Statement by H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the UN at the High-Level Event of the General Assembly “Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”,
9 June 2014
Mr. President, Excellencies and Distinguished delegates,
It is an honor for my delegation to speak here today. I would take this opportunity to thank His Excellency John Ashe, President of the General Assembly, for putting together these series of High Level events – building consensus towards our common objectives and creating a shared vision.
Today, the Maldives once again reaffirms its assertion that human rights, democratic development and the rule of law are fundamental components to be included in the Post 2015 development agenda and towards achieving sustainable development.
The Maldives is currently sitting for its second term as a member of the Human Rights Council. At the time of our election to the council, we were the smallest country to occupy a seat, and in so doing accepted the weighty responsibility to improve the implementation of human rights – not just in the Maldives, but across the globe. We therefore extend our pledge of commitment to incorporating inalienable human rights, emphasizing its relation to the rule of law and good governance, throughout the Post 2015 development agenda.
The Maldives believes that the rights and freedom inherent to all people are realized through the rule of law. Though laws promoting freedom are necessary to this principle, it is not enough for laws to be written down; they must be properly applied as well. We understand that promoting the rule of law means promoting all the structures and processes to ensure those in power are accountable for the concrete results of their laws and the continued progression of their nation.
The Maldives’ commitment to this principle has ensured that a democratic consolidation process, begun with democratic reforms in 2004, leading to its first muilti-party Presidential election in 2008 and five subsequent democratic elections – has ensured a stable foundation for future prosperity.
Though the Maldives governance structure is based on separation of powers, independent institutions, and an emerging tradition for respecting the rule of law above all else, the need for democratic consolidation is ever-present. The establishment of longstanding traditions is ever our hope, with a nation resilient in its dedication to upholding democracy.
We believe that the rule of law can only exist when people are able to have certain expectations for the future. They must have the opportunity to be participants and contributors to their government system, and they must be aware that their human rights protect this ability. Through such participation we have created laws that cater to the population, protecting the most vulnerable and creating frameworks for the equitable application of the rule of law.
The democratic successes we have had in the recent years is a story that we hope encourages other struggling countries to continue forward in their pursuit of the rule of law. We call upon all states in the process of transition and undergoing situations of unrest, to work closely with international human rights bodies and the international community in general, to establish the necessary institutions, including independent judiciaries and credible human rights mechanisms and to ensure the creation of inclusive and democratic systems of government. As a member of the Human Rights council, we give our commitment to working with these multi-level bodies to improve political systems everywhere. Certainly Inclusion and dialogue across all countries and peoples is the way forward.
The Maldives firmly believes that the rule of law at the national and international levels are inherently tied to the ability for the nations’ sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth. As our democratic institutions have stabilized, the Maldives is now looking towards diversifying our economy and building our economic base beyond our traditional tourism industry. The only way nations can grow, is holistically. Economic, social, political and civil rights go hand in hand, and is complimentary to a nation’s right to development.
The Maldives believes that it must put its people at the heart of its development plan. That Climate Change as an existential threat, will not hold us back, but rather galvanize our Government, people and society to reach our full potential. A sustainable future can only be met when we are ready to be the change that we call for in the world.
The Maldives will continue to call for this change. The Maldives will continue to be this change.
Thank you, Mr. President.