A high-level Maldives delegation sought to reassure the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday about the crisis in the country, insisting the nation was strong and urging it to instead focus on Palestine and Syria.
“The challenges we face in my nation pales in comparison to the challenges we face in the global community. From the threat of terrorism to the global migration crisis, and from racism to xenophobia, we see even developed nations face the brunt of atrocities left unchecked,” Education Minister Aishath Shiham told the UNHRC.
Shiham said President Abdulla Yameen had to declare a state of emergency because a “conspiracy – financed to the tune of millions of dollars – was set in motion” on February 1.
The Supreme Court, led by two judges, issued a “politically charged” order for the sole purpose of impeaching the president.
“They exercised a level of judicial overreach that was unprecedented in our country, while posing an imminent risk to national security, undermining our constitution and threatening our very democracy,” she said.
“In order to uphold the integrity of the constitution, drastic action was necessary. The president declared a state of emergency. This decision was not made lightly.”
Shiham said the Maldives was committed to “ensuring free, fair and credible elections” this year and welcomed international observers.
The delegation’s address comes on the heels of European Union calling on the government to engage in “genuine dialogue” with the opposition.
Fisheries Minister Mohamed Shainee responded to the EU’s remarks by inviting opposition parties for all-party talks.
“The government again urge the opposition to positively engage with the government in a dialogue to start All-Party-Talks without any pre-conditions. I note the EU Council statement emphasizing on the importance of such a dialogue,” he tweeted.
Maumoon Hameed, the senior lawyer representing former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, told the media Tuesday that Gayoom had no intention of engaging in talks while the situation remained unchanged.
The ex-leader was one of those rounded up and thrown into prison shortly after the state of emergency was declared.
“President Maumoon does not intend to discuss, even through a representative, when everyone is kidnapped,” Hameed said.
It is unclear if this view is shared by the opposition alliance. MP Ahmed Mahloof, the alliance’s spokesman, is also in police custody after being arrested at a protest last Thursday.
Anti-Yameen demonstrations have been taking place in the capital since the state of emergency was declared, with several people arrested every day.
Two opposition lawmakers were detained on Monday night.
MP Abdulla Ahmed ‘Abulho’ was arrested while briefing reporters on the street and MP Mohamed Ameeth was arrested near an opposition party’s headquarters.