The Maldives has condemned the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and ceased all trade ties with the country. Citing “systematic repression” of the minority group as documented in the past by the UN, the Maldives expressed concern with “the recent cycle of violence that resulted in the death of dozens of Rohingya Muslims and displaced several thousands.”
In a statement issued by the foreign ministry Sunday night, the Maldives also called for swift action from the international community to stop the bloodshed.
“The Government of Maldives has decided to cease all trade ties with Myanmar, until the Government of Myanmar takes measures to prevent the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims,” it reads.
“The Government of Maldives requests the United Nations Secretary General and the United Nations Human Rights Council to look into the grave violations of human rights against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.”
Nearly 90,000 Rohingya have reportedly fled the Buddhist-majority country to neighbouring Bangladesh since violent clashes erupted in late August. Officials blamed Rohingya militants but rights group have accused the army of waging a brutal campaign to force out the minority.
Following the announcement by the foreign ministry, ruling party lawmakers attacked former President Mohamed Nasheed over his past advocacy for the freedom of Myanmar’s leader Aung Sun Suu Ki, who has faced criticism for not speaking out in the face of the persecution of the Rohingya.
But the exiled opposition leader also joined the chorus of concern on social media.
Aung San Suu Kyi must protect the Rohingya's basic human rights. Not everything should be driven by political expedience.
In June, the Maldives severed diplomatic ties with Qatar amidst a row among the Gulf states. However, the Maldives’ action was limited to closing official channels of communication as trade and commercial ties continued.
The Maldives also severed ties with Iran in May last year, joining other Sunni Muslim countries that took diplomatic action after Saudi Arabia cut ties with its Shia-majority regional rival.