Four leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have issued a joint statement condemning the continued obstruction of peaceful protests and the arrest of peaceful protestors and media personnel by the Maldives Police Service. The statement was signed by Amnesty International, the Association for Democracy in the Maldives, Human Rights Watch, and Transparency Maldives.
The statement expresses concern over the restriction of rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and press freedom in the Maldives. The NGOs state that these restrictions impede on several articles in the Maldivian Constitution, including articles 27, 28, 30 and 32. They also argue that these restrictions violate international human rights law, as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The NGOs condemned the use of criminal law against peaceful protestors and the lack of accountability for the actions of law enforcement agencies. They also criticized the current restrictions in place in the Peaceful Assembly Act of the Maldives, specifically pointing to Section 24 of the Act, which they say contravenes international human rights law.
The statement calls on the Maldives Police Service to facilitate and protect the right to peaceful assembly without discrimination and for the Executive and Legislative branches of the government to work together to bring the law into compliance with international human rights law. As a current member of the UN Human Rights Council, the Maldives is urged to reverse actions that contravene their international obligations. Additionally, they call on the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, National Integrity Commission, and the Prosecutor General’s Office to conduct a full investigation into the actions of the police and hold the institution and its personnel accountable.
These organizations stand together in defense of human rights and call for an end to the obstruction of peaceful protests in the Maldives.
he protests in Maldives have been ongoing since the sentencing of former President Abdulla Yameen to 11 years in jail. Yameen, who is the presidential candidate of the opposition, was convicted on money laundering charges. The opposition has been rallying behind him and calling for fair elections, which is expected to take place later this year