Don’t suppress public debate on development plans in country: Amnesty International to Maldives govt – The Indian Express

A week after Maldivian authorities launched a crackdown on peaceful protests and media workers ahead of King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s visit, who later postponed it, the Amnesty International on Wednesday urged the Maldives government to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, and to not suppress public debate about any development plans in the country.

It also urged the government to effectively respect and protect the right to peaceful protest, even when they
themselves are the focus of demonstrations.

Earlier this month, the Maldives government had said a planned multi-billion dollar, Saudi-funded investment project on one of its atolls would focus on high-end tourism. It had rejected opposition claims that the islands would be sold to the Saudi Arabia  government.

Maldives former president Mohamed Nasheed’s party had said the project would effectively give a foreign power control over Faafu atoll in a form of colonialisation by Saudi Arabia.

According to the Amnesty International, there have been persistent rumours in Maldives that the government is planning to sell the whole of Faafu atoll (a group of some 23 islands southwest of the capital Malé) to Saudi Arabia for around $10 billion, and that this deal would be announced during the King’s visit.

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