Maldives defends state of emergency despite stand taken by EU

The Maldives Government today defended the state of emergency in the country despite a call by the European Union to lift immediately the state of emergency and restore all constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Government of Maldives notes the conclusions issued by the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union today.

“As reiterated in a number of public statements and conveyed to the Ambassador of the European Union to the Maldives, the Government of Maldives remains firmly committed to upholding the Constitution and the rule of law. The State of Emergency declared on 5 February 2018 was extended for further thirty days by the Parliament due to the threats posed to national security following the Supreme Court Order No. 2018/SC-SJ/01, issued on 1 February 2018, following which the State found itself facing a Constitutional deadlock. It should be noted that the Supreme Court Order of 1 February 2018 was nullified, in part, by the Supreme Court by its Court Order no 2018/SC-SJ/03, issued on 6 February 2018. Other parts of it were suspended by its Court Order No 2018/SC-VA-J/01 issued on 18 February 2018. Therefore, there is now no legal mandate to implement the Supreme Court Order of 1 February 2018,” the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The Maldives Government says in its decision to extend the State of Emergency on 20 February 2018, the Parliament lifted some of the restrictions imposed on the Constitutional Articles under the State of Emergency and declared the State of Emergency to be applied only to individuals alleged to have carried out illegal activities in connection to the Supreme Court Verdict of 1 February 2018.

“The measures taken by the Government was to ensure national security and Constitutional order, to uphold the rule of law and to safeguard the peace and stability of the nation. The Government will ensure that the State of Emergency is lifted as soon as the threats posed to national security are addressed satisfactorily. The Government reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and security of foreign nationals residing in the country, as well as tourists visiting the Maldives on vacation,” the statement added.

The Maldives Foreign Ministry says the Maldives Government is committed to resolving the current situation and has invited all Political Parties for dialogue.

“The Government of Maldives appreciates the European Union for standing with the Maldives during this difficult period and calls to help facilitate the ongoing efforts to resolve the current Constitutional Crisis, and to return to normalcy. The Government of Maldives will continue to work with the European Union and its member countries and appreciates the continued support and cooperation that the European Union is continuing to extend in strengthening the electoral, governance and democratic structures and framework. The Government has welcomed the initiative of the Election’s Commission to begin preparations for this year’s Presidential election, and is engaged to ensure a fair and stable environment for the conduct of those elections,” the statement added.

The Maldives Government says it looks forward to having a free, fair and credible Presidential election in September of this year, and requests the support and guidance of all relevant stakeholders.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, on 5 February 2018, declared a State of Emergency by Presidential Decree No. 2018/3, under Article 253 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives.

The Foreign Affairs Council of the EU today adopted conclusions on the Maldives which assess the recent deterioration of the situation in the country.

The Council called on the competent Maldivian institutions to lift immediately the state of emergency and restore all constitutionally guaranteed rights. The Council also condemned the politically motivated arrests and calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners.

The Council called on the Government of the Maldives to engage with the leaders of the opposition in a genuine dialogue. It considers that the current situation is not in accordance with the principles of democratic rule and separation of powers, and that if the situation does not improve, it may consider targeted measures. (Colombo Gazette)