Thank you Mr Chairman,
The Maldives would like to express its appreciation to the Special Rapporteur Ms Margaret Sekaggya for her report on the situation of human rights defenders. My delegation welcomes the report and the recommendations contained therein.
The Republic of the Maldives believes profoundly in the protection of fundamental human rights. Our Constitution guarantees these freedoms, including that of association and society. Associations have been further safeguarded through legislation ensuring basic protections.
The Maldives unequivocally supports the right assemble, associate, and even protest. Given our democratic transition, it has become common for political parties to protest, and therefore it has been the Government’s responsibility to ensure peaceful assembly is protected. To this effect, the Government supported the strengthening of external oversight authorities over our Police force, including an independent Police Integrity Commission. The Government has also emphasized stronger internal oversight mechanisms. This includes providing enhanced access to media, placing identifiable badges on all officers, including those in riot gear, and ensuring strict adherence to operational protocols
The Maldives acknowledges human rights defenders as being key to equitable development, and the protection of fundamental rights such as that to our environment. Protected under our Constitution, Civil Society has at times been able identify direct threats to our environment and was fundamental to the establishment of marine protected Atoll – an area which we hope to expand across the nation.
The Maldives would ask the Special Rapporteur the following questions:
- · Firstly: With mention of large-scale development projects in her report, and with the inherent business ties those projects often have, how important is State based funding for Civil Society Organizations? In the case of State based support, what criteria should be used to determine funding?
- · Our Second Question is when civil society activists engage in political activism as well, namely an event sponsored by a political party, where is the line blurred between a human rights activist and a political operative?
I thank you Mr. Chairman