The UK has not made specific representations to the Government of the Maldives on the practice of individuals being charged but not prosecuted. British officials based in our high commission in Colombo, and accredited to the Republic of the Maldives, have however made several representations on the issue of politically motivated arrests and prosecutions. Most notably these representations helped to lead to the negotiations between the Government of Maldives and the main opposition party in 2006 and the release of most political prisoners.
The human rights situation in Maldives has improved in recent years. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has concerns about some criminal investigations by the police which appear politically motivated, the treatment of detainees, the use of corporal punishment and inconsistent sentencing policy. Freedom for the media and political activists has improved noticeably over the last two years, but concerns remain. The first multi-party elections, scheduled for later in 2008, will be the first real test for these developments.
The transition to a multi-party democracy is the best basis for continued improvement. When my noble Friend the Minister 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.