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Procedure : 2017/2870(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0550/2017

Texts tabled :

B8-0550/2017

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

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 266kWORD 52k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0549/2017
3.10.2017
PE611.476v01-00
 
B8-0550/2017

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on the situation in the Maldives (2017/2870(RSP))


Ryszard Czarnecki, Karol Karski, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Urszula Krupa, Notis Marias, Raffaele Fitto, Angel Dzhambazki, Branislav Škripek, Valdemar Tomaševski, Jan Zahradil, Monica Macovei, Valdemar Tomaševski, Jana Žitňanská on behalf of the ECR Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on the situation in the Maldives (2017/2870(RSP))  
B8‑0550/2017

The European Parliament,

-having regard to its previous resolutions on the Maldives, particularly 16 September 2004, 30 April 2015 and 17 December 2015;

-having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Maldives is a party;

-having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

-having regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion and Belief of 1981;

-having regard to the EU Minimum Standards on the Death Penalty;

-having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, in particular Articles 2, 7 and 19;

-having regard to the Statement on the Situation in the Maldives by the European Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives on 25 July 2017;

-having regard to the existing provisions for the protection of freedom of speech and expression under the Maldivian constitution, particularly the passing of a new law by the Maldivian Parliament in August 2017, entitled ‘Anti-Defamation and Freedom of Expression’, under which any expression judged to contravene Islamic tenets, Maldivian social norms or pose a threat to national security will be treated as a criminal activity;

-having regard to the provision under the Maldivian constitution for the prohibition of discrimination ‘of any kind’, under which neither religion or belief are listed as a prohibited basis for discrimination;

-having regard to the decision taken in February 2017 by the Maldives Broadcasting Commission to refrain from broadcasting any content involving ‘black magic’, reflecting the broader issue of a backlash in Maldivian society against non-Islamic religious activity and the banning of non-Islamic religious practice in public;

-having regard to documentation related to the latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council concerning the Maldives, of 6 May 2015;

-having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure

A.whereas international concerns are growing at the deteriorating human rights and political situation in the Maldives, as well as the sustained decline in democracy and judicial independence as President Abdulla Yameen and his government seek to tighten their grip on power;

B.whereas Yameen has been accused of reversing democratic progress in a country that became a multiparty democracy only in 2008; whereas political and civil freedoms have been eroded, opposition leaders arbitrarily arrested, the media attacked, and growing religious conservatism blamed for a decline in religious freedom and tolerance;

C. whereas concerns have been raised over the highly politicised Maldivian judiciary, which over the years has abused its powers and acted in favour of the current ruling party and against opposition politicians;

D.whereas the Maldives has been identified by the Inter-Parliamentary Union Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians as one of the worst countries in the world for attacks against opposition MPs, with opposition politicians routinely being intimidated, arrested and imprisoned; whereas freedom of expression (including freedom of the media), freedom of association and democratic pluralism have been increasingly under threat, with the arrest and charging of hundreds of anti-government protesters;

E.whereas President Abdulla Yameen has repeatedly and forcefully declared his intention to resume, by the end of September 2017, the practice of state-sanctioned executions, ending a 60-year moratorium; whereby the stated justification for this decision is the maintenance of public order and Maldivian social values;

F.whereas there is mounting evidence indicating that criminal charges brought against political opponents of President Yameen may have been politically motivated;

G.whereas, under the Anti-Defamation and Freedom of Expression Law of August 2017, the Maldivian government is authorised to revoke or suspend the licenses of broadcasters, publications, websites and other media sources, should the content of such sources be judged to violate the provisions of the aforesaid law, and additionally levy fines from 50,000 rufiyaa ($3,305) to 2 million rufiyaa ($132,000), payable under pain of imprisonment;

H.whereas the International Commission of Jurists has recently condemned the suspension of 54 Maldivian lawyers, each of whom were involved in appealing for judicial reforms intended to secure the independence of the judiciary;

I.whereas at least 20 individuals are currently sentenced to death in the Maldives, at least five of whom were under the age of majority (18) at the time of their arrest;whereas Maldivian law, in contravention of international law, allows for minors to be sentenced to a delayed death penalty to be carried out upon reaching the age of majority;

