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Procedure : 2017/2870(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :

B8-0556/2017

Debates :

PV 05/10/2017 - 3.3
CRE 05/10/2017 - 3.3

Votes :

PV 05/10/2017 - 4.3
CRE 05/10/2017 - 4.3

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0383

Debates
Thursday, 5 October 2017 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

3.3. Situation in Maldives
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca la discussione su sette proposte di risoluzione sulla situazione alla Maldive (2017/2870(RSP)).

 
  
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   Javier Nart, autor. – Señor presidente, hace más de 40 años España era un paraíso para el turismo: sol y paella. Pero, detrás del sol y de la paella, había una dictadura, había personas en la cárcel, había represión y no existía democracia.

Maldivas es exactamente lo mismo, pero mucho peor. Tenemos unas islas maravillosas, unos fondos submarinos extraordinarios, un régimen corrupto, represor y torturador. Las personas que van a Maldivas se olvidan de la gente de Maldivas, que es lo trascendente. Se ha presentado una propuesta de Resolución en la que se proponen sanciones particulares personales para los responsables de represión, pero no se ha aprobado, y es lamentable —y a uno francamente le duele el alma—, ya que había algo fundamental, que es una campaña de sensibilización para los turistas que quieren ir a Maldivas, a los que habría que decir que van al paraíso que es el infierno.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock, author. – Mr President, I am deeply concerned about the worsening situation in the Maldives. President Abdulla Yameen and his government seem focused on increasing their authoritarian rule. Opposition leaders have been imprisoned, parliamentarians and journalists have been intimidated and threatened, and news organisations has been forced to close. All of this is deeply alarming.

Added to this are the plethora of new laws that limit the freedoms of speech and of assembly, and there is now an end to a 60-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty. This all exhibits a deeply worrying trend towards a politicised judiciary and police, and it cannot be ignored that the Maldives now tops the table in terms of the number of ISIS recruits per capita of population. It is also deeply regrettable that the Maldives took the decision to leave the Commonwealth in 2016, demonstrating Yameen’s unwillingness to cooperate with international partners.

We must now urge Yameen to uphold his country’s constitution, to protect democratic rights and to restore fundamental freedoms in line with international law and conventions. All political prisoners held on fabricated charges should be released, and the Presidential elections in 2018 should be free, fair and inclusive. It is vital for the future of the Maldives and its people that freedoms of assembly and expression are upheld for all.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat , auteure. – Monsieur le Président, loin de la destination de rêve qu’elle représente pour de nombreux touristes, notamment européens, les Maldives semblent de plus en plus s’enfoncer dans ce que l’on pourrait appeler une forme d’obscurantisme.

Les femmes en sont souvent les premières victimes, avec des condamnations à des coups de fouet et le port du hidjab, qui est de plus en plus répandu. Les enfants sont également touchés, avec une responsabilité pénale fixée à dix ans, et même à sept ans dans certains cas.

Journalistes et blogueurs sont particulièrement visés, notamment quand ils ne sont pas musulmans et, pire, quand ils sont athées. Yameen Rasheed, jeune blogueur de 29 ans, assassiné de 16 coups de couteau, en est un symbole. Il se savait menacé et avait porté plainte, mais en vain.

Parmi les autres victimes, on compte les avocats. Deux tiers des membres du barreau ont été suspendus en septembre et les prisons sont pleines de prisonniers politiques. Enfin, la peine de mort a été rétablie, même si aucune exécution n’a encore eu lieu, d’autant que cinq des 17 condamnés étaient mineurs au moment des faits.

L’Union européenne, premier partenaire commercial des Maldives, a les moyens d’agir dans l’intérêt de la population, encore faut-il en avoir envie!

 
  
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  Ignazio Corrao, author. – Mr President, we are here today discussing once again the situation in the Maldives, which not only has not improved, but has got even worse. Through our vote we will surely support this resolution. However, I would like to underline that we are not actually taking any steps forward in comparison with the previous resolution. Indeed, a crucial part of the previous resolution is missing, namely the travel ban.

I genuinely think that the travel ban approach is by far the most effective tool we can use to have a high impact on the Maldivian Government and to offer a concrete and solid response to those who are violating human rights and international law in the Maldives. Considering that hundreds of thousands of European tourists travel to the Maldives every year, and taking into account that the government is clearly not concerned about any international recommendations or admonitions, I strongly believe that the travel ban may be one of the best options we have at our disposal. Indeed, the travel ban will produce the dramatic loss of a huge market share for the travel industry, which would make them vulnerable and surely keener to respect human rights.

