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The Maldives Candidacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council 2018-2020 - Human Rights Commitments & Pledges


The Maldives Candidacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council 2018-2020


The Republic of Maldives

The Maldives is a small island developing State that champions multilateralism and uphold international law. Promoting the respect for human rights is a prioritised national interest of the Maldives and a core objective in the country's foreign policy. The Maldives believes that a world where the fundamental human rights is protected and guaranteed is good for the Maldives and is essential for human innovation and creativity to thrive.

The Maldives has unquestionable faith in the United Nations and in particular, in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The Maldives has served on the HRC with the firm conviction that the promotion and protection of human rights is not an aspiration, but a duty and an obligation. We stood tall by the principles and ideas enshrined in the UN Charter, in our engagement and work at the Council. We had the privilege of giving a voice to the smallest members of the international community. Our experience at the Council has also shown us that international engagement in promoting human rights has a direct and positive relationship with progress in key human rights issues nationally.


It is with that conviction, with that commitment, that the Maldives is presenting its candidacy to the Human Rights Council for the term 2018-2020. We believe that small States have a larger role to play in global governance. The Maldives and other small States have been thought leaders and norm entrepreneurs, helping to shape consensus on difficult issues, such as the human rights dimensions of climate change. We will continue to play that role in promoting a culture of respect for human rights everywhere, around the world.

Maldives' Pledges

If elected to the Human Rights Council, the Maldives will focus on the following issues;

The Empowerment of Women: The Maldives will advocate for Governments, the United Nations system, and civil society organisations, to adopt more evidence-based policies that can bring both qualitative and quantitative changes in the empowerment of women. We are uniquely placed in the advocacy of empowering women. We are among the first countries in Asia to grant women the right to vote (Maldivian women started voting in 1930s), and to achieve gender parity in school enrolment. Yet, significant challenges remain, which include, the limited number of women at political and economic decision making, particularly at national level, and the enduring prevalence of traditional notions and stereotyping of women's role in society. These are challenges that the Maldives share with a number of other States, and solutions can be found in sharing of experiences and best practices. The Maldives will therefore work with other countries and the UN system to forge constructive and mutually beneficial partnerships on issues ranging from domestic violence to harassment, to equal pay for equal work and equal participation of women in politics and economy.

Protecting and Promoting the Right of Every Child: The Maldives will advance the promotion and the protection of the rights of the child, a top priority in every aspect of the work of the UN system, and will continue with its constructive engagement with other States to achieve that. The Maldives has some successes in promoting child rights with the help of some innovative policy instruments. For example, the Maldives has reduced infant mortality rates from 121 in 1977 to just 7 in 2015. The Maldives achieved near universal school enrolment, including gender parity, several years before the country made primary and secondary enrolment compulsory. It also pursues a "no child left behind" policy to ensure free education for every child in the country until eighteen years of age. With these successes, the Maldives believes that it can engage with countries where protection of child rights is a serious challenge and work with the UN system in shaping policies that can promote the rights and the interests of the child.

Amplifying Youth Voices: The Maldives commits to work towards strengthening existing international mechanisms and explore new avenues for addressing challenges facing the youth, facilitating the creation of policies that empower youth through training, job opportunities, and towards greater independence. About two-thirds of the Maldives population is youth, and the country has, over the years, employed a number of policy instruments aimed at creating opportunities where the creativities of the youth can flourish. Youth-majority populations now becoming the norm among UN member States, the Maldives recognises the ever-present need to incorporate youth in global, regional, and national governance mechanisms. If a young woman or man is old enough to become a parent, soldier or even a registered voter, their contributions to good and effective governance should be actively sought.

Advancing the Interests of the Small Island Developing States at the Council: As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), the Maldives will advance the interests of the SIDS at the Council and in the entire UN system. Over the years, the Maldives and other small States, and SIDS in particular, have been playing a valuable role in proposing creative solutions to overcome common challenges. The Maldives will continue playing that role with a renewed commitment and in particular, in adopting a rights-based approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, an equitable global governance can only be realized through the participation of all States and the representation of the full diversity of views that exist across the global community. Development paradigms, economic indicators, and social priorities must reflect the views of even the smallest State in recognition of the UN's commitment to ensure that no one is left behind.

Fortifying the Right to Environment and Rights Impacted by Climate Change: The Maldives commits to promoting a human rights based approach on the issues of climate change and the environment. The Maldives took the initiative at the Council to explore the relationship between the impact of climate change and the full enjoyment of human rights. It will continue to pursue the matter through new partnerships that can help to construct global consensus on the issue.

Continuing International Commitments And Pledges

At international level, the Maldives would continue to:

  • support and encourage the active engagement of small States in multilateral forums and processes;
  • promote the interlinked and cross-cutting nature of human rights and development in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
  • work towards increasing the human rights engagement capacity and resilience of LDCs and SIDS, so that these countries have the capacity to fulfil their international human rights obligations; and
  • work with like-minded countries in creating a culture of respect and support for values enshrined in the UN Charter, including the sovereign equality of all States irrespective of size, military prowess or economic might, particularly with regards to emerging democracies.
Promoting Human Rights in the Maldives

The Maldives will continue to emphasise, at national and international levels, on the importance of cultivating the value of respect for human rights to complement formal statutory measures in promoting human rights. In order to do that, the Maldives pledges to continue to forge a strong partnership with members of the Human Rights Council in strengthening the national human rights protection mechanism.

At the national level, the Maldives would continue to:

  • improve the functioning and effectiveness of its independent national institutions;
  • promote the space for a responsible and vibrant media and civil society;
  • enact enabling legislations for international human rights instruments so that they are observed and integrated into all aspects of the Maldivian society and continue to explore the viability of acceding to other international human rights instruments; and
  • follow up on the recommendation of the Universal Periodic Review as well as the concluding observations of treaty bodies.


9 February 2017

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