India, China should work with EU to ensure democratic stability in Maldives: European Parliament

Brussels, Belgium Published: Mar 15, 2018, 08:45 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( WION )

Expressing "grave concern" over the current political crisis in the Maldives, the European Parliament, through a resolution, has called upon the governments of India and China to work with countries in the European Union (EU) to help deliver political and democratic stability in the crisis-ridden archipelago. 

In a 16-point resolution introduced and passed unanimously earlier this week, the EU Parliament called on the EU "to make full use of all instruments at its disposal to promote respect for human rights and democratic principles" in the Maldives, including, possibly, the suspension of EU financial assistance to the country pending the resumption of the rule of law and abidance by democratic principles. 

The resolution said there was a need for introducing targeted measures and sanctions against those in the country undermining human rights, and to freeze the assets abroad of, and impose travel bans on, certain members of the Maldivian government and their leading supporters in the Maldivian business community. 

It further called on the government of Maldives to carry out "a far-reaching reform of the judiciary'', to establish the impartiality of the Judicial Service Commission, to re-establish the independence of the Prosecutor General, and to respect due process of law and the right to a fair, impartial and independent trial. 

The resolution also recognized that, under the Constitution, elections must be held in 2018, and stressed that immediate action should be taken to ensure that these elections are transparent and credible; that voters are given a genuine choice and that parties are able to campaign freely. 

Expressing deep concern over the serious and deteriorating political and human rights situation in Maldives, and the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Yameen and his Government, the EU Parliament, according to its resolution published by the website, called on Maldives to lift the state of emergency immediately, to respect the institutions and their competencies as provided for in the Constitution, and to respect the fundamental rights of all people, including the right to freedom of expression and assembly, as well as the rule of law; expresses its growing concern over the recent actions of the government, which seriously damage and undermine democracy, and run counter to the Maldives Constitution and the country's international human rights obligations.

It also condemned the "continued intimidation of, and threats against, journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders in the Maldives", and urged the Maldivian authorities to guarantee the safety of all civil society activists, human rights defenders and media workers in the country. 

It also deplored the crackdown on political opponents in Maldives and called on the government to drop all charges against all those being held for political reasons and release them immediately and unconditionally. 

It said it is very concerned over the increasing breakdown of the principle of separation of the executive, judicial and other powers in Maldives, and called on "responsible authorities to take immediate steps to restore and uphold the principles enshrined in its Constitution.". 

It said that the Maldivian government must engage in an inclusive dialogue with leaders of all political parties to pave the way for credible, transparent and inclusive elections.

It called on the EU to also actively continue to support UN facilitation for and of such a dialogue. 

The EU Parliament said: "We believe that the only way to reverse the deterioration in democracy, human rights and freedoms in The Maldives is through a process of genuine dialogue, involving all political parties and other civic leaders. It further believes that, as the first step towards reconciliation, the government must release all opposition politicians currently held in jail, and reiterated the EU`s firm opposition to the death penalty, in all cases and without exception; strongly condemns the announcement of the reintroduction of the death penalty in the Maldives, and urges the government and parliament of the Maldives to respect the moratorium on the death penalty that has been in place for more than 60 years."

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