As President Abdulla Yameen imposed a 15-day State of Emergency in the Maldives on Monday night after refusing to comply with a Supreme Court order to release nine political detainees including former president Mohammed Nasheed, various nations and human rights groups reacted sharply to the development.
Reacting to the state of emergency, the United States urged government of the Maldives to “comply with the rule of law, implement the Supreme Court’s ruling”.
“The United States is troubled and disappointed by reports that Maldivian President Yameen has declared a State of Emergency, which gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects, bans public gatherings, imposes travel restrictions, and suspends parts of the Maldivian Constitution. The President, army, and police have also failed to obey a lawful Supreme Court ruling, contrary to the Constitution and rule of law,” the United States State Department today said in a statement.
“The United States calls on President Yameen, the army, and police to comply with the rule of law, implement the Supreme Court’s ruling and the rulings of the Criminal Court, ensure the full and proper functioning of the Parliament, and restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people and institutions of the Maldives,” it added.
“America stands with the people of Maldives. The Maldivian government and military must respect the rule of law, freedom of expression, and democratic institutions. The world is watching”, the White House National Security Council said in a Twitter post.
America stands with the people of Maldives. The Maldivian government and military must respect the rule of law, freedom of expression, and democratic institutions. The world is watching.
— NSC (@WHNSC) February 5, 2018
Britain and Australia also urged the Maldives to end its state of emergency and respect the rule of law.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in a statement said, “I am gravely concerned about the declaration of a state of emergency in Maldives, and the accompanying suspension of fundamental rights. The damage being done to democratic institutions in Maldives and the sustained misuse of process in Parliament is deeply worrying.”
“I call on President Yameen and the Government of Maldives to peacefully end the state of emergency, restore all articles of the constitution, take immediate steps to implement in full the order of the Supreme Court, and to permit and support the full, free and proper functioning of Parliament.”
Australian ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Bryce Hutchesson in a statement said “The Australian Government is concerned about recent developments in the Maldives. The Australian Government notes the Maldives Supreme Court ruling on 1 February 2018, requiring the release of opposition leaders and reinstatement of elected members of parliament. As an Indian Ocean friend, the Australian Government calls on all parties to respect the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the Supreme Court’s decision.”
On the other hand, India and China have issued travel advisories to their citizens travelling in the Indian ocean nation.
Without referring to the State of Emergency, India on Monday said, “The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the Government of India. Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings.”
Rights groups such as Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the State of Emergency in the Maldives.
As of writing this report, the United Nations and European Union, which had earlier urged President Yameen to comply with the Supreme Court’s order, has not issued any formal statements.