Legal Politics

US ‘disappointed’ by Maldives state of emergency extension

The US said it was disappointed by reports of President Abdulla Yameen extending a state of emergency in the Maldives for another 30 days, calling on him to end it and uphold the rule of law.

The State Department said Tuesday that Yameen should “permit the full and proper functioning of the Parliament and the judiciary, restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people of Maldives, and respect Maldives’ international human rights obligations and commitments.”

Yameen declared a state of emergency in order to investigate an alleged plot to overthrow his government. Earlier Tuesday his office also said it was imposed to protect the peace and well-being of citizens.

His announcement followed a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court that ordered the release of prisoners, who are also Yameen’s opponents, including former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Only 38 MPs were present for the crucial vote, which took place hours before the state of emergency was due to expire, despite 43 lawmakers being needed for the vote to take place as required by the constitution. All 38 were from the ruling party and all 38 approved the extension.

Opposition lawmakers had boycotted the vote, and the debate on Monday about the state of emergency and Yameen’s extension request, to prevent the vote from happening. But the extension was approved anyway.

UK politicians discussed the state of emergency in parliament. Hugo Swire MP asked the government if it would head a mission to the Maldives, or encourage the United Nations to do so, given the presence of thousands of British holidaymakers there and the potential to bring “China and India into an unwelcome regional conflict.”

Government minister Mark Field said the suggestions would be taken into consideration and that he, too, was “deeply troubled” by recent events in the troubled honeymoon destination.

Ahead of the vote India had said it was their expectation that Yameen’s government would not seek an extension.

“It is important that Maldives quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law so that the aspirations of Maldivian people are met and the concerns of the international community are assuaged,” it added.

There was no immediate official comment from New Delhi about the 30-day extension.

The state of emergency ends on March 22.

Full details are available at the link below:

Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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