Delivered on 20 June 2018

Delivered by Ms. Aishath Shahula, First Secretary| Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Thank you, Mr. President,

At the outset my delegation expresses its sincere appreciation for the comprehensive reports presented under this agenda item by the Working Group and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro. We also commend them for the excellent work carried under their respective mandates.

Mr. President,

As the Working Group has rightfully highlighted in its report, advocacy on women’s rights requires high visibility and top political priority. In the Maldives, non-discrimination based on gender is a constitutional right; the Gender Equality Act provides for equal opportunities through ensuring equal outcomes; and zero tolerance on violence against women is a priority. Women have equal rights to compete for public office, and the right to vote. There is no gender wage gap; and the percentage of young girls becoming academic high achievers is constantly increasing with equal opportunities for primary and secondary education.

Mr. President,

We have made it our priority to invest in girls and women and to introduce structural and normative changes to enable women to fight for their constitutionally guaranteed rights before the law. We are further committed to eliminate the existing cultural and structural barriers to women’s empowerment through complementing the legal framework with normative change and building a culture of respect for human rights.

Mr. President,

As pointed out in the Special Rapporteur’s report, it is important to ensure the effective protection of victims and, for the potential victims of trafficking.The ratification of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act has been hailed as a milestone achievement in the fight against human trafficking in the Maldives. As required by the Act, a National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons for 2015-2019 is currently being implemented and a multi-stakeholder National Steering Committee is in place to oversee and monitor the situation and ensure a coordinated response to combat trafficking through effective prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership. The Government of Maldives is committed to ensure the rights of victims are protected and to prosecute perpetrators committing such heinous crimes.

Human rights protection initiatives become more effective when the wider public remains informed. To that end, the Maldives has undertaken media awareness campaigns on human trafficking such as the “Blue Ribbon Campaign.”

Mr. President,

In closing, the Maldives would like to reiterate its support for the international initiatives aimed at protecting the rights of the most marginalizedindividuals and groups of our global community.

Thank you, Mr. President.