The Maldives would like to thank the working group on discrimination against women for their report acknowledging the significant efforts that have been made by Human Rights mechanisms and United Nations agencies to garner good practices.
Protection and promotion of rights of both women and men, including children and all vulnerable groups in the society are a key policy and political priorities of the Maldives. The Maldives has a population representing an equal ratio of women to men. The Government of Maldives gives high importance to promote and uphold gender equality in the Maldives. The Maldives is encouraged by the significant progress made, since the adoption of Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and the Beijing Declaration, to annul discriminatory laws that persist in many parts of the world. However, we do note that inclusion of an intersectoral approach to women’s full equality continue to be challenged in the plight to achieve a 50:50 world free of discrimination against one gender.
Gender-based violence and instrumentalization of women’s bodies through the normalization of gender-based violence are factors that affect the fulfilment of women’s rights throughout the world. In the recent years, the Maldives has enacted and begun the implementation of several legal instruments for the protection of women from all forms of discrimination: those include the Sexual Harassment and Prevention Act (2014), Domestic Violence act (in 2012), Sexual Offenses Act (2014) and the very recently enacted Gender Equality Act which came in to force early this year. As a landmark piece of legislation in the Maldives, the Gender Equality Act (2016) ensures rights of women by equal opportunities for both women and men. It prohibits all forms of gender discrimination and enshrines in law, the principle of equal pay for equal work, and ensures equal access and opportunities to participate in public spheres. It emphasises equal outcomes and recognises that the State has the obligation to combat the deeply entrenched patriarchal culture based on gender stereotypes for the empowerment of women socially, economically and politically.
We echo with the report that cultural rights are central to the realization of human rights of women, and misrepresentation of culture is not a valid base for discriminatory practices and barriers against women.
The Maldives believes that improving access to education through the communities to equip women and girl child with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves as well as to educate the men on the positives of gender equality are essential for ensuring non-discrimination and human rights for all. The Government of Maldives has initiatives in place aimed at empowering women and promoting their participation in the economy
The inclusive education policy of Maldives guarantees that all girls have equal access to education. Achieving gender parity in enrolment in secondary education is an accomplishment that we are proud of, as we believe that public education is a crucial entry point for addressing systemic discrimination and promoting a culture of human rights.
My delegation fully agrees that to ensure that laws expedite good practices in elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the State and non-state actors must work together. My delegation would like to ask the Working Group what are elements that comprise the good practices for a such a combined effort.
Thank you Mr. President.