The United States of America has on Thursday announced its decision to adopt sanctions on the Maldives if the political situation in the country does not improve and if the country does not return to democratic principles.
Heather Nauert, Spokesperson at the U.S Department of State publicized the statement by the U.S Department of State on Thursday afternoon in a post on her official twitter account.
The statement reveals concerns on “continued democratic backsliding” in the country, specifically at a time the country is headed towards a Presidential Election which is over a fortnight away. The statement reads that the U.S joins the international community’s call for the release of unfairly detained polticial prisoners and for the immediate implementation of the initial Supreme Court ruling on the 01st of February that ordered the release of political prisoners and reinstatement of opposition lawmakers. It further called to bring an end to the “executive interference in the Parliament and Judiciary”, to bring back respect for human rights as well as fundamental freedoms and also to ensure the progression of a free, fair and transparent Presidential Election on the 23rd of September.
“The restoration of democratic institutions and practices, to include a free, fair and inclusive election held on its scheduled date of September 23, is of critical importance to Maldives future. Absent Maldives return to a democratic path, the United States will consider appropriate measures against those individuals who undermine democracy, the rule of law and a free and fair electoral process” reads the statements by the U.S Department of State.
The United States is concerned about continued democratic backsliding in #Maldives. The restoration of democratic institutions and practices, to include a free, fair, and inclusive election held on its scheduled date of September 23, is of critical importance to Maldives’ future. pic.twitter.com/usqn4Hi1ps— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) September 6, 2018
While the U.S had made this declaration, in early August, the European Union revealed the decision to impose sanctions on certain entities and bodies of the Maldives that go against human rights practices and violates the rule of law with a hint that sanctions could be stepped up if there are no visible improvements to the country’s political situation. Since, the EU’s council adopted the framework for “targeted restrictive measures against persons and entities responsible for undermining the rule of law or obstructing an inclusive political situation in the Maldives as well as persons and entities responsible for human rights violations” adding that “this decision makes it possible, if the situation does not improve, to impose travel ban and asset freeze on relevant individuals and entities”.
U.S announcement comes not long after the state media of the Maldives, Public Service Media (PSM) began circulating reports that the Embassy of the US accredited to both Sri Lanka and Maldives held a secret cable with the US Department of State to diminish the Maldives National Defense Force, with the support of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party.’
The Embassy has since dismissed these claims as misinformation.