Maldives police accused of rights abuses against pro-democracy protesters being trained by UK
Human rights investigators have accused Maldives police force that have been trained by British police officers, (MPS) of serious, repeated civil rights abuses against pro-democracy protesters, opposition MPs and journalists.
Violence across the country sharply escalated this year after the forced departure of the Maldives' first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed, in February.
Human rights agencies believe that the alleged coup, and the violence since then, has shattered the islands' slow, fragile journey to democracy.
That conflict, which has reportedly led to the mass detention of 2,000 opposition activists, assaults and arrests of 19 opposition MPs, as well as sexual assaults, has raised significant questions about the role of British police in training and advising the islands' controversial police service, the Guardian reports.
Opposition groups, Amnesty International and senior officials in the reformist Nasheed government, have revealed their serious concerns over the UK's role.
According to the paper, they believe significant contradictions have emerged in the UK's dealings with the Maldives police, which threaten to damage the country's reputation in south Asia.
"If they've been providing training all these years and the MPS in Maldives are carrying out all these brutal attacks on people then there are obviously questions for them [whether] it is the right training they've been getting," the paper quoted Farah Faizal, the former Maldives high commissioner to the UK, as saying.
According to the paper, opposition activists say the UK has been aware about the police force's troubled reputation for years.
Senior British officers raised serious anxieties about human rights standards more than five years ago, they claimed.