 
  
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  Tomáš Zdechovský, Autor. – Pane předsedající, Evropská unie už v procesu na Maledivách je poměrně dlouho aktivní, ale myslíme si, že není dostatečně. Proto jsme se shodli napříč politickým spektrem na této rezoluci, která je v mnohých ohledech jiná, protože jsou tam zohledněny věci, které jsme dříve neakceptovali a nereflektovali v našich rezolucích. Ano, velmi často je říkáno, že kritizovat umí každý, ale kritika musí být konstruktivní a pomáhat danému řešení. Ale situace na Maledivách bohužel přes naše konstruktivní nabízená řešení nemá žádná východiska. Musí být ustoupeno od stíhání lídrů opozice, znovuobnovení trestu smrti. Musí být dodržovány mezinárodní závazky a také otázka náboženského respektu. Pokud toto Maledivy nebudou ani nadále dodržovat, je potřeba zvážit sankce, a to může být i ten zákaz cestování turistů z EU na tento přenádherný ostrov.

 
  
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  Soraya Post, författare. – Herr talman! Fru kommissionär! Min bild av Maldiverna var atoller med kritvit strand och böljande palmer – ett litet paradis i vykortsformat. Det är bilden som den maldiviska regeringen vill att omvärlden ska få av landet. Och dom har lyckats. Över en miljon turister besöker årligen denna önation.

Det finns dock en annan sida som de styrande helst inte vill visa upp: att oliktänkande politiker och det civila samhället utsätts för trakasserier, att journalister och parlamentariker blir fängslade på osakliga grunder, att regeringen på maldiverna vill återuppta dödsstraffet, till och med för barn under 18 år.

Som parlamentariker och feminist vill jag säga att ett tryggt civilsamhälle och en oberoende journalistkår är nödvändiga delar av en demokrati. Dödsstraffet är under alla omständigheter otänkbart och ska avskaffas, inte återupprättas. Och till Maldiverna vill jag säga: Lev upp till demokratiska principer, lev upp till ett genuint försvar av de mänskliga rättigheterna. Först då kan vi tro på ert paradis i ett vykortsformat.

 
  
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  Jean Lambert, author. – Mr President, I speak in my capacity as chair of Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with South Asia, which includes the Maldives. In fact, we have a visit planned there at the end of this month, but this resolution is separate in its motivation from that visit. However, we will welcome an opportunity to discuss our findings with everyone who is so concerned today on our return.

I think it is clear to say that we recognise the positive role that the Maldives is playing in terms of their international commitment on climate change and their cooperation with the European Union on issues of security, for example. However, as has been made very clear this morning, there are very deep concerns about issues of governance since the major constitutional changes of 2008. On our last visit, and since then, we have picked up on growing concern about the independence and impartiality of the judiciary at all levels, the recent suspension of one third of lawyers, the narrowing of the freedom of expression and the pressure on independent media.

The recent murder of the blogger that people have referred to actually sent shockwaves throughout the Maldives, as well as the rest of the world, because murder is so rare in that society. I think all of us, as MPs, would be worried if we saw most of our party leaders in jail, facing criminal charges. So we need productive political dialogue, and we need a strengthening of independent bodies, such as the Human Rights Commission, so that we can see democracy move forward in the Maldives, as we all hope.

 
  
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  Cristian Dan Preda , au nom du groupe PPE. – Monsieur le Président, sous la présidence d’Abdulla Yameen, les Maldives sont en train de basculer d’un régime en cours de démocratisation à un régime autoritaire. Tous les signes sont là: la liberté d’expression sévèrement remise en cause, les journalistes menacés de mort, le système judiciaire de plus en plus contrôlé par le gouvernement. L’exemple de la suspension d’un tiers des avocats du pays n’est, dans ce contexte, que le dernier signe.

Le gouvernement en place fait d’ailleurs tout pour anéantir l’opposition politique, y compris en occupant militairement la scène parlementaire pour empêcher les votes qui ne lui conviennent pas.

Dans ces conditions, je soutiens l’introduction de sanctions individuelles contre tous ceux qui causent ces atteintes aux droits de l’homme. Je pense que ces sanctions ne devraient pas être levées tant que tous les prisonniers politiques ne sont pas libérés, mais aussi tant qu’un cadre démocratique minimal n’est pas restauré afin que les élections prochaines puissent se dérouler librement.

