Maldives Declares State Of Emergency [2015]

Filed Under: Travel

In early October I wrote about the assassination attempt against the president of the Maldives. It happened on his boat, whereby the president’s wife was injured, and he narrowly escaped the bomb blast. The government is tracking an increasing number of citizens traveling to Iraq and Syria to fight there, which of course is a concern for any country, let alone a country which almost entirely relies on tourism to make a living.


The Maldives declares a state of emergency

It seems that concern in the island nation is growing, as the Maldives has declared a state of emergency for the next 30 days. As of now the state of emergency seems to be politically motivated, as it comes a couple of days before a demonstration by the opposition party is scheduled. Via Reuters:

The Maldives declared a state of emergency for 30 days on Wednesday citing a threat to national security, as President Abdulla Yameen sought to shore up his power over the Indian Ocean island nation following a suspected assassination attempt.

The imposition of emergency rule, for the first time under a constitution passed in 2008, came two days before a demonstration planned by the main opposition party.

Senior ministers told Reuters the government would only make use of limited powers to restrict the right of assembly. There would no curfew or arbitrary detention.

It’s not surprising that the Maldives are urging people to still take their vacations, while some foreign countries are advising their citizens to “take extra care:”

“Please go ahead with your holidays — the Maldives are a peaceful country,” Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon told Reuters. “There has never been a major incident targeting tourists.”

A Western diplomat in Colombo said European Union members may consider a travel advisory after the order, which comes just before the peak tourism season.

Britain advised its citizens after the order to “take extra care”, when traveling to the Maldives. A record 1.2 million tourists visited in 2014, accounting for 29 percent of the economy.

Check out the full Reuters article for more backstory on the causes of the turmoil in the Maldives.


Is it still safe to travel to the Maldives?

While a “state of emergency” might sound alarming, in practice the current situation seems to be mostly political.

The conflict seems to be between the current president and the opposition party, as opposed to attempts of larger scale terrorism for the sake of sending a message. If anything I actually feel a bit more at ease knowing more of the backstory.

None of this is to say that the Maldives is 100% safe. Nowhere is — Bali and New York City have both had terrible attacks. And when you think about the harsh reality, the Maldives is extremely vulnerable to terrorism, given that you have a bunch of islands with virtually no security and easy access by water from all sides.

But at the same time you’ve gotta live your life, and I don’t think this “state of emergency” is any reason to avoid the Maldives.

What do you make of this “state of emergency,” and does it impact your willingness to travel to the Maldives?

  1. Lucky,

    Whether or not it is safe, what is your political view on traveling to countries during this type of turmoil? The “everything is normal” route can be seen as support for the incumbent government. I have no idea about the politics of the Maldives, but traveling to countries during civil unrest has to be seen as an endorsement of government in power (as they benefit from normalcy and continued travel). I tend to avoid traveling to countries with this type of unrest (Thailand during the coup, for example) for this reason. I would rather let the citizens work it out before resuming travel.

  2. “State of Emergency” means different things in different places. Thailand can be instructive while considering this. Thailand is often under such a declaration, run by the military, with events of violence between fighting factions. Sounds horrendous when I write it down like that and indeed I have had people express astonishment that I would even consider travelling to such a place.

    The only place I have ever had a gun pointed at me was in a terribly dangerous place with lots of murders and violence, some areas seeming lawless, obviously a country no sane person would ever visit… I kinda think you know where I’m going with this.

    I’m interested in the advice of an experienced, enthusiastic Maldives visitor, about whether recent developments have changed her/his plans to visit. News stories rarely provide the right kind of information. Some believe Mexico is dangerous. I’m not planning a trip to Monterrey soon but I wouldn’t hesitate to spend a week in Playa del Carmen or DF.

  3. Islam, SMH. I’m not politically correct so f*ck it: I respect people’s religion, (i’m christian btw), i truly do, i know there are a lot of stupid christians all over the place, but you don’t see catholics, protestants etc doing what islamic terrorists do. Russia is all right! You wether adapt to Russia or you do’nt go to russia. The US need to learn a bit from Russia. being politically correct won’t take you anywhere. Its ok to be muslim but it’s not ok to be a terrorist and only in islam you get incentives to be terrorist, many of them are nice people but a lot (A LOT) of muslim leaders tell their followers to do this kinda shit.

    *i’m not american, don’t talk shit about my writing skills

  4. The president that was almost killed was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives. He is sadly also in prison now.
    It’s not a good commentary. IMO the Maldives should be boycotted at all costs. Supporting a coup government is not recommended.
    What security measures are the resort islands taking for the safety of foreign tourists?
    Be and travel smart and safe.

  5. Heading to the Maldives in a couple of weeks. Visited last year. Resort islands have had no violence. True, they are vulnerable, but so are shopping malls and schools.

    I always look at data points. Yes, there’s a chance some sort of an attack will happen, but that’s true of a lot of places out there.

    There are two basic risks:

    1. Political unrest in Male: That doesn’t affect most tourists because the vast majority never set foot on Male, they go from the airport to their resort island. Plus so far no unrest affecting tourists has happened.

    2. Targeted attack on a resort island: Yes, this could happen, but it could happen in so many other places as well. So far we haven’t seen any terrorism in the Maldives and hopefully it stays that way.

    If I were a foreigner I could easily decide not to visit American schools and colleges because of the frequent violence there. But we dot even think twice about it.

  6. This definitely has 0 affect on tourism. Nobody’s going to get hurt in their $1,000 overwater bungalows. #nocareever #yourefine

  7. 30 years of emergency law in Egypt didn’t stop me from visiting. 30 days of it in the Maldives won’t either.

  8. If you want to see real political unrest, start targeting tourists in tourist-heavy economies. By that, I mean these guys have an incentive to leave tourists alone — screw up at economic base, and you’re going to have a whole population pissed off at you.

  9. @yyzgayguy
    I’m guessing Venezuela, or Colombia.
    Sad to see Venezuela going down like Colombia did years ago, with the FARC and stuff.
    Venezuela is in a bad state.

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