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Maldives to rejoin Commonwealth after former leader quit over human rights criticism

The new government of the Maldives will rejoin the Commonwealth, two years after the country’s former president pulled out in protest of the group raising concerns over the country’s democracy and human rights.

In a statement on Monday, President Ibramih Mohamed Solih’s office said the decision to participate in the Commonwealth of Nations again had been taking into account the education and cultural advantages.

The Maldivian cabinet also noted the importance of Commonwealth membership “in keeping in line with other members of the international community with regard to upholding and promoting human rights, freedom of expression and democracy.”

The Maldives had quit the Commonwealth in 2016, getting ahead of a possible suspension over abuses of human rights and democracy.

The Commonwealth as an institution however has been accused of protecting Sri Lanka from criticism about human rights abuses, rewarding Sri Lanka with the status of chair and host of its flagship summit at the height of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brutal post-war regime.