Delivered on 10 March 2016
Delivered by Ms. Rishfa Rasheed, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva
Thank you Mr. President,
Mr. High Commissioner
The Maldives expresses its appreciation to High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein for his report and the interactive dialogue today. The Maldives wishes to reiterate, as stated last year, that it regrets not having the High Commissioner’s statement well in advance, in order to be make this dialogue more fruitful. Since the Council’s programme of work is heavily burdened, and as a small nation with a small mission, the Maldives counts on the cooperation of its partners in Geneva, including the OHCHR and HRC Secretariat to contribute to the maximum potential at this session.
As we mark the tenth anniversary of establishment of this Council, the Maldives is pleased to have been an active member of this Council. Of the 10 years since establishment, the Maldives has been a member for 6 years, elected with a large number of votes, for two terms. We have contributed to the work of this Council, as a Vice President of the Bureau, bringing the issue of climate change to this Council, as well as highlighting the vulnerabilities and resilience of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In this regard, the Maldives is pleased that we are one of only four Small Island Developing States that have been a member of this Council in ten years. However, we are deeply concerned by the lack of the voices of other SIDS, whom we believe will bring a unique perspective from our own efforts to promote and protect human rights, despite the vulnerabilities we face daily.
This year, this Council completes the second cycle under the Universal Periodic Review. The Maldives believes that the UPR process is one of the most important mechanisms at this Council. It is therefore time, before we begin the third cycle, to look back on the past two cycles and learn from them – share experiences, best practices and ways to improve our work in promoting and protecting human rights, before the third session commences next year.
Despite the achievements we have made, in many parts of the world, human rights are being violated in many parts of the world. The Maldives would like to draw attention to a few of those:
- The State of Palestine continues to be under occupation, and despite repeated calls by the international community, Israeli forces continue to violate all human rights and kill innocent Palestinians. The Maldives reiterates our strong and unequivocal support to the people and State of Palestine.
- The Maldives is shockingly alarmed by the human rights situation in Syria growing from worse to worse. We have said time and again that this Council has failed the people of Syrian Arab Republic and we maintain our stand on this. It is disheartening to know that despite all our efforts, the situation in the country shows no progression.
- The Maldives remains alarmed at the escalating refugee crises in Europe. People from across the globe, is travelling to Europe with a hope, and a dream, that their life will be better in Europe. However, some reactions by some States will remain an issue of concern to us.
- Violent extremism and terrorist activities related to it, is a plague that continues to haunt everyone across the globe. It needs concerted efforts at the global level to combat it, ensuring that the international human rights laws are adhered to.
The increasing challenges with respect to human rights, and the depleting budget of the OHCHR remains an issue of concern to the Maldives. To add to the already over-worked and under-paid staff, the Council passes resolution after resolution without looking into the impact on the ground on the protection of human rights.In this regard, we also highlight the constraints some States, especially Small Island Developing States and LDCs have especially, in building expertise and capacity to fully implement the mandates assigned by the Human Rights Council. The Maldives would also like to note the heavy burden, especially on small states, placed due to treaty reporting.
DOMESTIC– depends on high commissioner’s statement, if its not mentioned, do we need to say anything about the political developments?
- OHCHR visit to Maldives – in 2015 as well as open invitation to a follow-up visit in the coming few months
In conclusion, the Maldives reiterates its position on the importance of education, and awareness raising to promote and protect the human rights of all. The Maldives believes that in order to fully respect human rights, it is important that we cultivate a culture of respect, where we are tolerant towards the faith, opinion, and political affiliation of those people around us. The Maldives will continue to work with our partners, including the OHCHR, in building this trust, and creating a sustainable and progressive society that is embedded on human rights values.
Thank you Mr. President.