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Volume 627: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2017

Like many in the House, I am concerned that democratic freedoms continue to face restriction in the Maldives. Pressure on Opposition politicians, including arrests and prosecutions, has grown. Human rights activists, civil society and the media are under increasing threat. Her Majesty’s Government, I assure the House, raise these issues frequently with the Government of the Maldives, and we led the recent UN statement in the June Human Rights Council.

Apologies, Mr Speaker; I am new to the House.

My right hon. Friend the Minister will know that a coalition of opposition parties in the Maldives, led by former President Mohamed Nasheed and committed to democracy and to improving relations with this country, has secured a majority in that country’s Parliament. Does my right hon. Friend share my concern that the regime of President Yameen might resort to illegal means to prevent Parliament from functioning properly in that country?

I am very concerned about that prospect. In recent years, in any part of the political environment in the Maldives, no one’s hands have been entirely clean—it has not been a happy situation across the board. The Government’s biggest regret is that the Maldives unilaterally left the Commonwealth in 2016, and I very much hope that a new regime will bring them back into the international regime.