Delivered on 23 March 2017

Delivered by Dr Marium Jabyn, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Delegate to HRC 34th Session

Thank you Mr Vice President,

The Republic of Maldives thanks the European Union, United Kingdom, and the United States of America for their interest in the domestic politics of the Maldives, and we acknowledge the concerns expressed under this agenda item.

The Maldives is transitioning into a fully-fledged democracy. In less than a decade it has created a system comparable to any liberal democracy in the world. Today we have a constitution that separates the branches of Government, creates institutions of horizontal accountability, and ensures both transparency and space for both a vibrant civil society and a vibrant media.

The accusation that freedom of expression is being limited represents the mischaracterizations that results from a lack of international presence in the Maldives. Neither the international media who reports on events in the country nor the diplomats who visit have a permanent presence. New laws on defamation and slander, with civil penalties, are consistent with those found in any Western democracy, and commiserate with our efforts to engender democratic responsibilities in line with democratic freedoms and rights.

My Government reiterates our willingness to engage with all stakeholders and reaffirm our commitment to the consolidation and strengthening of democracy.

Thank you.