President Abdulla Yameen’s declaration of a 30 day state of emergency in the Maldives ahead of planned anti-government protests raises the prospect of further attacks on dissent and human rights in the country, said Amnesty International today.
“The declaration of a state of emergency must not be a precursor to a further crackdown on dissent or other human rights violations. The government should not use this state of emergency to silence free speech or infringe on other human rights,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher.
“The Maldivian authorities have a disturbing track-record of supressing freedom of expression and any form of opposition, which has intensified over the last two years. It is vital that authorities respect their obligations under international human rights law during this period of emergency.”
The one month-long decree by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom suspends several constitutional rights, including the right to peaceful protest, freedom of peaceful assembly, the right for Maldivians to travel to and from the country, and the right not be detained arbitrarily. Under international law, arbitrary detention is prohibited even in times of emergency. The decree is awaiting approval by the Maldives Parliament, which has been called to session for this purpose on 5 November.
Amnesty International is calling on the government to provide careful justification for their decision to proclaim the state of emergency and any specific measures it includes. The authorities must ensure that they are acting in accordance with international human rights law at all times.