Thank you Mr. Chairman,
Rule of law is an essential pillar upon which societies are built. It is the very foundation of good governance and the stability of a nation. It ensures the transparency of the state, the equitable settlement of disputes, and ensures that power is never abused. The rule of law is the final line in the protection of human dignity.
My delegation wishes to express its deep appreciation to the Secretary General for his untiring efforts in promoting the rule of law at national and international level.
The Maldives was one of the first countries in South Asia to adopt a Constitution, having done so in 1932. Since then we have enacted six constitutions and seven more amendments. In 2008, the Maldives introduced a new Constitution that guarantees the separation of powers, a universal bill of rights and a free media. The objectives set in the new constitution require strict adherence to and uncompromising application of the rule of law. As a nascent democracy, there is an urgent need for further strengthening of its institutions.
Following the Secretary General’s initiative on the rule of law, the Maldives has submitted an ambitious set of pledges. Foremost among these pledges, is our commitment to accede and ratify important international instruments such as the core conventions of the International Labour Organization, as well as those conventions that addresses organized crime, forced disappearance of persons, and the rights of migrant workers within the next two years. On international instruments where domestic legislations are still pending, Maldives has pledged to do so in a specific time frame.
At the national level, the Maldives has announced a number of measures in order to strengthen the rule of law. These include the support for strengthening the justice sector by formulating a mechanism for enhancing the capacity of the Bench, a five year action plan for human resource development in the area of rule of law and a timeline to develop and carry out alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Furthermore, a plan is being developed for enhancing the institutional capacity of law enforcement agencies with a view to strengthening their review and oversight mechanism.
Acknowledging the recommendations of UN agencies and special procedures, Maldives has begun formulating a comprehensive programme on crime prevention, reforming the prisons and strengthening the system for implementation of sentences.
In our set of pledges submitted to the Secretary General, the Maldives has further developed an agenda for corporate governance and economic sector regulations as well as on the strengthening of public spending and financial accountability. In tackling corruption, the Maldives has committed to strengthen the constitutionally created, independent Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor General’s Office.
Empowering women and children are at the forefront of our program towards strengthening the rule of law. These include formulation of measures to implement the newly enacted Domestic Violence Act and strengthen the Family Protection Authority by the end of next year. The Maldives has also announced a timeline to take affirmative action in addressing the disadvantages faced by women and implement special programmes to increase the representation of women in public offices, both elected and appointed. In addition, the Government has decided to open safe houses for victims of sexual and domestic violence by setting up measures to assist them in finding legal and other remedies. These measures are to be completed by 2015.
In strengthening the nexus between the national and international level, the Maldives submitted its pledge to enact legislation on human trafficking, and develop a media campaign to protect vulnerable groups from trafficking in persons and halt adolescents and young people from being used or recruited by organized crime and terrorist groups.
The pledges I have just outlined are both overwhelming and challenging for a small island State with limited resources as the Maldives. However, ambitious it is, the set of pledges demonstrate our strong commitment to the rule of law. My delegation requests the support of the United Nations and the international community as we embark on this journey.