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Statement on passing of the defamation bill in Maldives

The British High Commission issued the following statement on passing of the defamation bill by the parliament in Maldives.

Foreign Office building

The passing of the defamation bill this week by parliament in the Maldives is a serious setback for freedom of expression in the country. Freedom of expression and the right to information are fundamental in free and democratic societies. The broadly defined restrictions and severe penalties set out in the bill fall short of widely accepted international standards, as well as the core values affirmed in the Commonwealth Charter.

The United Kingdom continues to urge the President and the Government of the Maldives, with the judiciary, to take positive action to reverse steps taken and decisions made that weaken democratic rights and safeguards, and to uphold the freedoms and constitutional rights of the Maldivian people.

Published 11 August 2016