Statement by Her Excellency Dr. Mariyam Shakeela, Minister of Environment and Energy and Acting Foreign Minister, at the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement on the margins of the General Assembly


Mr. Chair, Excellencies, and distinguished delegates,


The Maldives believes that the basis of governance should be the rule of law. It guarantees the protection of fundamental human rights of all individuals, regardless of their differences. It ensures that even the small and the weak are protected, and are free from manipulation by the rest.




The Maldives is still a nascent democracy, at its very infant stage. Institutions and the subsequent laws and regimes required to sustain it are slowly being build and strengthened.  Though the Maldives was among the first countries in South Asia to be governed under a constitution, it took many decades for it to align itself with democratic ideals. Our current constitution, which was adopted in 2008, guarantees the separation of powers, consists of a universal bill of rights, established and clarifies the role of independent institutions in governance and democracy consolidation.  It also made the judiciary independent and established accountability measures. Despite this, like most countries our legal system is not perfect and requires urgent reforms.


Nevertheless, the government of Maldives is committed to implementing the constitution and upholding the rule of law. Accountability of enforcement bodies such as the police are being strengthened through the establishment of internal and external oversight mechanisms. Measures are being taken through the implementation of necessary domestic legislations to ensure that vulnerable and minority groups are protected.




In order to conform to International laws and regimes, the Maldives has ratified seven of the eight most important International human rights instruments and plans to formulate a national strategy to strengthen national capacities to more effectively comply with these instruments. The government of Maldives has also recently ratified the ILO’s Eight Core Conventions on Fundamental human rights and the UN convention against transnational organized crime. These are in addition to the many other International instruments that we have ratified in the past, reaffirming our commitment to engage and cooperate with International mechanisms and regimes.


We believe it is the duty of National governments and international organizations to promote the rule of law. International organizations set the benchmarks against which the application of rule of law is measured. However, our recent experience shows that certain International organizations do not treat all states on an equal footing.


Some powerful International actors have pressured the Maldives to take certain measures contradictory to our laws. We were asked to withdraw certain criminal cases filed by independent State bodies for crimes as serious as the armed forces abducting and keeping in isolation a serving judge, we have been asked to hold the second round of our elections tomorrow, though our Supreme Court has issued an interim verdict to delay it due to an ongoing case of alleged voter fraud during the first round of elections held on the 7of September. We were told to take these measures for the good of the country.



I ask you, should the government interfere with a criminal case, filed by an Independent state body and assist in saving the oppressor? Should we ignore the rights of the oppressed? Should the government disregard serious allegations of voter fraud and proceed with the second rounds of elections, while there is a standing order from the highest court to delay? If there was indeed deceit, is it just to ignore the Supreme Court verdict and violate the rights of our citizens?




We cannot afford to be complacent. I’m sure there are many of you who share similar experiences in this room. If we do not stand up against such injustices, the double standards will never end.




On a closing note, I would like to bring to your attention our candidature for re-election to the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2014-2016. As you would be aware, the Maldives has played an important role in promoting the fundamental values of human rights for the voiceless in the International community, during its three year tenure at the council. It also stood for helping the vulnerable and emerging democracies to cultivate the values of human rights in their societies.


Therefore, we request the support of all member countries present here today, in our re-election bid to the Council, and I assure you we will keep fighting to eliminate injustices in the international front.


Thank you.