On 13 October, the Maldives government announced that the country will leave the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that were mostly former territories of the British Empire. In 1982 Maldives joined this elite group of countries who share values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
The decision comes as the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, a rotating group of foreign ministers from eight member states, convened a meeting in September and discussed Maldives’s lack of progress in resolving a protracted political crisis. The meeting has put Maldives on a watch list and warned that if there is no sign of substantive progress across the priority areas before the next meeting in March 2017, the group would consider suspending the country from the Commonwealth.
The meeting took the decisions based on the report of Commonwealth special envoy Willy Mutunga, the former chief justice of Kenya, who visited Maldives twice and interacted with people at various levels. Matunga said in the report that “a high level of fear and political intimidation prevails in the island nation”.