialism

    Does that mean that Argentina will not trade with its self,
    being a direct vestige of Colonialism
    Herself like....

    Oct 16th, 2016 - 05:00 pm +2
  • Skip

    “As for the Maldives, why should they not regain full independence of their affairs?”

    Aaaah they are fully independent, you idiot.

    Jeez Nostrils, you were obviously dumb before the Argentinean education system made you even dumber!

    Oct 17th, 2016 - 04:12 pm +2
  • Kanye

    Freedom of speech is paramount for a free society.

    Hopefully, this situation can be changed and the Maldives re-admitted to the Commonwealth.

    Oct 15th, 2016 - 02:46 pm +1
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