Statement by the Spokesperson on the situation in the Maldives
The declaration of the state of emergency on February 5 by the President of the Maldives undermines democracy and human rights and further escalates political tensions in the country. The European Union expects the state of emergency to be lifted without delay.
Furthermore, the decision to arrest two Supreme Court judges, including the Chief Justice, shows a clear disregard for the independence of the judiciary – fundamental in any democracy –, as well as the Court's ruling of 1 February, which ordered the release of leading politicians and reinstated 12 members of parliament. The arrest of former President Gayoom is an additional blow to the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the Maldives.
The European Union continues to expect the authorities of the Maldives to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court and allow the immediate resumption and normal functioning of the Parliament. An inclusive dialogue that engages the leaders of all political parties is needed in order to pave the way for credible, transparent and inclusive elections.
In light of the serious deterioration of the situation, it is essential that all in the country, in particular law enforcement authorities, act with restraint. Fundamental rights and freedoms of the population must be preserved, notably the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful demonstration. The immediate return to constitutional normalcy is imperative so as to reduce the current tensions.