Following the declaration of a ‘state of emergency’ in the Maldives, after which soldiers forced their way into the Supreme Court, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday urged the Government to uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety of the people of the island nation. The UN chief expressed serious concern about the unfolding situation in the Maldives and, in statement issued by his Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, urged the Government to uphold the constitution and rule of law, lift the state of emergency as soon as possible, and take all measures to ensure the safety and security of the people in the country, including members of the judiciary.”
According to media reports, the security forces arrested the top judge after the declaration of the state of emergency – a development following the Supreme Court decision that ordered the release of convicted opposition leaders and the reinstatement of 12 parliamentarians.
Over the weekend, senior UN officials called on the authorities in the Maldives to fully respect the top court ruling, with Mr. Guterres expressing the continued readiness of the UN to facilitate all-party talks in finding a solution to the Indian Ocean nation’s political stalemate
According to ANI, the current political unrest in the Maldives took a new turn when agitators massively protested outside Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed‘s house in Male late on Saturday. Reportedly, there were scuffles between the protesters and police in riot gear outside the Chief Justice’s residence.
Eva Abdulla, Member of Parliament, of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) describing the ordeal told ANI over the phone, “Absolute breakdown of law and order. The public is on the edge. I am very concerned as we are facing increased unrest. They (police) have just used pepper spray and tear gas on the crowd.”
India has expressed concern over the developments in the Indian Ocean island nation, issuing a travel advisory, asking citizens to not travel to the country until the political crisis is resolved. India noted further that it was “disturbed” by the declaration of emergency in the Maldives.
China has also expressed hope for the government and the opposition to resolve the crisis on their own. China has since 2011, started expanding interests in the Maldives, which occupies a strategic location in the Indian Ocean.