Yesterday, the Prime Minister had a meeting:
‘The Prime Minister welcomed the former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, to Downing Street this morning. Following his release from prison, Mr Nasheed thanked the Prime Minister for the role the UK had played by continuing to raise his case, including with other countries at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting last November.
They agreed that while Mr Nasheed’s release was a positive step, more needed to be done and it was important for the Maldivian government to maintain momentum, which was necessary if real change is to be delivered. Looking ahead to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group visit to the Maldives next month, the Prime Minister and Mr Nasheed agreed this was an opportunity for all Commonwealth members to send a consistently strong message on the need for the Maldivian government to engage in open political dialogue and free all remaining political prisoners swiftly.
Finally, the Prime Minister told Mr Nasheed that the UK would continue to raise concerns about the erosion of democracy and wider situation in the Maldives and it would also continue to discuss the situation with international partners, including how best the international community can make its concerns clear to the Maldivian government.’
Quite a lot of the media coverage focused on the legal adviser present, Amal Clooney, but the real person of interest here is Nasheed (pictured). By my records the first time he appeared on ConservativeHome was in a report from the 2007 Party Conference, and his case has been repeatedly taken up on the site in the eight and a half years since then. Indeed, he himself has written for ConHome.
It’s encouraging, therefore, to see his campaign for democracy in the Maldives being taken seriously in Downing Street. The above statement contains various comments about the international community and the Commonwealth, but I wonder how many of the tens of thousands of British holidaymakers who go there each year are aware that their trip to a sun, sea and sand paradise is helping to fund the islands’ brutal, islamist-linked government? The British Government could do worse than to make the reality of the Maldives clear to Brits looking for somewhere nice to visit.