Maldives to leave Commonwealth after Warnings over Democracy

Oct 16, 2016 08:00 IST

Maldives government in October decided to leave the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations. The decision was announced weeks after the organisation warned it of suspension by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) if it failed to take further steps to promote the rule of law and democracy.

Maldives had decided to leave the Commonwealth saying it was treated unjustly and unfairly by the Commonwealth.

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Highlights

• The organisation also asked Maldives to encourage political dialogue and release its opposition leaders and improve the democratic institutions.

• The nation was put on CMAG’s formal agenda on 23 September 2016 and cautioned that if it fails to saw progress in the six identified priority areas, then it will be suspended from the council of Commonwealth at its next meeting in 2017.

Maldives government decision to quit the Commonwealth has invited concern from several quarters within and outside the country. Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland expressed disappointment over the decision and hoped the move will be a temporary one.

Responses to Maldives action

Maldives Opposition Party: The country’s main opposition party led by former President Mohammed Nasheed, said the decision was taken unilaterally by the Cabinet and the Executive, without consultation with the Parliament or the people of the Maldives. It said this is a knee-jerk reaction to widespread international condemnation of the Government’s continued human rights violations.

The United Kingdom: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said UK is disappointed that the Maldives Government has decided to withdraw from the Commonwealth. He said the Commonwealth is dedicated to developing free and democratic societies, and regretted that Maldives has chosen to leave.

Amnesty International: Amnesty International said that Maldives authorities should address their own human rights situation rather than lash out at legitimate criticism. It said human rights have been in a complete free fall in the country over the past few years and the government has led an unprecedented crackdown on independent media.

Background

The country came under international scrutiny after its crackdown on opposition leaders mainly after it jailed several members of different parties along with former President Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed who was released on a medical leave went to London where he was granted asylum.

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