Maldives State of Emergency Extended by 30 Days

“The United States is disappointed by reports that Maldivian President Yameen has extended the state of emergency in that country for an additional 30 days. The United States continues to call on President Yameen to end the state of emergency, uphold the rule of law, permit the full and proper functioning of the Parliament and the judiciary, restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people of Maldives, and respect Maldives’ international human rights obligations and commitments.”

Maldives State of Emergency Extended by 30 Days

What you just read was an official statement from the Department of State of the United States in response to a state of emergency being extended by Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who is the current president of the island country and has been since 2013.

The official statement is in addition to a number of travel alerts which have been issued by the Bureau of Consulate Affairs for Maldives, citing terrorism and unrest as two of the reasons to avoid travel to that country:

Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities.      

A country-wide state of emergency is in effect. Security forces have been deployed in Malé to prevent public gatherings and anti-government demonstrations. Protests have also been reported in Maafushi where political prisoners are being held.

Maldives is a destination known for offering an experience of being in paradise for many visitors, with a number of lodging companies offering luxurious bungalows situated over the pristine aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean, isolated from the rest of the country — let alone the rest of the world — but tourism has reportedly been impacted this month.

“The state of emergency imposed by the authorities on February 5 — as part of an escalating political chasm between the president and key opposition figures — is now bearing bruised fruit in the form of cancelled bookings, travel warnings from foreign governments, and tourists deciding it might be better to stay away”, according to this article written by  of The Telegraph, which claims that the country has already been “hit by hundreds of holiday cancellations.” The original declaration of the state of emergency was due to run for 15 days “in response to a ruling by judges that leading members of the opposition, including the former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, should be freed. Gayoom, the president’s half-brother, who was the Maldivian head of state between 1978 and 2008, was arrested on February 6.”

According to this official travel advice issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, “There are no reports that outlying islands, resorts or Malé International Airport are affected.”


Many people vacation in the Maldives archipelago to escape from everyday life and enjoy a respite free of negative distractions. That is still technically possible to do despite the currently state of emergency in that country, as visitors must take seaplanes from Malé — which is the capital city of Maldives and whose airport is where most international flights occur — to their tropical island paradises amongst the chain of 26 atolls.

Although travel is generally discouraged to the Maldives at this time, if you decide to travel there, you may want to follow the advice offered by the Bureau of Consulate Affairs:

  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Maldives.
  • Citizens of the United States who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Photograph ©2010 by Brian Cohen.

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