Maldives Declares State Of Emergency

Filed Under: Travel

The government of the Maldives has just declared a state of emergency for the next 15 days, as political tensions in the island nation are on the rise. Here’s the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

The President H.E. Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has declared a State of Emergency, under Article 253 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, for the next 15 days.

During this time, though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected.

The Government of Maldives wishes to also assure all Maldivians and the international community that the safety of all Maldivians and foreigners living in and visiting the Maldives, will be ensured.

The Maldives last declared a state of emergency in November 2015, after an assassination attempt against their ex-president. That last state of emergency was declared just days before the opposition party was expected to protest, so clearly it was politically motivated.

Here’s what the state of emergency is about this time, according to Al Jazeera:

The Maldives plunged into political turmoil last week after the country’s top court threw out a “terrorism” conviction against its former president Mohamed Nasheed, and ordered the release of other jailed opposition politicians.

The ruling dealt a blow to Yameen with critics accusing him of corruption, misrule, and rights abuses. He denies the allegations.

The opposition now has a majority in the 85-member house as the Supreme Court ruling also reinstated 12 members of parliament who were stripped of their seats last year.

But two of the 12 were arrested at the airport on Sunday, shortly after they returned to the Maldives after spending months in exile.

I’m sure many are wondering if it’s still safe to travel to the Maldives. Several countries have issued travel warnings for the Maldives. For example, as noted by @Roar_SinghIndia has advised nationals to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. This is something everyone has to decide for themselves.

Personally if I had a trip planned to the Maldives I wouldn’t change my plans. Are things completely safe? Well, I shared my thoughts on that last summer. While I personally feel comfortable traveling to the Maldives, I perceive it to be one of the less safe popular vacation destinations out there. As I said in my last post:

I’d like to think I’m not someone who travels in fear (well, other than my perfectly rational fear of monsters under my hotel bed). When my time comes my time comes, and that’s that. However, in the back of my mind I can’t help but think how easy it would be to take over one of these islands, and what a symbolic target this could be for terrorist groups, given how luxurious of a destination the Maldives is. I can’t think of many places that are more exposed and less prepared for such a situation.

Personally I still think it’s worth visiting the Maldives, and I don’t think it’s worth living in fear. Most of us drive every day, and that’s significantly more dangerous than just about anything else we do. This latest state of emergency wouldn’t make me feel any differently than before about visiting the Maldives.

What do you make of the Maldives’ state of emergency, and would you change your travel plans if you were scheduled to travel there?

  1. “Most of us drive every day, and that’s infinitely more dangerous than just about anything else we do.” The word infinitely doesn’t mean what you think it means

  2. moreover, most of us drive because we have to get to work. If you wanted a warm beach destination with luxury resorts, there are plenty of infinitely safer and more domestic choices.

  3. Honestly, probably safer here than my daily commute through NYC. I am one soft target away from…. Live your life.

  4. The Maldives are only around 700 miles from a major US military base at Diego Garcia. So if anything terrible did happen help is relatively near by.

  5. What geopolitical security expertise does this blogger have to make his conclusion that the “state of emergency wouldn’t make me feel any differently than before”? Does he have insider information that its closest country (India) doesn’t have?

    Also, have you ever considered that any visit there directly subsidizes an increasingly undemocratic and oppressive government? According to Wikipedia, 90% of government tax revenue flows in from import duties and tourism-related taxes.

  6. While you may be right and you may be perfectly safe in the Maldives and infinitely less safe in a car, I am infinitely more comfortable with my risk of driving poorly than my risk of being kidnapped, anally raped and decapitated.

  7. “Most of us drive every day, and that’s infinitely more dangerous than just about anything else we do”

    If it’s so dangerous then why do you use Uber so much?

  8. @Savannah for some reason he trusts Uber drivers more than himself. Same reason he flys F instead of piloting a cessna.

