Smart Sanctions- would it work?

Lonely Planet, one of the leading international travel guidebook companies has advised its readers to support a Friends of Maldives (FOM) campaign for a selective boycott some of the most popular resorts in the country. The following are excerpts form the guide as stated on FOM website- I couldn’t find it on the Lonely Planet website. I’m not convinced that this kind of selective boycott is the right approach.

“In 2005 British based campaign group Friends of Maldives unveiled a carefully targeted boycott of some of the Maldives most popular resorts. Outraged at the torture in Maldivian prisons, the police brutality on the streets and the human rights abuses, the group unveiled its selective boycott to pressure the regime from within. The boycott targets any resort owned wholly or in part by a member of the government, the hope being that the loss of revenue will in turn cause associates of President Gayoom to put pressure on him to an end human rights abuses, hold free and far elections and rein in the police and National Security Services…

We support this cleverly targeted campaign and suggest you do too; it fully supports tourism in the Maldives conscious that it’s the country's only major industry, but it tells adherents to avoid about one fifth of the resorts which bring ministers and other senior government figures significant revenue each year….

Friends of Maldives has been roundly discredited in the Maldives by a smear campaign calling them both Islamic terrorists and Christian missionaries. We can confirm that this is not the case, and that the Anglo-Maldivian staff who run the organisation have only the human rights and general welfare of the Maldivian people at heart. They have set up a separate charity, Maldives Aid (reachable through the Friends of Maldives website) that sends aid to the poorest regions of the country. Donations can be made here to projects that will help rural residents rebuild their lives and their future.”

It also includes in its history section a description of events such as the Evan Naseem Killing in 2003 and Black Friday 2004, major human rights events in the Maldives. Also mentioning the role of Maldives PR firm:

"Gayoom's other measure was to hire the London office of PR giant Hill & Knowlton to whitewash his dictatorship, a job they continue to do today with sickening success."

For Discussion; Do you think this kind of approach has merit in it? Has economic sanctions brought down any authoritarian regimes?


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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on November 17, 2006 2:43 PM.

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