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Procedure : 2017/2870(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0560/2017

Texts tabled :

B8-0560/2017

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 262kWORD 52k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0549/2017
3.10.2017
PE611.486v01-00
 
B8-0560/2017

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))


Elena Valenciano, Victor Boştinaru, Soraya Post, Wajid Khan on behalf of the S&D 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))  
B8‑0560/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Maldives, in particular that of 30 April 2015 and 17 December 2015,

–  having regard to the Joint Local Statement issued by the EU Delegation in agreement with the Ambassadors of Canada, Norway Switzerland and the United States of America of 8 April 2017 on democracy in the Maldives,

–  having regard to the Statement issued by the EU Delegation with the Embassies of EU Member States and the Embassies of Norway, Switzerland and the United States accredited to the Maldives of 25 July 2017 on the situation in the Maldives,

–  having regard to Statement by the Spokesperson of the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) of 5 November 2015 on the Declaration of the State of Emergency by the President of the Maldives, and of 14 March 2016 on the conviction of former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed,

–  having regard to Statement by the Spokesperson of the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) of 02 July 2016 on a death sentence in the Maldives, and of 11 August 2016 on restrictions of freedom of expression and independence of the media in the Maldives,

–  having regard to Statement by the Spokesperson of the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) of 25 April 2017 on the murder of Yameen Rasheed in the Maldives,

–  having regard to the statement of the group of United Nations experts of 9 May 2017 on the murder of Yameen Rasheed,

–  having regard to the statement of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression of 10 August 2016 on the situation in the Maldives,

–  having regard to the statement of the Secretary-General of the United Nations of 27 July 2017 on the Maldives,

–  having regard to the final report of the EU Election Observation Mission to the Parliamentary Elections in the Republic of Maldives of 22 March 2014,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty;

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline;

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas President Abdulla Yameen has been head of state and government of the Republic of the Maldives since 2013; whereas political tension is growing in the Maldives ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for 2018 with regular clashes, intimidation, political oppression and the curtailment of press freedom;

B. whereas in March 2015 Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected President in the Maldives, was sentenced to 13 years in jail on terrorism offences, relating to the arrest of the then chief judge of the criminal court in 2012, about which the EU expressed its concern;

C. whereas Mohamed Nasheed was routinely imprisoned during the dictatorship of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoon; whereas his trial was widely criticised by international monitors for failing to meet standards of justice; whereas he subsequently received asylum within the European Union;

D. whereas opposition politicians in the Maldives are routinely intimidated and imprisoned; whereas the Member of Parliament Afrasheem Ali was murdered in 2012; whereas former Vice-President Adeeb and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim have received lengthy prison sentences; whereas the leaders of opposition parties Sheik Imran Abdulla and Qasim Ibrahim have also been handed down prison sentences;

E. whereas in August 2017 opposition parties attempted to impeach the Speaker of the Parliament for refusing to allow government scrutiny; whereas the military reacted by blocking access to the Parliament and preventing Members of Parliament from entering; whereas the parliamentary session was adjourned by the Speaker before a vote of no-confidence could take place;

F. whereas the Prison and Parole Act of the Maldives was amended on 30 March 2015 to bar political party membership for individuals who have served prison sentences; whereas this raises serious concerns that the ruling party is attempting to supress opposition political activity;

G. whereas non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society actors face threats and attacks, and are operating in a progressively more hostile environment; whereas the Freedom of Assembly Act passed in August last year restricts the right of assembly, and has been criticised as being unconstitutional;

H. whereas press freedom is increasingly restricted, with news outlets blocked or shut-down; whereas the Protection of Reputation and Good Name and Freedom of Expression Act was adopted on 9 August 2016 which criminalises freedom of expression with disproportionate penalties; whereas the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, deplored its adoption;

I. whereas blogger and vocal critic of the government Yameen Rasheed was murdered on 23 April 2017 after reporting death threats; whereas journalist Ahmen Rilwan has been missing since August 2014 and feared dead; whereas blogger Ismail Rasheed was stabbed and wounded in 2012;