 
  
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  Wajid Khan, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, just a few days ago at the UN General Assembly, the Maldives Foreign Minister said the following words: ‘Looking to cultivate a culture of respect for human rights at home and abroad is our goal. We believe we have been successful’. The Maldives Government wants us to believe that the country is a young democracy and a tourist paradise, but this just isn’t the case. Recently one third of all practising lawyers were suspended for calling for the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. Numerous prisoners are currently under death sentence with serious concerns about the fairness of their trials, and at least five of those convicted are under 18 years old.

The blogger and prominent human rights defender Yameen Rasheed was killed in April. Sadly, he is another victim of the wider crackdown on the freedom of expression in the Maldives.

My Group is alarmed at the deteriorating situation, as well as the continued harassment of the media, political opponents and civil society. We ask the External Action Service and Member States to make full use of all instruments at their disposal in order to promote human rights and democratic principles. We call on the Maldives authorities to stop ruling with an iron fist and enter into a genuine dialogue with opposition parties and civil society, ensuring free and fair elections. We also urge them to reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty. It is time to back up words with action and to embrace human rights and justice. It is in the interest of all Maldivians.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries , au nom du groupe ALDE. – Monsieur le Président, les Maldives: soleil, cocotiers, plages de sable blanc, eaux turquoises et hôtels paradisiaques. La carte postale est idyllique au recto, mais au verso, c’est la charia qui dicte sa loi.

La peine de mort y a été rétablie il y a trois ans, y compris pour les enfants. Le régime du président Yameen a «l’amabilité» de ne faire exécuter les sentences qu’à leur majorité. Les intimidations et les assassinats de journalistes et de blogueurs qui défendent la liberté d’expression sont nombreux: Ismail Hilath, Yameen Rasheed et tous les autres. Des avocats ont été suspendus pour avoir osé demander le respect de l’état de droit et Mohamed Nasheed, premier président démocratiquement élu, a été condamné à 13 ans de prison.

Les Maldives, c’est aussi l’un des plus gros fournisseurs, proportionnellement, de renforts djihadistes à l’État islamique, et je n’ai pas encore parlé des femmes, avec la lapidation publique des femmes adultères, le mariage précoce et les viols. La liste est interminable. Sous la plage, c’est l’enfer!

Alors, autant le savoir au moment de cliquer et de réserver ses vacances. Un million de touristes chaque année, c’est une arme de dissuasion massive quand la diplomatie échoue.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo, a nome del gruppo EFDD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Maldive: quando il paradiso diventa un inferno. Abbiamo già trattato in quest'Aula il deterioramento delle libertà civili, le minacce, le torture che membri dell'opposizione e giornalisti, blogger, difensori dei diritti umani e normali cittadini stanno subendo nel meraviglioso atollo dell'Oceano Indiano, sogno di milioni di turisti ignari di cosa stia realmente accadendo.

Quando sembrava che la situazione non potesse peggiorare ulteriormente, è arrivata invece la dichiarazione del presidente Abdul Gayoom, che ha espresso chiaramente la sua intenzione di riprendere, da fine settembre, le esecuzioni capitali nel paese. Esecuzioni necessarie, a suo dire, a mantenere l'ordine pubblico e i valori delle Maldive. Se questa non è una linea rossa, cosa può esserlo, allora colleghi? Ripeto l'appello che già facemmo nel dicembre 2015, anche per contrastare la sordità selettiva che l'Unione manifesta sempre più spesso: servono sanzioni mirate verso i responsabili di questa deriva autoritaria e se non ci saranno progressi, dobbiamo avere il coraggio di mettere sul tavolo anche un divieto totale di viaggio per i nostri turisti.

E faccio un secondo appello agli Stati membri: informate i vostri cittadini che al di fuori delle gabbie dorate dei resort vacanze, si sta materializzando un inferno. E infine, un ultimo ammonimento: avete ignorato le nostre richieste ma ad oggi risulta penosamente chiaro come il "business as usual" non solo non rappresenti una strada percorribile ma venga interpretato dalla nostra controparte come un segno di debolezza, un avallo a continuare indisturbati le proprie politiche repressive verso la società civile che invece dovremmo difendere.

Perseverare, a questo punto sarebbe diabolico.

 
  
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  Jonathan Arnott (EFDD). – Mr President, I come to similar conclusions to this report in many ways, but for different reasons. I note that paragraph 15, the text on female genital mutilation, is calling only for laws to be enforced. It is a barbaric practice and, quite frankly, it is something which also happens in the European Union and gets brushed under the carpet. It even happens in my own country, and yet there are no successful prosecutions for it. So I would make exactly the same call to ourselves.

