Procedure : 2015/2662(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0397/2015

Texts tabled :

B8-0397/2015

Debates :

Votes :

PV 30/04/2015 - 10.4

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0180

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 121kWORD 55k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0392/2015
27.4.2015
PE555.171v01-00
 
B8-0397/2015

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure


on the situation in the Maldives (2015/2662(RSP))


Charles Tannock, Mark Demesmaeker, Geoffrey Van Orden, Beatrix von Storch on behalf of the ECR Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in the Maldives (2015/2662(RSP))  
B8‑0397/2015

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–       having regard to the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,

–       having regard to the Joint Local Statement of 30 September 2014 on Threats to Civil Society and Human Rights in the Maldives, issued by the EU Delegation and the Embassies of EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland in Colombo accredited to the Maldives,

–       having regard to the statement of 12 March 2015 by the Chair of its South Asia Delegation on the arrest of former President Nasheed in the Maldives and to the letter of 10 April 2015 of the chair of its Committee on Foreign Affairs to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Maldives,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas on 13 March 2015, Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, with a long personal history as someone dedicated to non-violent struggle and pluralistic democracy, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison under politically motivated charges of terrorism;

B.     whereas Nasheed’s arrest came only weeks after a key ally defected from incumbent president Abdullah Yameen’s governing coalition to join hands with Nasheed’s opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP);

C.     whereas the controversial trial failed to meet national and international standards of justice, notwithstanding the call of the United Nations for fairness and transparency in the legal proceedings against former president Nasheed: he was manhandled outside the courtroom and was frequently denied legal representation, the court refused to hear evidence from his own defence witnesses, his legal team was denied adequate time to build a defence against the charges, and the criminal court refuses to release the case report to his defence team, necessary for them to lodge the appeal;

D.     whereas the highly politicised Maldivian judiciary, which often lacks recognised legal qualifications, has been a cause of concern for years since judges, and particularly members of the Supreme Court – the guardians of the constitution –, have over the years abused their powers and acted in favour of the current ruling party;

E.     whereas the law recently passed by the Maldives Parliament that strips people serving prison sentences of their political party memberships, is designed to prevent former president Nasheed from contesting the 2018 presidential election;

F.     whereas the presidential election process in 2013 was marred by irregularities, delays, judicial interference in the timing of the rounds and the conduct of the election, raids on the independent Elections Commission, and political intimidation;

G.     whereas other opposition politicians, such as former defence minister Tholath Ibrahim, and rivals within Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s own party and government coalition, such as Mohamed Nazim, have been convicted with the help of the politicised judiciary;

H.     whereas opposition politicians continue to be routinely intimidated and a recent report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians identified the Maldives as one of the worst countries in the world for attacks against, and the torture of and intimidation of, opposition MPs;

I.      whereas the regime challenges freedom of assembly by cracking down brutally on Nasheed’s supporters: at least 140 peaceful protesters have been arrested since February, and were only released on conditions that severely limited their right to take part in further demonstrations;

J.      whereas the political turmoil comes amid worry about increasing Islamist militancy in the Maldives and about the number of radicalised young men alleged to have joined ISIS;

K.     whereas press freedom has been severely inhibited in recent years and three journalists have been arrested while covering political demonstrations calling for the release of Mohamed Nasheed;

L.     whereas Ahmed Rilwan, a journalist critical of the government who ‘disappeared’ in August 2014, is still missing and feared dead;

M.    whereas gangs and religious groups – allegedly in cahoots with the police – often attack institutions, organisations and individuals critical of the government’s actions, thus creating a sphere of intimidation of civil society;

N.     whereas civil society organisations and human rights defenders have increasingly faced harassment, threats and attacks, including the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), which the Supreme Court charged with high treason and undermining the constitution for submitting a report for the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review;

O.     whereas Jens Toyberg-Frandzen, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, appealed to the government of the Maldives ‘to allow for peaceful political dissent and for ways to seek to engage with the opposition, in the interest of long-term political stability in the country’;

P.     whereas immigrant workers suffer forced labour, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages and debt bondage, and were threatened by the Maldivian authorities with expulsion over their protest against discrimination and violence following a series of attacks on immigrant workers;

Q.     whereas in 2014, the Parliament of the Maldives voted to end the moratorium on the death penalty in place since 1954, thus allowing for the condemnation of minors as young as seven, who can be held responsible and executed as soon as they reach 18 and are left to languish in jail until then; whereas this goes against the international human rights obligations of the Maldives as a State party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

1.      Calls on the Government of the Maldives to:

• immediately and unconditionally release former president Nasheed and former defence ministers Ibrahim and Nazim, and clear them of all charges;

• take the necessary steps to restore confidence in its commitment to democracy, judicial independence, and rule of law, including respect for the freedoms of expression and of assembly and respect for due process;

• safeguard the unobstructed functioning of a pluralistic democracy, at which not only those who call for conservative Islam to dominate politics and society, but also pro-democracy, moderate Muslims and supporters of secularism, who oppose Wahhabi Salafist influence in the Maldives, can rightly participate;

• reform the judiciary;

• re-establish the moratorium on the death penalty;

• allow for a proper investigation into the disappearance of Ahmed Rilwan, and the attacks and threats against journalists, members of civil society, and independent institutions;

2.      Calls on the Commission and the Member States to issue thorough warnings about the Maldives’ human rights record to tourists planning to go to the country;

3.      Calls on the EU and the Member States, in the event of continuing democratic backsliding and deterioration of the human rights situation in the Maldives, to freeze the assets abroad of members of the Maldives Government and their leading supporters in the Maldivian business community and to impose a travel ban on them;

4.      Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Member States and the Government of the Maldives.

Last updated: 28 April 2015Legal notice