J. whereas 56 lawyers in the Maldives were suspended from practicing on politically-motivated grounds; whereas around 29 of the lawyers have had the suspension lifted but only after agreeing to formally apologise for signing a petition calling for judicial reform;

K. whereas a moratorium on the use of the death penalty has been in place in the Maldives since 1954; whereas on 27 April 2014 the government of the Maldives adopted a Regulation for the reintroduction of the death penalty for certain crimes; whereas the Regulation permits the sentencing of children as young as seven years old for capital offences, provided their execution is delayed until they reach 18; whereas this is in contravention of international law; whereas the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard has urged the government of the Maldives not to resume executions;

L. Whereas at least 20 individuals are currently facing the death penalty in the Maldives, at least 5 of whom were juveniles at the time of their arrest; whereas at least 3 individuals, Hussein Humaam Ahmen, Ahmed Murrath and Mohamed Nabeel, have had their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court of the Maldives, in trials which failed to uphold internationally recognised rights of fair trial, and are at risk of imminent execution;

 

1. Expresses deep regret at the deteriorating political and human rights situation in the Maldives, and the increasing tendencies towards authoritarian rule, which could jeopardise the gains which have been made in recent years in establishing human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the country;

2. Deplores the intimidation and harassment of opposition politicians; deeply regrets the recent blockade of the parliament by the military and security services; recalls the importance of open, participatory and multiparty political dialogue in a functioning democracy; calls for a credible and inclusive political process in the Maldives to contribute towards continued progress in the country; further calls on the government and parliament of the Maldives to amend the Prison and Parole Act to remove the 2015 restrictions on political party membership;

3. Expresses concern at the increasing politicisation of the judiciary, including the sentencing of opposition politicians on politically-motivated charges; urges the Maldivian authorities to ensure the independence of the judiciary is upheld and meets international standards; calls in this regard for the remaining suspended lawyers to be reinstated without politically-motivated conditions, in order to be able to continue practicing law in the Maldives;

4. Recalls the right to protest is guaranteed under the constitution of the Maldives, and that it is the duty of the security forces to protect peaceful demonstrators; strongly urges the government to ensure individuals and civil society actors including human rights defenders can act without intimidation, harassment, threats or violence, and that those undertaking such actions are brought to justice;

5. Regrets the increasing restrictions on press freedom; calls on the government of the Maldives to reform the Protection of Reputation and Good Name and Freedom of Expression Act in order to repeal undue restrictions on freedom of expression, and to ensurethe Act is in compliance with the relevant international treaties and agreements to which the Maldives is party in order to ensure journalists can operate in safety;

6. Deplores the murder of Yameen Rasheed and expresses condolences to his family; reiterates calls from the UN group of expert for a public inquiry into his death and bring the perpetrators to justice; further urges the Maldivian authorities to publically investigate the disappearance of Ahmen Rilwan;

7. Reiterates the European Union’s strong opposition to the death penalty, in all cases and without exception; calls for the universal abolition of capital punishment; expresses deep concern at the decision by the Maldives to resume executions; urges the Maldives to reinstate the moratorium as a step towards the full abolition of the death penalty; further calls on the government to immediately revoke all capital punishment charges against children and to review all cases of individuals on death row to ensure internationally recognised and constitutionally safeguarded rights of fair trial are respected;

 

8. Calls on the European External Action service (EEAS) and the Member States to issue warnings about the Maldives’ human rights record on their travel advice websites;

 

9. Calls on the European Commission and the EEAS to continue monitoring closely the situation in the country, to regularly raise these concerns in bilateral dialogue with the Maldives, and to work with international partners, including the UN, to encourage the Government of the Maldives to reverse its negative trajectory on human rights, and to enter into a genuine dialogue with opposition parties;

 

10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of the Republic of the Maldives, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, and the Governments and Parliaments of the EU Member States.

 

Last updated: 3 October 2017Legal notice