  9. Fresh from his recent “humanitarian” trip to Puerto Rico, where HE stayed in luxury accommodations, perhaps Brian Kelly from The Points Guy can jet to the Maldives and fix this Maldives situation.

  10. omg, so much hoorah over nothing. youll be safe at the resorts, this political turmoil seems to be taking place only in the capital of Male.

    Regarding your idea of terrorists taking over an island and how easy that would be, whats the point? im sure they have bigger priorities. it could happen anywhere.

  11. I feel weary whenever I read “driving is so much more dangerous and we do it everyday” type analogies being utilised.

    It’s not a question of risk alone, it’s a question of the risk : benefit ratio. (Or risk versus necessity as is the case in many people’s lives.)

    You might NEED to drive to get to employment, to visit a family member in hospital, to collect essential supplies. In such cases the minor risk pales in significance. There is no NEED whatsoever to go to The Maldives for a holiday, however. Therefore any risk, even a small one, becomes a major factor for consideration.

  12. Was discussing with an Aussie mate earlier today; we visited and stayed on several islands in 2016. Unless you’ll be staying in the capital of Male (one of the most densely-populated cities in the world, where very few travelers stay) it’s unlikely you’d see anything political — especially on those ultra-exclusive resort isles where most tourists go.

    Also having spent some time over two days wandering around Male, one can only hope Mohamed Nasheed will get a fair deal.

  13. Just postpone your travels and read the travel advisories posted by the embassy, high commission or proxy consulates, of your country, in the Maldives for advice instead of bloggers. No point in placing the local govt and your govt and families in greater stress than necessary. Airlines and resorts will return the cost in such political situations. Lucky is not an expert on such things.

  14. @Andromeda The concepts of risk, benefit, or need are all subjective and vary widely from people to people. Your idea of risk is a factor of how risk averse you are. What you consider as a benefit depends on how you value things. And people have very different definitions of “need”. I personally don’t feel the need to watch TV and don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, while many others feel they NEED to watch 5 hours of tv a day. In other words, what I am trying to say is what you wrote was from your point of view, based on your perception, and what Lucky said was his, as he quite clearly pointed out.

  15. Why on Earth would terrorists want to take over a small island in the Maldives? I’m struggling to see the strategic value for them there!

  16. @Jake I think Sri Lanka is closer than India but can’t be bothered to see if that Country has issued a travel warning

  17. @Lucky

    “However, in the back of my mind I can’t help but think how easy it would be to take over one of these islands, and what a symbolic target this could be for terrorist groups, given how luxurious of a destination the Maldives is.”

    And why would they? Would it be like a little pirate island? Do you think they’ll commandeer some locals to build a landing strip, start an airline, ferry over more terrorists and maybe…just maybe at the end of it all…install a toilet? Lol

    You have your head up in the clouds, Ben, literally…but this is one of the most idiotic comments from you yet.

  18. Leaving for the Maldives tomorrow! I plan to have a well deserved and lovely holiday ..,FCO have not issued any travel advice to the contrary, as it won’t affect the resort islands. anyone else planning to go… relax and I may see you there.. and more importantly ENJOY x

  19. At the park Hyatt Haadaaha right now. Been here 6 days not a peep of this until I saw this yesterday on cnn. Leaving in 4 hours and have a flight @ 11:25 pm on SQ451 . Will report if I see anything unusual at Male airport.

  20. :..D Ohh the Americans. You should be afraid of your own government to begin with, rather than some dudes miles away from the States. By the way, all those groups are using US made guns all around the world, coincidence 😉 Keep supporting the cause haa..

  21. Having stayed in countries where even the McDonald’s had armed guards with rifles, I wouldn’t worry about it too much as long as you’re staying with a top-tier resort. They’ll make sure you’re safe. I’ve twice had our travel plans cut short when the security forces at the hotels we’re staying at decided it was best if we left the country ASAP.

    For those wondering, Brazil & Guatemala were the countries and it’s been well over 20 years.

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