J.whereas in at least three cases, specifically those of Hussein Humaam Ahmed, Ahmed Murrath and Mohamed Nabeel, the Supreme Court of Maldives has confirmed death sentences for condemned individuals whose trials failed to uphold internationally recognised standards of fair trial, and are now at imminent risk of execution;

K.whereas there are also concerns about increasing radical Islamist militancy and about the number of radicalised young men and women alleged to have joined ISIS; whereas the Maldives is estimated, on a per capita basis, to have the largest number of ISIS recruits of any country;

1. Expresses its growing concern by the recent actions of the Government of Maldives which seriously damage and undermine democracy, and run counter to the Maldives’ Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations;

2. Condemns the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Abdulla Yameen and his government which has created a climate of fear and jeopardised the gains made in the country in recent years in the areas of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law;

3. Regrets that democratic space, political, civil and religious freedoms continue to deteriorate in the Maldives and condemns anti-democratic legislation which further restricts such rights;

4. Condemns the passing in 2016 of the Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act which seeks to clamp down on freedom of expression, and the Freedom of Assembly Act which restricts the right of assembly;

5. Deplores the crackdown on political opponents in the Maldives and calls on the Government of the Maldives to release, immediately and unconditionally all those being held for political reasons, including former president Mohamed Nasheed and former vice-president Ahmed Adeeb;

6. Restates its deep concern at the trials and convictions of political opponents of the Yameen government and believes they fell well-short of accepted international legal standards; further expresses concern at the growing politicisation of the Maldivian government and believes this is increasingly preventing defendents from receiving a fair trial;

7. Calls on the Maldivian Government to guarantee full impartiality of the judiciary and to respect due process of law and the right to a fair, impartial and independent trial; stresses the need to depoliticise the country’s judiciary and security services;

8. Expresses its deep concern at the decision to end a 60-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the Maldives and strongly urges President Yameen and the Government of the Maldives to amend the Death Penalty Regulation of April 2014, in the spirit of upholding internationally accepted norms of human rights;

9. Calls on the Commission and Member States to publicly urge President Yameen and the Government of the Maldives to review all death row cases to ensure that internationally recognised and constitutionally safeguarded rights of fair trial are respected; Believes that the trials of political opponents of the Maldivian government lacked transparency and judicial independence, and which failed to follow due process.

10. Restates its deep concern at the continued erosion of human rights in the Maldives, and the use of executive powers to reinforce a state of emergency which risks further undermining such rights; reminds the Maldivian government of the international commitments to which it is party regarding the respect for human rights;

11. Believes that the only way to resolve 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; further believes that as a first step towards reconciliation the government must release all those opposition politicians currently in jail;

12. Calls on the Government of the Maldives to respect and fully support the right to protest, the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and the right to freedom of religion and belief, and not to seek to restrict those rights;

13. Calls on the Government of the Maldives to end impunity for vigilantes who have used violence against people promoting religious tolerance, peaceful protesters, critical media and civil society;

14. Condemns the forcible closure of the nation’s Majlis to its members and the harassment, intimidation and arrests of elected members of parliament;

15. Reminds the Maldivian Government that legitimate opposition remains a vital component of any healthy democracy, and it is essential that the freedoms of assembly and expression are upheld for all;

16. Insists that opposition politicians and members of civil society are able to conduct their rightful duties without fear of intimidation or arrest, and reminds the authorities that such rights are critical for the country’s democracy, and in order for Parliament to act in accordance with the Constitution;

17. Condemns the continued intimidation of and threats to journalists in the Maldives, the arrest of reporters, and the raids and forced closures of news organisations;

18. Regrets the Maldives’ decision to leave the Commonwealth in 2016 and believes this is another aspect of the deterioration in the country’s rights, freedoms, and willingness to cooperate with international partners;

19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), the European External Action Service, the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the OSCE/ODHIR, the Council of Europe and the Government of the Maldives.

 

Last updated: 3 October 2017Legal notice