The MDP Welcomes Calls by CMAG to Free Political Prisoners, Constructive Dialogue and Inclusive Elections in 2018

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) welcomes the concluding statement by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) calling on the government of Maldives to free political prisoners, hold inclusive talks with political parties and ensure

The MDP notes with concern issues highlighted by the CMAG on Wednesday and is encouraged by the Group’s renewed engagement with the government of Maldives to resolve the political and human rights crisis in the Maldives.

Recalling the matters of priority and with urgency highlighted by the Ministers, the MDP is fully committed to engage in “inclusive, purposeful, time-bound and forward looking political dialogue” with the government given a conducive environment for talks is established through confidence building measures by the government. As stated by the Ministers, the MDP believes political dialogue must be aimed at “achieving deeper and enduring understanding between government and opposition parties of their respective roles and responsibilities, a shared sense of national priorities, and overall a stronger climate of political pluralism in Maldives.”

Further recalling the Minister’s calls to “enable the release of political leaders under detention or custody and the return of those from outside the country” the MDP strongly believes this will be a necessary step towards constructive political dialogue.

Calls by the Ministers to ensure free and fair elections in 2018 where people of the Maldives must be able to “choose their political representatives” is central to re-establish the legitimacy of the government and people’s confidence in the democratic process.

As clearly stated by the CMAG the MDP strongly believes in the establishment of a pluralistic society that encourages media freedom and vibrant civil society free from fear and intimidation.

It is the hope of the MDP that the government takes measures to free political prisoners to ensure inclusive political dialogue in line with CMAG recommendations. Prior to the review of the Maldives situation by CMAG in April 2016, The government must demonstrate through action their commitment to advancing Commonwealth values and principles to prevent suspension from the Commonwealth and becoming a pariah state.