The Maldives abstained from voting on a motion to deliberate initiative against the genocides, killings and persecution in various countries at the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, following which the government has come under fire from both the opposition and public.
The motion â€œResponsibility to Protect and the Prevention of Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing, and Crimes Against Humanityâ€ â€“ shortened to R2P â€“ was proposed by Australia and Ghana. It was successfully placed on the UN agenda for deliberation with the votes of 117 member countries voting in favour, which include Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United States, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Denmark, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Yemen, Tunisia and Ukraine.
The total number of nations that voted against deliberating the motion was 21, including China, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria.
Meanwhile, 17 countries including Zambia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Seychelles, Mauritius, Greece, Lebanon and Libya stayed neutral on the vote. Notably, the Maldives is the only member country of SAARC that abstained from the vote.
The government immediately came under fire, with people claiming that the governmentâ€™s decision to abstain from the critical vote indicates failure to follow through with its verbal stance against the plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority that is under bloody persecution from the government of Myanmar.