The European Union has been urged to impose economic sanctions on the Maldives in a report published by a law firm linked to the former president of the Indian Ocean nation.

The report from Perseus Strategies is entitled “Moving From Condemnation to Action: The Case for the European Union to Impose Restrictive Measures on Serious Human Rights Abusers in the Maldives”.

It has been published by Jared Genser, who runs the public interest law firm and is international counsel to Mohamed Nasheed, the former President of the Maldives.

The report recommends the Council of the European Union impose human rights-based sanctions in response to the crisis in the Maldives, including targeted asset freezes and travel bans, for those implicated in major human rights abuses in the Maldives.

In the report, Perseus Strategies details what it alleges to be “the broad range of human rights abuses being committed by the authoritarian regime of President Abdulla Yameen”.

It alleges the past four years under Yameen’s rule have been marked by abuses including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, enforced disappearance, harassment, and intimidation of human rights defenders, dissidents, and others critical of the regime.

It adds there has been “a resurgence in unlawful executions as civil society and political opposition face an environment of perpetual fear”.

On February 5, Yameen announced a state of emergency.  Perseus Strategies said state security forces have assumed extraordinary powers and are being used to intimidate justices on the Supreme Court bench.

The report explains the ways in which asset freezes and travel bans are imposed and then compares the situation in The Maldives to other countries in which sanctions have been imposed by the European Union.

Genser said: “This is as clear-cut a case for the imposition of targeted financial sanctions and travel bans as any other case in which the European Union has taken action.

“The situation of human rights in The Maldives is deplorable and getting worse rapidly. Yameen has acted systematically to consolidate his iron grip on power and assume dictatorial powers over all branches of the Government of the Maldives.

“All those abusing human rights from top to bottom should face justice and accountability for their actions.”

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