When it comes to the death penalty, I have to say that my opposition to the death penalty is one which is practical. Simply to say that: if there were the rule of law, if there were fair trials, if we knew that it was being done in a manner that actually represented justice for a lethal crime, then I would be saying that it is the sovereign democratic right of that country to take its own decision on that issue. My concern is that what is happening here is that we are speaking of the death penalty for children, of a politicised judiciary, and of a country where there is arbitrary detention, serious concerns over extrajudicial actions and the murder of anti—government bloggers, for example the case of Yameen Rasheed. So that is not really what is happening, and therefore I take a much dimmer view. We have a country which has left the Commonwealth and where there is a huge amount of recruitment going on for ISIS.

Finally, I will finish by just noting the bill on the protection of reputation and good name and freedom of expression, which seeks to clamp down on freedom of expression in that country. It is just so Orwellian to say that they have a law for freedom of expression, which is actually being used for completely the opposite purpose.

 
  
 

Procedura catch-the-eye

 
  
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  Jiří Pospíšil (PPE). – Pane předsedající, já jsem požádal o vyjádření v rámci catch-the-eye z toho důvodu, že se celou dobu, kdy jsem v politice, věnuji trestu smrti ve světě a sleduji to, jak v poslední době narůstá zneužívání či využívání tohoto instrumentu, který my Evropané absolutně odmítáme. Trest smrti je nejzávažnější forma represe trestní justice, je to věc nevratná a je velmi smutné, že Maledivy jsou další ze zemí světa, která nechce respektovat moratorium na tento nehumánní trest a která chce trest smrti obnovit. Proto podporuji toto usnesení. Platí to, co říkali ostatní kolegové z hlediska rozpadu demokracie a právního státu na Maledivách, ale mě speciálně zajímá ten trest smrti. Ještě chci zmínit to, že Maledivy jsou připraveny popravovat mladistvé, což je zvláště nehumánní forma a zneužití tohoto trestu, a my proti tomu musíme protestovat, a proto podporuji toto usnesení.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, οι Μαλδίβες έχουν τις χειρότερες επιδόσεις, παγκοσμίως, στην προστασία των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων. Δεν υπάρχει ελευθερία έκφρασης, δεν υπάρχει δημοκρατικός πλουραλισμός, απαγορεύεται το δικαίωμα του συνέρχεσθαι, διώκονται οι αντιφρονούντες, οι δημοσιογράφοι, οι μπλόγκερ. Έχει ανακληθεί η άδεια 56 δικηγόρων. Οι πολιτοφύλακες προχωρούν ατιμώρητοι στη διάλυση των διαδηλώσεων. Μια κατάσταση απαράδεκτη, η οποία, βεβαίως, καταγγέλλεται από όλες τις πτέρυγες εδώ στο Κοινοβούλιο μας. Ταυτόχρονα, καταδικάζονται σε θάνατο ακόμη και νέοι κάτω των 18 ετών. Πρέπει, λοιπόν, να ληφθούν πολύ συγκεκριμένα μέτρα απέναντι στην κυβέρνηση των Μαλδίβων. Επίσης αναπτύσσεται ο τζιχαντισμός, γεγονός ιδιαίτερα επικίνδυνο. Ταξιδεύουν αυτή τη στιγμή πάνω από 300.000 Ευρωπαίοι πολίτες μόνο από το Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο, τη Γερμανία, την Ιταλία και τη Γαλλία για τουριστικούς λόγους εκεί. Θα πρέπει να εκδοθεί ταξιδιωτική οδηγία που να απαγορεύει τις όποιες μετακινήσεις. Μόνο έτσι θα αναγκαστεί η κυβέρνηση των Μαλδίβων να βάλει τάξη στα του οίκου της.

 
  
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  Stanislav Polčák (PPE). – Pane předsedající, Maledivy jsou malý stát a již se k němu vracíme poněkolikáté na tomto plénu. To si myslím, že svědčí o mnohém. Nebe zalité sluncem, Evropané zde tráví svoji dovolenou a následně zjistí nebo vůbec nezjistí, že v tamějších kriminálech jsou nevinně zavření, že dochází k mučení, zastrašování, že dokonce mají nastat změny, které mají nově zavést popravy do právního řádu. Myslím si, že tyto věci by měli Evropané vědět, a proto souhlasím se svými kolegy, kteří hovořili o tom, že především máme my informovat evropskou veřejnost, to je naše i velmi silná karta v rámci diplomatického úsilí, které by měla Evropská komise a služby EU v této věci vynaložit. Já jsem přesvědčen, že můžeme donutit tento stát jednat o změnách, které jdou jednoznačně proti našemu přesvědčení, což je například určitě poprava mladistvých.

