The Maldives has remained an independent nation throughout its recorded history, save for a brief spell of Portuguese occupation in the mid 16th century. From 1887 to 1965, the country was a British Protectorate which retained full internal sovereignty. At independence in 1965, the Maldives joined the UN.
Since 1978, the Maldives has followed a policy of international engagement, intensifying links with donor institutions and countries, and joined the Commonwealth in 1982.
A founder member of SAARC, the Maldives is also a member of WTO and MIGA. It is also party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as numerous conventions on the protection of environment, the suppression of terrorism and on the promotion of human rights.
Under the Agenda for Reform, Democracy and Human Rights, initiated by the government in 2003 to usher in a liberal democracy, the Maldives has developed dialogue and collaboration with the international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and ICRCO, and acceded to numerous human rights instruments such as ICCPR and ICESCR.
During the same period, the country has also intensified links with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and joined the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The main objectives of the foreign policy of the Maldives is to foster warm and close relations with the international community and, in pursuit of friendship, understanding and co-operation, communicate the interests and aspirations of the people of the Maldives. The issues of interest include advancing national development and mobilizing development assistance, promotion of economic investments, environment, democracy, human rights and peace building. For news and information on Maldives foreign policy and diplomatic missions abroad, visit the Maldives Foreign Ministry website.