Why Maldives left the Commonwealth – IAS Mains Exam

Why Maldives left the Commonwealth – IAS Mains Exam  –Relevance and use of the article in UPSC prelims and mains examination:Dear aspirants, In international arena any relation is not stable these relations are depend on various factors Any successful partnership and alliance is based on mutual respect and understanding. However, such partnerships break down when unilateral prejudices creep in and the trust is broken. This is what led the Maldives to take strong action and leave the Commonwealth.

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The Maldives has always viewed the organisation as a platform for greater good and has proactively engaged with all Commonwealth initiatives.what we have to exercise out is that what led maldives to leave this organization so quickly.

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Introduction:

  • The Maldives has left the Commonwealth, claiming it was “unfairly and unjustly” treated by the global body that was due to consider sanctions – including suspension – against the nation after its “lack of progress” on a raft of democratic reforms.
  • The islands have been in political turmoil since its first democratically-elected leader Mohamed Nasheed resigned in 2012 – the ousted leader claims he was deposed at gunpoint.

The Commonwealth

  • The Commonwealth is a group of 53 nations, of which 16 have the Queen as Head of State
  • Formerly the British Commonwealth, most member states were once part of the British Empire
  • The modern-day Commonwealth dates to 1949, when there were eight members
  • Combined population of 2.2 billion across all six continents
  • Promotes democracy, human rights, free trade and the rule of law
  • Covers nearly a quarter of the world’s land mass & has a combined GDP of £6.9 trillion
  • Newest member, Rwanda, joined in 2009. South Sudan hopes to be next
  • Leaders meet every two years at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The issue

  • The government of the Maldives announced on last week that it would leave the Commonwealth, saying it had been treated “unjustly and unfairly” over questions about its human rights record.
  • In September, the Commonwealth warned that it might suspend the country for what the organization described as its failure to address several threats to democratic governance.
  • The decision further isolates the tiny archipelago nation during a turbulent political moment. After three decades of authoritarian rule, the Maldives elected Mohamed Nasheed as president in 2008 in its first democratic election. In 2012, he was pushed out of office in what he said was a military coup and imprisoned under an antiterrorism law that critics say was abused. In the last year, the government of the current president, Abdulla Yameen, has prosecuted officials and members of the political opposition amid a growing international outcry.
  • The Maldives is Asia’s smallest country, with about 400,000 predominantly Muslim inhabitants.
  • Its withdrawal from the Commonwealth, a 53-nation body made up largely of former British colonies, is the latest conflict between world leaders and Mr. Yameen, who has been beleaguered by corruption allegations and calls to step down.

Analysis:

  • Maldives was being targeted by the Commonwealth Secretariat to unfair scrutiny on multiple occasions. The Secretariat failed to understand the dynamics of politics in a small island state.
  • Taking into consideration that the Maldives is an evolving democracy, the Commonwealth could have played a monumental role in developing and strengthening its democratic institutions. However, instead of engaging in meaningful dialogue towards furthering the democratic process, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) allowed itself to be drawn into the internal politics of the country.
  • Since 2009, the Commonwealth has contributed little towards the democratic process in the Maldives and turned a deaf ear to several requests for help with technical assistance from the government.
  • The Commonwealth has sought to take punitive actions against the Maldives since 2012 after the then president resigned, and the transfer of power took place as per the procedures set out in the Constitution.

Democratic issues:

  • Democracy is not a “one size fits all” option that can be transferred from one country to another. Democracy evolves over time and moulds itself with the ethnic, socio-political fabric of a country.
  • Such an evolution is taking place in the Maldives and the international community needs to recognise this.
  • This makes the situation polarised, giving it little space for flexibility, and yet the Maldivians respect democracy.
  • The country today is a multi-party democracy with two elections having been held under the provisions of the 2008 Constitution. Even today, the Majlis — the Maldivian parliament — represents a cross-section of political thought via multiple parties. And yet accusations of stifling democracy are hurled at the country.

Response of International community:

  • If the international community had taken a serious look at the Maldivian response to the recommendations of the CMAG it would have realised that the later actions of the Secretariat were nearly vindictive.
  • The country has been falsely and baselessly accused of breaching every clause of the Commonwealth Charter and causing complete decay in the economic climate of the country.
  • Since November 2013, the present government has enacted 110 articles of legislation. Of these 94 are directly related to the core values of the Commonwealth Charter; of which 69 were specific to promoting human rights, strengthening democratic governance, and reinforcing separation of powers.
  • The Commonwealth has time and again stated that there is a disregard for human rights in the Maldives.

Conclusion:

  • It slowly became clear that the Commonwealth was abandoning its philosophy which states “association of independent and equal sovereign states, each responsible for its own policies, consulting and co-operating in the common interests of our peoples and in the promotion of international understanding.” International associations and non-political bodies are meant to promote bonding and cooperation.
Question: “Any successful partnership and alliance is based on mutual respect and understanding. However, such partnerships break down when unilateral prejudices creep in and the trust is broken”. Discuss this statement in the context of maldives sudden exit of commonwealth.
Suggested points:
  • Discuss about Current political and civil turmoil in maldives.
  • Commonwealth countries and its charter.
  • Why instability in maldives led to this discussion.
  • Learnings for India.
  • Discuss the issue of organization over countries.
  • Suggetions.
  • Conclusion.