The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has written to Majlis Speaker Abdullah Maseeh Mohamed requesting that the foreign minister Dunya Maumoon be prosecuted under the Parliamentary Privileges Act.
The MDP sent a letter today (November 13) in relation to comments made in the Majlis regarding discussions between India and China on the latter’s Maritime Silk Road project.
“Article 4 and 7 of the Majlis’ Privileges Act states that deliberately misleading the parliament is denying the parliament of its privileges. According to Article 8 of the same act it is punishable by a fine or jail time,” read the MDP letter.
“As foreign minister Dunya Maumoon had deliberately lied to the parliament and therefore broken the constitution, I would like to request to under Article 29 of Majlis’ privileges to submit foreign minister Dunya Maumoon’s case to the prosecutor general as a criminal offence,” it continued.
After Indian officials last week released a statement denying having discussed joining the proposed Chinese trade route, the Maldives foreign ministry responded by offering what it alleged was proof such talks had taken place.
This week has also seen both President Abdulla Yameen and members of his cabinet accuse “Western colonial powers” of anti-Islamic sentiment, prompting the MDP to call the country’s current foreign dealings a “policy of exclusion”.
Cabinet members also told the press yesterday (November 13) that the EU’s ending of preferential treatment for Maldivian tuna exports was a response to the Maldives’ refusal to allow “homosexual relations and the opportunity for people to follow any religion they want”.
Qualification for the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences Plus requires states to have acceded without reservation to a number of international treaties, including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The Maldives signed up to the ICCPR in 2006, making reservations regarding only Article 18 which mandates freedom of religion. Article 23 of the ICCPR mandates the right of marriage, although legal opinions differ on whether it mandates same sex marriage.
After reforming the GSP law in 2012, the EU drew up criteria for those eligible for the new GSP Plus scheme – which now includes 13 states.
The Maldives – ineligible for the standard GSP arrangement due to its recent graduation from least developed country status – subsequently chose not to apply for the new GSP Plus tariff .
Of the treaties required to be wholly acceded to by GSP Plus eligible nations, the Maldives has also made reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
In his Republic Day address this week, President Abdulla Yameen said the “government’s thinking is changing towards the East”, accusing the EU of imposing trade restrictions on the Maldives for refusing to change or abandon Islamic principles.
MDP Spokesman Imthiyaz Fahmy told Minivan News today that it was the government that was damaging relations, after ministers had accused his party of the same earlier this week.
“That the economic minister and the fisheries minister have commented on or criticised issues regarding diplomatic relations between countries or organizations goes to show that some of our ministers are at a loss,” said Fahmy.
Both the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives and the government have accused the opposition of stirring up trouble with bilateral partners.