Delivered on 22 March 2017

Delivered by Dr Marium Jabyn, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Delegate to the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council

Thank you Mr President,

Engagement at the Human Rights Council and with its mechanisms is the obligation of every UN Member State. Though the Council is composed of 47 States, its mandate to create, maintain and evolve global norms and standards with regards to the promotion and protection of human rights means that every nation should be involved in the conduct of its work. It is unfortunate that the smallest and most vulnerable amongst us are also the least able contribute. Those who are most in need of protections, are often those without a seat at the table.

In the case of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), financial and capacity constraints remain an ever-present challenge. This challenge is exacerbated by ever increasing workload of the Human Rights Council. In the interests of more robust engagement by SIDS, the Maldives supports efforts at the Council to manage the workload and reduce burdens of engagement. Transparency, predictability and even innovations like intersessional work-plans should be explored and implemented to improve upon the way in which delegates engage at the Council.

Mr President,

SIDS have valuable contributions to make at the Council. Token engagement is not enough to overcome the overwhelming silence of our voice on certain issues, especially when it comes to the promotion and protection of human rights. The creation and operationalization of a Voluntary Trust Fund based in OHCHR is meant to address this problem over the long term for both Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and SIDS. However, it is reliant upon the continued importance placed upon engagement of LDC and SIDS in the Council by members of the larger community of nations. The notion that no one should be left behind has pervaded all three pillars of the United Nations; international peace and security, development and human rights. The interlinked nature of a globalized world requires an acceptance of this reality, and the utilization of the Trust Fund is a small step towards ensuring the world progresses together, addressing common challenges and sharing in common successes.

Mr President,

In commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the Trust Fund, the Maldives, together with a cross-regional core group consisting of Barbados, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Switzerland, and Turkey, was pleased to present a resolution promoting the fund. I encourage all those who haven’t already, to co-sponsor this resolution, in support of a Council that is representative and balanced.

Thank you.