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Maldives: Politics and Government

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 9 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations the UK has made to the Government of the Republic of the Maldives on human rights and the development of parliamentary democracy; and if he will make a statement. (175829)

I told the House on 17 October 2007, Official Report, columns 939-942, during a debate on Maldives that we understood the challenges the Maldivian Government face to adopt and implement multi-party liberal democracy that fully observes international human rights obligations.

Maldives has acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and is now a signatory to the six core UN human rights instruments. We welcome these developments. We have always made clear to the Maldivian Government the importance of meeting international obligations on human rights, including the full and transparent investigation of any human rights based allegations. We understand that a UN human rights adviser invited by the Maldivian Government are working with them on this.

When my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister responsible for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, met President Gayoom of Maldives in July 2007, he underlined the need to keep the reform process on track and the importance of this year’s elections being free, fair, inclusive and supported by the Maldivian people. In meetings with the Maldivian Foreign Minister, Abdullah Shahid, his deputy, Dhunya Maumoon, and with the Chairman of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have emphasised the need for good faith among all political parties and for all to redouble efforts to implement democratic change in Maldives.