As a Labour Member of Parliament and an internationalist I am committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy across the world. Recently I have taken an interest in the current political crisis in the Maldives, where to date hundreds of protestors are imprisoned, this includes the first democratically elected President Mohammed Nasheed who is currently on temporary medical leave in the UK.
Last week I met with the Deputy High Commissioner of the Maldives Mr Hassan Shifau, and raised my concerns about reports of human rights violations in the Maldives, as well as the need for further democratic reform which would see all parties and groups in the Maldives represented in Government. I encouraged the Deputy High Commissioner to consider the release of all political prisoners so that multi-party talks on future elections and constitutional reform can go ahead.
I also discussed the imprisonment and treatment of President Nasheed, echoing concerns from the United Nations and the Commonwealth, I asked the Deputy High Commissioner to ensure all efforts were being made by the Maldivian Government to offer Nasheed a fair trial, access to a proper legal defence and to offer reassurances that the outcome of the trial will not be pre-determined or open to political interference.
We also shared views on the threat of global warming which is causing rising sea levels and the real implications it has for the future of the Maldives. Both of us agreed that our respective governments need to be working together with international partners to do more. The Deputy High Commissioner assured me that he would pass on my concerns directly to the Government of the Maldives.