22 February 2012, Kathmandu, Nepal
The representatives of civil society organizations in Nepal are deeply troubled with the recent undemocratic political move in the Maldives. We express our grave concern regarding the conflict between the ruling and opposition political parties of the Maldives that led to the ousting of the elected president Mohammed Nasheed allegedly with coercion. The current tendency in the Maldives; the use of military power to overthrow the elected president means undermining the people's power, democratic norms and values and human rights. We strongly believe that military authority in any case cannot be justified as legitimate under any pretext.
An unequivocal rejection and unacceptability of the forcible ousting and overthrow of democratically elected government by the military is our immutable bottom line. We believe that the security forces, so long as they are in uniform, should completely stay away from politics in all circumstances. They should strictly adhere to the principle of 'civilian supremacy'. It is up to the elected representatives or the common people themselves to decide the fate of the government. An illegal, illegitimate and immoral intervention of security forces in politics will not only help set a very bad precedent, but most obviously, it is in sheer contrary to safeguarding democratic principles as enshrined in the proposed SAARC Democracy Charter.
While registering our solidarity for the cause of democracy and human rights in the Maldives, we categorically demand the following:
- Immediate holding of fresh, free and fair elections.
- SAARC, in accordance with the spirit of the proposed "Democracy Charter", to refrain from taking a vacillating and weak stand at this critical juncture about the perils of military adventure in politics.
- Security forces to maintain neutral position and stay out of politics to let the democratic process take its natural course without undue intervention from any quarters.
- Unity among all democratic forces for steadfast opposition to militarization, undemocratic and unconstitutional move that may cultivate the possible return of dictatorship in the Maldives.
- Protection and respect for universal human rights, independence of judiciary and immediate halt to the crackdown on MDP supporters.
People' SAARC, Nepal Country Chapter Secretariat