Delivered on 8 March 2018

Delivered by H.E. Dr Hala Hameed, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Thank you, Mr President,

The Maldives wishes to exercise its right of reply in response to the Joint Statement on the developments in the Maldives delivered by the United Kingdom, and supported primarily by members of the WEOG and the European Union.

It is our belief, that the joint statement is unwarranted and unconstructive. It seeks to encroach on what is effectively a domestic political dispute and misrepresents the reality on the ground. As we have consistently reiterated in this Council and elsewhere, the State of Emergency was declared constitutionally on the advice of the National Security Council to address an imminent threat to the sovereignty and the unity of the Maldivian State.

The crucial matter at the heart of the on-going situation is the issue of corruption at the highest levels of the Supreme Court, and its declaration on 1st February 2018, that the Bench of the Supreme Court is beyond any measure of Constitutional accountability. The underlying concerns regarding the Supreme Court and its susceptibility to undue influence were first raised in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers 23/42, who conducted a visit to the Maldives in 2013. Let me also note that the United Kingdom and the European Union, at that time, supported the conclusions of that report.

I also refer to the OHCHR’s own statement of May 2015, in which it referred to the judiciary to be, and I quote “politicized, inadequate and subject to external influence” End of quote.

We would also like to point out factual inaccuracies in the joint statement regarding the assertion that the Maldives has not engaged with the High Commissioner’s Office or the Council’s mechanisms. To date, the Maldives has hosted six visits by the High Commissioner’s Office in the past four years alone. The most recent visit, by senior officials of the High Commissioner’s Office, was conducted less than three weeks ago – in fact, during the State of Emergency. The Maldives has also submitted no fewer than nine communications to the various mechanisms of this Council in the past three years alone and hosted a total of seven special procedures mandate holders, with discussions on-going for future visits of two Special Rapporteurs in 2018.

Mr. President

The Maldives acknowledges that much work is required to strengthen its democratic institutions, to enhance capacity and to foster a culture of respect for human dignity and liberty. It would be impossible for this to happen overnight. It would also be completely unfair to judge the Maldives against the standards as envisaged by the United Kingdom and the European Union, and as practiced in those countries.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I once again emphasize the readiness of the Maldives to engage in constructive dialogue with OHCHR and the various mechanisms of this Council. We find public statements and the misrepresentation of the truth, extremely unhelpful and it undermines the Government’s willingness to engage readily and positively.

I thank you Mr. President.