 
  
 

(Fine della procedura catch-the-eye)

 
  
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  Věra Jourová, Member of the Commission, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, in 2008 the Maldives made a promising transition from 30 years of authoritarian rule to a democratic system, through multiparty elections. The EU is monitoring the human rights and political situation in the country and has expressed a number of concerns.

There is a worrying trend of reduced freedom of expression and freedom of association, highlighted most recently by the suspension of 56 lawyers for submitting a petition highlighting concerns with the judiciary. Opposition leaders are imprisoned or restricted in their movements. After the unprecedented lockdown of the parliament by security forces on 24 July 2017, there was an intensified crackdown on opposition legislators. Some journalists and media professionals also face intimidation and harassment.

On 25 July 2017 the EU delegation accredited to the Maldives, with nine other embassies, made a local statement to the effect that: ‘It is essential that the freedoms of assembly and expression are upheld for all. Opposition politicians and members of civil society must be able to conduct their rightful duties without fear of intimidation or arrest.’ In late August the authorities agreed to host an electoral follow-up mission. I welcome that decision, which shows the authorities’ openness to discuss even challenging topics. Follow-up to the implementation of the previous EU recommendations would be a good framework for dialogue before the upcoming presidential election planned for November 2018.

There has been a de facto moratorium on the death penalty for more than 60 years. Whereas the current administration continues publicly to maintain a commitment to resuming executions, there has not been an execution for more than half a century. The European Union and its Member States will continue to hold a strong and principled position against the death penalty in all circumstances and all cases.

Several statements have been issued by the European External Action Service calling for the de facto moratorium on the death penalty to be upheld as a step towards its abolition. Radicalisation and criminality are on the rise in the Maldives. The brutal murder of blogger ...

(The President interrupted the speaker)

Mr President, radicalisation and criminality are on the rise in the Maldives. The brutal murder of blogger and human rights activist Yameen Rasheed in April 2017 testifies to this trend. On the other hand, the EU and the Maldives are strong partners in the fight against climate change, which remains one of the important areas of mutual interest. Member States have major investments in the tourist sector in the Maldives. Every year between 300 000 and 500 000 European tourists travel to the Maldives. It is important, in the dialogue with the authorities, to ensure the safety and security of these tourists as well as Maldivian citizens, through cooperation to prevent terrorism and violent extremism.

To conclude, for several years we have held an annual dialogue to exchange views on issues of concern and issues of common interest. The last annual EU—Maldives policy dialogue was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Malé in May 2017 and we intend to maintain this dialogue.

 
  
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  Presidente. – La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà al termine della discussione.

(La seduta è sospesa per qualche minuto)

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 162)

 
  
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  Marijana Petir (PPE), napisan. – Zabrinjavajuća je situacija kršenja ljudskih prava na Maldivima i postupno pogoršanje demokratskih standarda. Ne smije se zanemariti niti sve veća prisutnost autoritarnih tendencija na Maldivima, kao niti proglašenje novog zakona o klevetama koji kriminalizira „klevetnički” govor ili zakona koji zahtijeva pismeno dopuštenje policije za održavanje prosvjeda u Maléu.

Sloboda okupljanja i sloboda medija treba se jamčiti, a ne kršiti. Cenzuriranje medija je totalno neopravdano jer sloboda i neovisnost medija je fundamentalno oruđe demokracije. Europska unija mora promovirati vladavinu prava, pa i na Maldivima, svim dostupnim instrumentima kako bi se postojeći nedostatak neovisnosti pravosuđa mogao eliminirati. Promicanje demokracije, ljudskih prava i vladavine prava je temelj vanjske politike Europske unije.

Pozivam na pravično suđenje za uhićene novinare i političke protivnike jer su arbitražne presude neprihvatljive.

Podržavam prijedlog rezolucije u vezi kršenja ljudskih prava, demokratskih načela i vladavine prava te smatram kako je Maldivima potrebna razvojna pomoć EU-a te pomno praćenje stanja ljudskih prava i političke situacije u ovoj državi.

 
  
  

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Last updated: 27 November 2017Legal notice