Maldives crisis: UN chief Antonio Guterres urges Abdulla Yameen to uphold country's constitution amid political turmoil

United Nations: UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed serious concern over the declaration of a state of emergency in the Maldives and asked the government led by President Abdulla Yameen to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

Guterres' statement comes after President Abdulla Yameen ordered a state of emergency in the country and gave sweeping powers to the law enforcement agencies and the military.

The picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago plunged into a political chaos last week when the country's Supreme Court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were "politically motivated and flawed".

Guterres' spokesperson Stephane Dujarric in a statement said, "The Secretary-General urges the Government of the Maldives to uphold the constitution and the 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."

Assistant Secretary-General of the UN for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca spoke by phone with the Maldives' Foreign minister and reiterated the Secretary-General’s serious concern about the unfolding situation in the country, in particular the arrest of the Chief Justice.

"Jenca stressed the importance of upholding the Constitution and the rule of law, in particular the need to preserve the independence of the judiciary. He urged the Government of Maldives to release the Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges urgently," Deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

File image of UN chief Antonio Guterres. AP

File image of UN chief Antonio Guterres. AP

He asked the Maldivian government to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of all people in the country and to resolve the political crisis through all- party talks, which the UN stands ready to facilitate, Haq said.

The declaration of emergency and arrest of judges by Yameen has attracted world-wide condemnation which is likely to quell the ambition of the island nation to be elected as non-permanent member of UN Security Council later this summer. Indonesia is the other country in the race.

"Given the backlash that Maldives is facing from across the world in the aftermath of the declaration of emergency by its president," UN observers said.

However, the Permanent Representative of Maldives to the UN, Ali Naseer Mohamed, still has hopes.

"The Maldives hopes to get elected to the Council at the election to be held in June this year for the term 2019 to 2020," he told a meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday.

"We will bring fresh views to the Council, and lead the discussions in finding innovative and long-term solutions to these emerging issues," he said.

"We believe that creating an accountable, transparent, and a coherent Security Council is a clear way to lead this Organisation into the 21st Century," Mohamed told the powerful Security Council, which has 15 members. Maldives has never been elected as members of the Security Council.

Updated Date: Feb 07, 2018 12:05 PM

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