Delivered on 14 September 2015

Delivered on by Ms. Geela Ali, Minister / Chargé d’affaires, a,i., Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Offices at Geneva.

Thank you, Mr. President.

The Maldives welcomes this opportunity to interact with the High Commissioner and the update provided to this Council today. The Maldives has always maintained its engagement with the OHCHR and had an open door policy to inform the Office and the High Commissioner directly on issues relating to human rights in the Maldives.

However, as we have noted in our Statement at the 29thSession in June this year, in order to ensure that this dialogue is fruitful and provide an adequate response, the Maldives would appreciate receiving the update of High Commissioner ahead of the Session. For small delegations such as ours, the late circulation of the update is an indication that the OHCHR lacks the understanding of the challenges faced by delegations.

Mr. President, Mr. High Commissioner,

The one most important global issue that the world today is facing is the refugee crisis in Europe. The Government of Maldives is deeply concerned by the lack of action by recipient states, while thousands of people are dying at sea. While some of these States continue to play leading roles on a myriad of issues across the world, it is very disappointing that these States have not been able to provide a solution for a global crisis. It is important to address the root causes, and find a solution that protects the rights of these people.

 

Mr. High Commissioner,

In response to your remarks on the situation of Maldives, the Government is disappointed to learn that despite the open channel of communication the Government has had with the OHCHR, and all the visits facilitated at the request of the OHCHR on short notice, the OHCHR is not painting a clear picture of the situation. The political and human rights situation of Maldives should not be determined based on one individual, rather a holistic approach needs to be taken. The former President was sentenced for ordering the illegal abduction of a judge, on which the former President has publicly admitted. This constitutes a crime anywhere in the world, and one the OHCHR had condemned. Former President was recently transferred back to prison after the circumstances that pre-empted the move to house arrest changed after a full medical examination.

To seek the release of an individual purely on the basis of his political standing and is inappropriate, and clearly seeks to circumvent the rule of law. I also wish to highlight that that the complaint filed by the former President with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has not yet published its opinion on the matter and is still subject to review and thus the demands made in this recent statement prior to the conclusion of that review are again, wholly inappropriate. When the High Commissioner urges to release a prisoner, the Government of Maldives is deeply concerned that the High Commissioner has not taken the seriousness of the situation. Nonetheless, the Government remains committed to strengthening our efforts to promote and protect the human rights of our people – the most important resource of the country.

 

Mr. President,

The Maldives is pleased by the recent adoption by the United Nations General Assembly where non-member Observer States can raise their flags at the UN. We are pleased that the State of Palestine has been able to take one more step in their efforts for the full realisation of the self-determination of the Palestinian people, despite the continued struggles they face due to the occupying power. The Maldives remains steadfast with the Palestinian people and the efforts to obtain full membership at the UN. Furthermore, the Maldives reiterates its call to Israel to cease their attacks, and other violations of human rights.

The Maldives remains gravely concerned by the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. The death toll, displacement, as well as humanitarian situation in the country is profoundly disturbing. On top of this, the ISIS continues to destroy the country, and many of its cultural and historical places. The Maldives has previously stated that the international community is failing the Syrian people. The management of the European Migration / Refugee Crisis is a further indication of this wretched situation.

 

Mr. President,

As the United Nations celebrates its 70thanniversary and the Council its 10thanniversary, the UN and OHCHR has come a long way in understanding the workload governed by the different situations across the world. In this regard, it is important to highlight once again, transparency, coordination, impartiality and non-selectivity. It is further important to ensure that the facts are not distorted and unbalanced, as the world relies on this Office to provide an unbiased opinion on human rights issues across the world. The Maldives remains concerned by the funding limitations of the Office and urge States to address this isse.

To conclude, the Maldives remains committed to its engagement first policy and will maintain its dialogue with the OHCHR.

I thank you, Mr. President.