Maldives has finally decided to quit the Commonwealth, the oldest political organization, an organization of 53 countries and presently a transformed institution since the time of imperialism , a group of voluntarily organized nations about which Pt. Nehru had said that ‘it is an organization which we can join or leave at our own free will.’ Maldives perhaps had learnt this statement of Indian Prime Minister and has now decided to leave London based organization which had its premium value during the time of the colonial ages but time has changed now and the former colony now challenge the noble values and the Commonwealth.. The government of Abdulla Gayoom in Maldives has now acted in defiance to the wishes of the organization.
The reason of leaving the organization is just only to save the faded face. The Maldives was being accused by the Commonwealth for the poor records of the human rights in the small coral island by the government. The government went in angry mood and rejected the accusations and called it interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation and violation of the UN charter. The accusations although have stood the test of time and even a casual watcher can easily understand the level of the governance in this tiny island nation which is under the maximum climate change threats due to its low lying condition in the sea. In fact has exhibited the massive human rights violation in the recent time when the democratic system in the country has come under grave threats; ex President Nashhed was ingloriously exited from the political scene and was compelled to leave the political space in the country, albeit Indian interest lied with Maldives and India tried to convince the Maldivian government to take a positive and lenient view about him but it was mot honoured. The political disturbances in the country have several ripples which are difficult to be counted.
Being predominantly a conservative state the Maldives attract the global tourist due to its beauty and a close encounters with the different facets of the nature , the beauty brings a lot of foreign tourists to this mystic land but at the deep level under these beauties and the ripples lie the dark side of the Maldivian political culture and the real suppressed status of several fellows in the country, a fact which was in the mind of the Commonwealth when it had warned it about its human rights violations. Maldivian society is strictly not much developed, in economic as well at the social realms it exhibits several of the deficiencies which has been accounted by commonwealth and several of the other countries. The Amnesty International Report 2015-16 on global human rights stated that independence of Human Rights Commission was breached and government could not defend it. It was in fact the result of the judicial overreach.
Under the new penal code the two women were given punishment of 100 lashes and several months house arrest because they had given birth to child without being married. This is a grave human rights violation as the state as an oppressive agency try to decide the morality of the people and the society. The individual is put at the lowest level and Maldives did the same.
The report further stated that political opponents were not given the fair trial and the constitutional safeguards were eroded. Though government maintained that it had followed the due process of law but it was not so in reality. The former President Nasheed was given 13 years imprisonment which was widely condemned. All the countries were aware that political activism of the government in the Maldives was not in consonance to the basic constitutional and political rights. Thus a kind of dictatorial method was in full sway in the country. The Commonwealth and other institutions were aware about such developments which were not to the liking of the Maldivian government. The report also highlighted three major issues which included the question on the judicial impartiality; it is a fact that in such dictatorial countries which call themselves as the democratic ones, such neutrality at the judicial level is highly eroded. This is a common feature of such regimes. The verdict given against Z A Bhutto in Pakistan for death penalty was controlled by the then Pakistan leader Zia ul Haq and the judiciary was seen under control. In Maldives similar conditions prevail.
Freedom of assembly and the peaceful protests have been widely curtailed in the Maldives. There are arrests and detentions. Another serious issue relates to the flogging of the women, how can any sane people or any democratic order or developed intellectual society can accept such flogging?; but it has taken place. A shame to the modern society where so many developments in different fields have taken place but women are treated in such vulgar form. Big South Asian states like India should take note of these and should warn the tiny nation Maldives that it should not be indulged in such activities but all the noble and lofty talks at different platforms by the leaders are just empty rhetoric.
The resignation of Maldives from commonwealth should be welcomed and there is need to isolate in complete manner at the global level but it is not going to be possible because its one patron China is on the same and big boat of violations. The world is thus in chaos when the issue of human rights are raised and the tunnel of pains is too long and only solution lies in the individual and collective efforts when the states and the governments fail then it is essential that common people should ponder over the painful situations and try to resolve these with the collective efforts.
Dr Vivek Kumar Srivastava is Vice-Chairman, CSSP and Consultant, CRIEPS, Kanpur, Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org