Targeted measures may be considered against the Maldives if the country’s situation does not improve, the Council of the European Union said Monday.
President Abdulla Yameen imposed a state of emergency in response to a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the release of political prisoners and the reinstatement of lawmakers who had been stripped of their seats.
At a meeting in Brussels the EU Council called on everyone in the Maldives, especially law enforcement, to act with restraint. Riot police have been using pepper spray and force to disperse crowds taking part in anti-Yameen protests.
“The current situation is not in accordance with the principles of democratic rule and separation of powers. If the situation does not improve, the Council may therefore consider targeted measures.”
It called on the Maldives to immediately lift the state of emergency and restore all constitutionally guaranteed rights. It urged authorities to respect the rule of law, and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression and the right to fair trial.
It condemned politically motivated arrests, calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners, as well as any interference with the work of the Supreme Court and actions taken against the judiciary and the judges.
On Sunday Jared Genser, international counsel to former president Mohamed Nasheed, launched his public interest law firm’s report on the case for the EU to impose sanctions on human rights abusers in the Maldives.
The report compared the Maldives’ situation to other countries where EU sanctions have been imposed.
“This is as clear-cut a case for the imposition of targeted financial sanctions and travel bans as any other case in which the European Union has taken action,” said Genser.
“Yameen has acted systematically to consolidate his iron grip on power and assume dictatorial powers over all branches of the Government of the Maldives. All those abusing human rights from top to bottom should face justice and accountability for their actions.”
Photo: Auf Majeed