The Ethical Maldives Alliance advocates the consideration of human rights issues when choosing where to stay in the Maldives by providing a traffic light-style guidance on resorts linked with key regime figures. They are urging travellers to carefully consider their choice of resort and business, avoiding those that directly or indirectly contribute towards rights abuses. There is plenty of choice available and tourists can make a real difference to the struggle to protect the country’s nascent democracy.
The list, published by Ethical Maldives, coincides with growing international criticism over the sentencing of the former President and leader of the opposition Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in prison last month. Just this week, former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was also sentenced to 11 years in prison with similar issues raised over judicial process.
Nasheed’s jail sentence has been widely condemned by the International community and branded a ‘travesty of justice’ by Amnesty International and ‘grossly unfair’ by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). It followed his ousting from office in 2012 in what was widely accepted as a coup and a three year period of upheaval in the islands. The convictions of Nasheed and Nazim have sparked widespread protests and unrest in the Maldives.
Even outside of the country’s tumultuous politics, migrant workers – largely individuals trafficked from Bangladesh – are facing deportation if caught taking part in a planned mass-protest against their treatment and recent violent attacks on foreign nationals that has seen two men die last month.
Tourists are now being urged to consult a new traffic light system ethical resorts list before booking their holidays. The list ranks resorts and destinations based on their owners’ support for and complicity in human rights abuses, police brutality and suppression of civil liberties.
The system works as follows:
- Green: resorts and businesses are low-risk to visit, and EM urges you to use these on your holiday.
- Amber: resorts and businesses are under consideration for listing in the EM based on links to human rights abuses.
- Red: These resorts and businesses should be avoided altogether and are dubbed ‘high risk’.
A statement from Ethical Maldives:
“The Maldives has a long and sad history of political oppression and human rights abuses. Most tourists to the islands remain blissfully unaware of the realities of life for the local population.
Former President Nasheed’s imprisonment, the show trial of ex-defense minister Nazim and the ongoing campaign of political violence against local people are just three examples of why tourists should ‘know before they go’.
Money from tourism provides the bulwark of support to a government with a known record of intimidation and oppression. Resorts that support the thuggish Yameen regime should be called out. The EM website and list of resorts to avoid is a first step in that direction.”
The Ethical Maldives list of ‘Red Resorts’ can be found on their website: www.ethicalmaldives.com