Over 40 countries have expressed ‘grave concern’ over the deteriorating human rights situation in the Maldives, saying that it is ‘regrettable’ that the Government of Maldives ‘has chosen not to engage constructively with this body [UN] and its mechanisms’.
A joint statement narrated at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, supported by a total of 41 countries, noted that 34 nations had, at the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2017, “underlined the importance of allowing activities by opposition parties and political leaders, and space for the expression of diverse political views”.
“The statement stressed the need to respect the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, the importance of independence of the judiciary and emphasized the need to uphold constitutional guarantees for human rights,” they noted.
Hence, they said that it is of “grave concern that in recent weeks the human rights situation has further deteriorated significantly”.
The 41 nations said that they “strongly” supports the talk about the need for the Council “to play a greater role in preventing serious human rights violations and to provide an early warning function”.
They further expressed “regret” that the Maldivian government “has chosen not to engage constructively with this body and its mechanisms,” adding that its response instead has been “to ignore expressions of legitimate concerns and to further restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms in contravention of its domestic and international obligations”.
“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 twelve members of the Parliament as ordered by the Supreme Court, and to free political prisoners and their family members,” they said in the statement.
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.
Earlier on Thursday, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the Maldives to completely reverse measures that curtail democratic principles and human rights taken under its ongoing state of emergency.