The defamation bill that has been introduced in the Maldivian parliament risks being, if passed, a serious setback for freedom of speech in the Maldives. It will allow severe penalties to be imposed on those who wish to exercise their democratic rights and freedoms, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Embassies of the United States, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands; the High Commission of the United Kingdom; and the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives reiterate our concern about the erosion of fundamental freedoms and the institutions of democracy, including freedom of assembly and press. We express our support for all Maldivians struggling to preserve their hard won democratic institutions and rights. We urge President Yameen to reverse the backsliding of the past many months and return to the path of democracy, transparency, and rule of law – for the well-being and prosperity of all of the people in the Maldives.