Delivered on 25 September 2015

Delivered by Ms. Rishfa Rasheed

Thank you Mr. President,

 

The Maldives welcomes the unique mechanism of the Universal Periodic Review that enables interstate dialogue and constructive feedback for enhancement of human rights. We believe in the equality of all states under the Universal Periodic Review.

 

For the Maldives, the Universal Periodic Review has proven to be an efficient mechanism to promote and protect human rights. We invite and encourage all states to embrace this mechanism, which is designed to preserve the sovereignty of states and advocate the legitimacy of this process, and work to implement the recommendations,.

 

The Maldives acknowledges that the UPR is not a standalone mechanism and thus welcomes further measures to increase participation of non-state actors in the UPR process to make it more transparent and objective. Although the process already does accommodate civil society, these actors often lack the resources and necessary guidance to contribute to the process effectively. We recognise the work that is being done by the OHCHR to create awareness about the role that civil society can play in the UPR process, as well the strategies implemented to enhance wider participation.

 

Mr. President

As a small and newly democratic country, the Maldives recognises the challenges that similar countries face in integrating human rights nationally. We wish to emphasise not only the importance of international engagement, but also the benefits of utilizing a multiple stakeholder approach. The sincere support of the International community and the respect for our international commitments have helped the Maldives, make positive changes which have brought our national human rights mechanism more in line with the international standards.

 

Mr. President,

As we have just completed the second cycle of the UPR mechanism in May this year and adopted the report just days ago, there are important lessons learnt that must be understood and incorporated into future reviews. While we do understand that the UPR mechanism has evolved and continue to evolve, the Human Rights Council has a responsibility to ensure that the progress achieved so far is to the benefit of the states and its people.

 

The recommendations for developing countries with limited resources are often more challenging. It would be a futile process to impose demands on a state that they cannot fulfil to begin with, and then hold them accountable for not complying with those demands, or shame them for not accepting enough recommendations.  In this regard, we recognise and commend the voluntary trust fund set up by the council for technical assistance and participation in the UPR process. More outreach needs to be conducted, in order to ensure that delegations interested in participating but might not have the means to do so, are able to engage actively. It has provided valuable opportunities for small island developing states such as the Maldives that are working to improve their human rights situation, to learn and benefit.

 

To conclude, the Government of Maldives reiterates its strong commitment to the UPR process and will continue to work on the process, and also work together to maintain the universality of it.

 

Thank you Mr. President.