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Intervention by the Maldives at the Panel Discussion on the Occassion of the 10th Anniversary of the Human Rights Council, UNHQ-15 March 2016


Panel Discussion on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Human Rights Council

"Are Human Rights under Assault? Massive Human Rights violations, violent extremism, and shrinking democratic space in a troubled world"

Statement by:

His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations

15:00-17:00, 15 March 2016

ECOSOC Chambers, United Nations, New York

Distinguished Deputy Secretary General and panellists

Thank you moderator,

It is a great pleasure to be at this important panel discussion to hear views from many experts as we mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Human Rights Council.

The General Assembly established the Human Rights Council ten years ago with a great conviction to solve the challenges that confronts our humanity. Never has is it been more pressing than now, the need for a stronger and well-functioning human rights institution. More and more countries are becoming unstable as conflicts escalate, and an unprecedented number of men, women and children are being forced to flee their homes. Extreme weather events and rising sea levels associated with climate change threaten to submerge our livelihoods.

We must not shy away from these challenges, but rather contribute in every manner to improve the human rights agenda.  Each one of us, whether big or small, can contribute to this endeavour. The Maldives' engagement at the Human RightsCouncil demonstrates that even Small Island Developing States can substantially contribute to its deliberations. Presently, in its sixth year of occupying a seat at the Council, the Maldives is honoured to have been able to bring in a number of proposals to the Council, including the issue of climate change to the Council's agenda through resolution 7/23. While we are privileged to have been one of the four SIDS that have been a member of this Council since its establishment, we remain deeply concerned by the vast underrepresentation of SIDS. Sixteen SIDS still do not have a presence in Geneva.

Maldives in its national capacity has assisted a number of SIDS guiding them in their participation at UPR sessions. It is imperative that the Council is inclusive, and we must endeavour to find permanent solutions to enable countries to participate more fully in the work of the Council.  I would like present a question to the panel to ask whether the council has any plans to resolve this matter, to enable SIDS that are not represented in Geneva to participate more effectively in the deliberations of the council?

In the Council, Maldives has advocated to bring the perspective of Small Island Developing States to the Council which had led to the establishment of the voluntary trust fund for SIDS and LDCs, and the UPR support for SIDS. This brings to my second question, if you could share your views on how this voluntary could be better utilised for achieving this objective?

My third question is related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  The Agenda 2030 recognises that peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice and accountable institutions are prerequisite for sustainable development. It is ever more imperative to remove the silos in that have long characterised the work of the UN system.

The General Assembly and the ECOSOC is presently engaged in discussions on long term positioning of the UN system towards addressing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  There is much need for all UN agencies to work in harmony. With respect to the work of the Council, there is an increasing demand for better coordination between the Council, the Third Committee of the General Assembly and other relevant UN bodies.  I would like to hear your views on steps the Council could take for better coordination with other relevant bodies of the UN.

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