Delivered on 2 March 2017

Delivered by Mr Jeffrey Salim Waheed, Deputy Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Thank you Mr President,

The Maldives offers its appreciation to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and to the Special Rapporteur on torture for their respective reports submitted to the Human Rights Council.

Human Rights Defenders working to protect and promote fundamental human rights need to be protected and provided with an enabling environment; one that provides visibility for their work and a social context that is accepting of their role as drivers and contributors for a more just society.

Mr President.

The Maldives believes in the positive implications of disseminating knowledge its powers to move the public towards a better future. With the upcoming 20th anniversary of the declaration on Human Rights defenders in 2018, we stand with the Special Rapporteur in urging governments and civil society to use this as an opportunity to increase public knowledge on the important work of human rights defenders.

The Maldives believes that suppression of human rights defenders pose a risk to the promotion of national and international human rights. Problems of reprisal and impunity continue to endanger human rights defenders worldwide. In this regard, we remain committed to increase efforts to ensure the safety and protection of human rights defenders in our country and stand by our belief that impunity for attacks on human rights defenders cannot be tolerated.

Further, as agreed by the international community, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, is reprehensible and a violation of the very core principles of this Council. The rise of violent narratives in political discourse, whether in the context of terrorism or the threats posed by other non-state actors, raises grave concerns in face of past historical lessons. Lest we, as an international community, repeat the mistakes of our past, let us turn away from hatred and violence; and pave the way towards a future that is safe and secure for all our peoples.

Thank you.