Delivered on 22 September 2017

Delivered by Mr Jeffrey Salim Waheed, Minister and Deputy Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations in Geneva

Thank you Mr. Vice President,

With the passing of the Global Goals and the 2030 Agenda in 2015, we formalized the importance of the promotion and protection of Human Rights as a key aspect of development. The obligation and mandate that the Human Rights Council of the United Nations is global. Established in 2006, and currently in its 11th year, we now acknowledge the value of universal representation and equal participation of all nations at this Council. As many other delegations have expressed, it is also the hope of my delegation, that in time, the 16 delegations who do not have permanent representation in Geneva, all of whom are SIDS, will establish a permanent presence in Geneva as well and join deliberations in this august body.

Mr Vice President,

Though this Council has made significant strides over the years, the efficacy of this Council should not be used to justify working methods that are at times not transparent or to excuse efforts at consultation which are at times less than sincere. We advocate universality at this Council, yet many SIDS delegates are unable to effectively contribute due to practices evolved from the founding of this Council, practices that favor the active, persistent, and ever-present few. SIDS Delegates generally attend the Council for only a single session. However, Delegates who attend only a single session find themselves at a severe disadvantage.

Other factors exacerbate this disadvantage, such as the inadequate time is given for informal consultations on most resolutions, often with our inputs being simply ignored, in part due to a disproportionate weight given to State Members over State Observers at the Council. While Members of the Human Rights Council are supposed to represent the international community as a whole, that does not mean that the voices of State Observers should be lost when discussing issues of global significance, especially when determining resolutions that define our normative understandings of these issues.

Mr Vice President,

It is the view of my delegation, that this Council is continually evolving to meet its place in the world and to meet the expectations the world has of its growing mandate. It is also the view of my delegation that its current working methods could be made more transparent and more accountable to all Member States of the United Nations. This includes but is not limited to: encouraging all resolution drafts to be circulated before sessions begin, ensuring compilations of all comments made in an informal negotiation are circulated along with the texts of what Core Groups proposes to accept, and by ensuring that every state has the opportunity to comment on the perceived effects of such a resolution before its adoption.

Universal representation at the Human Rights Council must go hand in hand with universal and equal participation. Thank you Mr President.