The Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) on Tuesday expressed deep concern over the “severe political repression in the Maldives” and the “serious violations of the constitutional and democratic processes and the arrest of several opposition parliamentarians.”
PGA is a non-profit, non-partisan international network of legislators with representatives from over 142 countries that advocate for human rights and the rule of law, democracy and gender equality.
The statement was published on the organisation’s official website in relation to the recent political upheaval that took place after the government ordered the army to close down the parliament on July 24, following the controversial censure motion against parliament’s speaker Abdulla Maseeh.
In its statement, PGA highlighted how President Adbulla Yameen has “managed to arrest or push to exile most of his political opponents, ensuring he will not be challenged in the upcoming 2018 presidential election.”
Further, PGA also denounced the new Defamation Act that was adopted in 2016, saying that it was created to allow authorities to prosecute its critics.
“The crackdown on the opposition is part of a wider context of excessive limitations to the human rights of the Maldivian people. …The press is routinely harassed through lawsuits and bans: in August 2014, Ahmed Rilwan, a reporter, was forcibly disappeared, while a blogger, Yameen Rasheed, was murdered at his doorstep in May 2017,” the statement read.
PGA also condemned the government’s decision to reinstate death penalty, claiming that it was done in an effort to “distract the attention from the political crisis”. PGA reiterated the various international organisations – including the United Nations and Amnesty International’s – call on the Maldives not to carry out any executions.
“PGA…calls on the Maldivian authorities and the International Community to guarantee that the rights of every individual is guaranteed, pursuant to internationally-recognised human rights, and the Maldivian Constitution.”
Late last month, 45 parliamentarians – including 10 MPs from the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) who defected – had filed a no-confidence motion against the parliament’s speaker for the third time. However, since the Elections Commission had announced that four of the defected parliamentarians who signed the motion had lost their seats following an apex court ruling, the parliament had immediately thrown out the motion, claiming that it no longer held the required number of signatures to impeach the speaker of the parliament, which is 42.