Agenda Item 63: Report of the Human Rights Council

Statement by Ms. Aisha Naeem, Senior State Counsel at the Attorney General's Office of the Republic of Maldives/Delegate of the Maldives to the 71st UNGA

United Nations, 04 November 2016


Thank you, Mr. President.

At the outset, my delegation would like to thank His Excellency Ambassador Choi Kyong-lim, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office in Geneva, for his admirable work as the President of the Human Rights Council, and for presenting the Council's Annual Report to the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

This year marks an important milestone in the history of the Human Rights Council. As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Council, we would like to take this opportunity to commend the Council for its achievements and reaffirm our support to the Council. Since its inception in 2006, the Council has made substantive contributions to improve the world's human rights situation. Not only has it proved to be an effective institution in protecting human rights across the world, it has also played a significant role in promoting constructive international dialogue and improving international human rights standards and their implementation. The Maldives is proud to have actively engaged in the process as a member of the Council for six out of its ten years.

Mr President,

At a time when human rights violations and abuses are rapidly increasing the world over, and where extremism and terrorism pose ever-increasing threats to the global community as a whole, the Maldives welcomes the initiatives undertaken by the Human Rights Council in addressing the many human rights violations that plague our world.

One of the most important contributions made by the Council to the world's human rights situation is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. Establishing a unique mechanism where the human rights of all countries are assessed and measured on an equal footing and on an equal basis, the UPR process has come to be widely recognized as one of the biggest achievements of the Council. We are pleased to note that the Maldives completed its second review of the UPR this year. We believe that the UPR process is of crucial importance and reiterate our support to further strengthen the process.

Another noteworthy development is the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures system, through the Reports of the Special Procedures mandate holders, provides an effective basis for dialogue and debate both between Member States and between Member States and the Council.

Mr President,

We welcome the Human Rights Council's most recent Special Session on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic and the recent situation in Aleppo and the attention given by the Council to the grave human rights violations being committed against the people of Aleppo. The Maldives calls upon the Council to step up its efforts and to adopt a more pro-active role in addressing the grave human rights violations committed against the women, men and children in Aleppo.

Similarly, while the Council has continued with its traditional set of resolutions on the human rights violations and atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, the Maldives calls upon the Council to take strong and effective measures to relieve the plight of the people of Palestine.

Mr President,

This year is also a particularly significant year for the Maldives. This year we conclude our second term at the Council. We are proud of the contributions we have made to the work of the Council. We especially recall our efforts to integrate climate change into the Council's agenda through Resolution 7/23. As Small Island Developing States, countries like the Maldives are at the forefront of impacts from climate change. the Maldives has long advocated that the issue of climate change and its impacts on populations must be viewed from a human rights lens.  We are pleased to note that the Human Rights Council has in its 32nd session continued to recognize the importance of addressing the adverse consequences of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.

The increased engagement with the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support Participation of LDCs and SIDS in the work of the Human Rights Council is another important development that we are proud to see materialise. In addition to actively participating in setting up the Trust Fund, we were able to secure the participation of all SIDS that are not present in Geneva at the Human Rights Council Session held in June this year; which for the first time saw the participation of all Small Island Developing States.

Despite our limitations, and though we are a Small Island Developing State, the Maldives has maintained a strong presence at the Human Rights Council. We are proud to have given a voice to the smallest members of the international community and will continue lending our voice for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the coming years. My delegation is pleased to note that the Government of Maldives has announced its candidacy for membership for the Human Rights Council for the term 2018-20. The Maldives remains steadfast in its efforts to continue keeping the development and empowerment of all people central to our agenda. Human rights remain the heart of our developmental efforts, especially those of the most vulnerable, including the disabled, women and children.

Mr. President,

While the Human Rights Council has achieved considerable success in its short tenure, it can only continue to live up to its mandate if it is guided by the principles upon which it was founded: namely, the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation. It is our hope that the next decade will see the Council become a stronger, more efficient and effective Council.

I conclude by reaffirming our continued support to the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. Let me also take this opportunity to reaffirm our country's dedication to work with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in cooperating with other Member States in the promotion and protection of human rights globally.

I thank you.