The 40th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded today in Geneva.

The Maldives delegation actively contributed to the 4 week session that started on 25 February 2019 with the High Level Segment. The Delegation of Maldives delivered 21 formal statements and actively participated in the negotiation of the 29 resolutions adopted during the session. The Council also confirmed the appointment of 4 Mandate Holders.

The Maldives also delivered 2 Joint Statements at this session; a statement on behalf of the newly formed 14-Member Human Rights Council Membership Contact Group aimed at increasing membership of the Small States at the Council and a statement on behalf of the Group of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Geneva highlighting the role of SIDS at the multilateral engagements. The Maldives is a member of these two groups.

The Human Rights Council commenced with the High-Level Segment of the Human Rights Council (HRC), held from 25 – 27 February 2019. The Maldives delegation was led by H.E Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives.

His Excellency Mr Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs addressed the Council on 25 February 2019. During his address, Minister Shahid reiterated the commitment of the Maldives to uphold basic human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Maldivians, and the need to strengthen the democratic pillars in the country. He also renewed the Standing Invitation the Maldives had extended to all Special Procedures mandate holders to visit the country, including those who had previously requested to visit. At the side-lines of the High Level Segment, the Minister met with foreign ministers of other countries and high level dignitaries attending the session.

The regular session began on 28 February 2019 and the Maldives delegation delivered statements on an array of thematic discussions covered in the Programme of Work of the Council. The other statements delivered includes the, Human Rights Situation in Syria, Palestine and other occupied territories, Situation of Myanmar as well as statements on violence against children, disabilities, adequate housing and environment and technical assistance and capacity building.

The Maldives was positively mentioned by the United Kingdom under Agenda Item 10: Technical assistance and capacity-building. where the United Kingdom welcomed the Maldives’ constructive re-engagement with the international community and steps taken since elections to strengthen democracy, governance and rule of law. Also, encouraged the government to seek support from OHCHR and UN human rights mechanisms to build a democratic, tolerant society.

In line with its key priorities at the UN Human Rights Council, the Maldives co-sponsored a number of resolutions, including those on Rights of the Child, Human rights, democracy and the rule of law, Human rights situation in Syrian Arab Republic, Human Rights Situation in Myanmar. Further, the Maldives also co-sponsored the following resolutions which it had not co-sponsored in the previous sessions; resolution on recognizing the contribution of environmental human rights defenders to the enjoyment of human rights, environmental protection, and sustainable development, Resolution on the Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Resolution on Rights of the Child.

The Maldives participated in several other side events including formal and informal engagements on the side-lines of the Human Rights Council.

The Maldives also co-hosted a reception with Permanent Mission of Netherlands, Permanent Mission of United Kingdom and Universal Rights Group to celebrate the beneficiaries of the SIDS/LDC Trust Fund attending the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council.

The Maldives was represented at the 40th Session of the UN Human Rights Council by Her Excellency Dr. Hala Hameed, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ms. Hawla Ahmed Didi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Maldives of Maldives, to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ms Shahiya Ali Manik, First Secretary, Embassy of London and Ms. Aishath Shahula, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Human Rights Council consists of 47 State Members of the United Nations, and are elected for terms of three years.