press release

Statement by Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler on the announcement of executions in Maldives


Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (23 August) on the announcement of executions in Maldives:

I am very concerned about the recently repeated announcements by senior members of the Government of the Republic of Maldives of plans to carry out the death penalty again.

Carrying out executions again after over 60 years would be a great setback for Maldives, and even more because there is considerable doubt about the fairness and regularity of the trials against some of those convicted. The situation is part of a general development that is weakening democracy in Maldives and goes against human rights commitments.

The German Government rejects the death penalty under all circumstances and campaigns with its partners in the EU for its worldwide abolition. In direct talks with officials of the Government of the Republic of Maldives, I repeatedly pointed out that the death penalty is an inhumane and cruel form of punishment and harms the right to life. I therefore urgently call on the Government and judiciary of the Republic of Maldives not to impose the death penalty or carry out the announced executions.

Background information:

In recent weeks, members of the Government of the Republic of Maldives have repeatedly announced plans to carry out the death penalty again in the South Asian island state for the first time in over 60 years. An official moratorium had been in place in the country since 1953. In 2014, this moratorium was lifted by President Abdulla Yameen’s Government, which has been criticised internationally for its human rights violations. At the beginning of August 2017, both President Yameen and his Minister of the Interior announced that the first executions could be carried out in September 2017; on 22 August, this announcement was repeated by an advisor to Yameen.

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