Ah the Maldives, sand, sea and the screams of tortured victims, a great place to go on holiday.
Just atake a quick look at the place where according to the FO there
were more than 500,000 tourists in 2003, and the annual growth rate averages 8%. One quarter of the tourists come from Italy, over 16% from the UK, 14% from Germany and 9% from Japan. The number of UK tourists has risen substantially in recent years (approx. 94,000 in 2003).
Other figures tell us that the average spend per day is about £200 on a twelve day holiday. So big money.
Now look at the latest report from Amnesty international where this is happening
"Dr Mohamed Monawar, the former Attorney General of the Maldives and an opposition party leader, and Muad Mohamed Zaki, the son of the political prisoner Mohamed Zaki, have both been beaten while in custody today".
Now look at the travel advice from our Oh so bloody ethical Foriegn Office.
HUMAN RIGHTS Maldives has ratified three of the six UN Human Rights Conventions; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. A Human Rights Commission was established in December 2003, but as yet the bill which would give the Commission legal power has not been passed.
Following demonstrations in the capital Malé on 12 and 13 August, the government declared a state of emergency in Malé and nearby islands, including a curfew from 23:00 to 04:30. The airport, located on a separate island, continues to function as normal. The majority of visitors do not go to Malé. Should you choose to do so, you should seek local advice before travelling, observe any curfew instructions and avoid crowds.
But take a look at local customs and tell me, could you or anybody you know happily spend vast sums of cash supporting this regieme. This ain't no Paradise.
It is an offence to import into the Maldives pornographic material, materials contrary to Islam, idols for worship (including bibles), pork and pork products, alcohol, dogs, dangerous animals, explosives, weapons, firearms and ammunition. The export of tortoise shell and coral is forbidden.
Public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. Alcoholic beverages are confined to the island resorts and must not be taken off the resort. Same sex relations are illegal and convicted offenders could face lengthy jail sentences and fines.
Now what do you think might be "materials contrary to Islam"? Encyclopedias? And interesting that the FO accepts the thought that the Bible is an idol!, and one final thought, I wonder if Peter Tatchell knows aboput this?