Delivered on 10 March 2016
Statement 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 for the past 6 years. 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). Though it has been a pride to be one of only four Small Island Developing States that have been a member of this Council in ten years, we are deeply concerned by the lack of the voices of other SIDS who are not represented at the Council.
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, human rights violations in many parts of the world remain a constant concern.. 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 alarmed by the human rights situation in Syria growing from worse to worse. As we have voiced before, this Council has failed the people of Syrian Arab Republic and we maintain our stand on this..
- The Maldives remains alarmed at the escalating refugee crises in Europe. People fleeing from war zones, in search of a better life in Europe have faced unpleasant reactions from some States
- Violent extremism and related terrorist activities, 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. The many resolutions passed at every Session adds to the burden of work with little effect on the ground. 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.