The Government of Maldives has expressed concern over the escalation of violence and loss of life in Egypt and has established an emergency hotline for the 84 Maldivian students, and accompanying family members, who currently reside 100 metres from the latest protest site.
Egyptian protesters who were previously gathered near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in east Cairo and dispersed by security forces are now gathering in Nasru City’s Masjidul Salaam mosque area, approximately 100 meters from where the Maldivian expatriates are living, State Foreign Minister Hassan Saeed explained to Minivan News today (August 14).
“Earlier the demonstrations were quite far from the students, however the demonstrators have shifted to near the Masjidul Salaam mosque, which is one bus stop away, or about 100-150 meters, from where the students are located,” said Saeed.
Saeed confirmed that 84 students and their families are currently residing in Egypt.
“We have informed the students to be vigilant and not to stray from home unless necessary,” Saeed told local media.
Although no Maldivians have been harmed in the sectarian violence that has gripped Egypt, if the situation in Nasru City deteriorates causing shops to close, obtaining food and water may become difficult, Saeed explained.
The Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today that, due to the current chaos in Egypt, any problems faced by Maldivian nationals should be reported via the emergency hotline.
The ministry will advise students and/or their family members how to respond to any difficulties they may face due to the ongoing political unrest.
Saeed also emphasised that the Maldives Embassy located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is continuously monitoring the situation and has also been in contact with the Vice President of the Maldivian Student Association in Egypt. The Embassy will provide support to the Maldivian expatriates in Egypt as necessary, he continued.
Saeed does not believe the situation Nasru City is dangerous at present, though based on tonight’s events the relevant Maldivian government authorities will re-evaluate.
Thus far no Maldivian nationals have requested evacuation and the Government of Maldives will not evacuate them from Egypt unless they request it, said Saeed.
“Sometimes the [Maldives’] government is very eager to evacuate, however when the situation returns to normal students may not have funds to return,” he explained.
“The ministry is making sure there are sufficient funds to send the students back, if they are evacuated,” he added.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tonight, the department expressed its concern with the escalation of violence and loss of life in Egypt and has called on all parties to show maximum restraint and respect for the fundamental human rights of the Egyptian people.
The government has also urged all parties in Egypt to respect the rights of freedom of assembly and association as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 15/21.
“As an emerging democracy itself, the Maldives is familiar with the trials of democracy consolidation. A full and resilient democracy and a culture of respect for human rights can only be cultivated through denouncing of violence, and collaboration and consultation between all stakeholders, including the political opposition.
“The Maldives prays for an early resolution of the situation and for the return of peace and stability to Egypt, as it continues on its path to democracy consolidation,” reads the statement.
The Emergency Hotline number for Maldivians in Egypt who require assistance is +960-779-4601.