The Mohamed Muizzu administration has abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution commemorating the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, a move that has sparked widespread criticism. The resolution, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 23 May, designates 11 July as the “International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica.”

The Srebrenica massacre, one of the darkest chapters in recent history, saw over 7,000 Bosniak Muslims, primarily boys and men, slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces, and more than 20,000 civilians expelled from the area in a horrific instance of ethnic cleansing.

The resolution, which was adopted with 84 votes in favour, 19 against, and 68 abstentions, condemns any denial of the Srebrenica genocide as a historical event and actions that glorify those convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide by international courts.

The Muizzu administration’s decision to abstain from the vote has drawn sharp criticism, with many demanding an official explanation. Unnamed government officials have defended the decision, stating that the Maldives followed the decision by most of the Islamic states.

However, this narrative has been challenged. While the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has 57 member states, 48 members participated in the vote, and 26 member states voted in favour of adopting the resolution. This accounts for approximately 54 percent of the OIC member states that participated in the vote.

Major Muslim-population countries, including Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Türkiye, Malaysia, Qatar, and Egypt, voted to adopt the resolution. Saudi Arabia, the custodian of the two holy mosques, also voted in favour. The United States and the United Kingdom also voted to adopt the resolution.

However, China, a major ally of the Muizzu administration, voted against the resolution. India, the world’s largest democracy, abstained from the vote. The fact that China voted against the resolution raises questions about the influence of such alliances on the Maldives’ foreign policy decisions, according to foreign policy analysts.

Analysts believe that unnamed government officials’ claim that the Maldives followed the decisions of most Islamic states is misleading. A significant percentage of the OIC member states that participated in the vote voted to adopt the resolution.

The International Court of Justice had earlier declared the Srebrenica massacre a “genocide.” At the time, despite the small size of the Maldives, it had condemned the massacre and advocated for the rights of the Bosnian Muslims. The current administration’s decision to abstain from the vote is a departure from this historical position.

As the backlash against the Muizzu administration’s decision grows, political figures are calling on Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer for an explanation. One such high-profile figure is former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who called on Minister Zameer for an explanation on why the Maldives abstained from the vote on adopting the resolution on the Srebrenica Genocide.