Her Excellency Thilmeeza Hussain, Permanent Representative
At the Plenary on Agenda Item 63: Annual Reports of the President of the Human Rights Council
01 November 2022
Thank you, Mr. President,
At the outset, my delegation would like to congratulate the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Volker Türk. The Maldives looks forward to working closely with him in the promotion and protection of human rights. We would also like to thank His Excellency Ambassador Federico Villegas, Permanent Representative of Argentina 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.
As a result of complex and interlinking challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian crises, the devastating climate change emergency, as well as with conflicts on going around the world, this has been an unprecedented year. These multiple global challenges underscore the importance of strengthening multilateralism and adhering to the rules-based international order.
At this critical juncture, the Human Rights Council has shown great strength and resilience to promote and protect fundamental rights, universal values and international law to transform the lives of the human family. The Council has also accelerated efforts to eliminate racial discrimination, inequality and set new human rights standard around the globe. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Council for its achievements during these challenging times and reaffirm our unwavering support to the Council and its work.
The Maldives is delighted to have actively engaged in the Council since its inception in 2006. In 2010, we made history as the smallest country to ever be elected to the Council and served two consecutive terms for six years. We are honored to have been elected to serve as a member of the Council starting next year, for the next three years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all countries for the confidence that has been placed in us and assure you, of our unwavering commitment to uphold and promote the values of the Council.
As a respected member of the international community, the Maldives is committed to the international human rights mechanism including among others, Universal Periodic Review and treaty bodies. In this regard, we are pleased to note that the Maldives has successfully completed its third review of the UPR in 2020. We believe that the UPR process is of crucial importance and reiterate our commitment to actively participate in the UPR fourth cycle that is starting next week.
In 2021, Maldives successfully concluded the review of its Sixth Periodic Report at the CEDAW Committee’s 80th session, reiterating the government’s firm commitment to implement and to strengthen measures to end domestic and gender-based violence and to end discrimination against women and girls to fully meet the targets of SDG5.
We are also proud to note that we have renewed our Standing Invitation to all thematic special procedures mandate holders in 2018. Since then, we have welcomed the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism and Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls completed their visit to Maldives in October this year. We look forward to welcoming more Special Procedure Mandate holders in the coming days. We wish to reassure to the international community that we will carefully and constructively observe the recommendations by special procedure mandate holders with a view to improving the human rights situation in the Maldives.
This year is also a particularly significant year for the Maldives. The Maldives has a long and proud history of advocating for the issue of climate change. We have also long advocated to consider the impacts of climate change, from a human rights perspective. In this regard, we especially recall our efforts to recognize clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right through the landmark Resolution 48/13 adopted at the Human Rights Council. We are also a lead proponent of this historic resolution at the General Assembly.
The Maldives has ambitious goals for progressive climate action. We have become the first developing country to successfully phase out HCFC, 10 years ahead of the commitments outlined in the Montreal Protocol.
The latest IPCC report shows that greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, and how current plans to address climate emergency are not ambitious enough to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels—a threshold scientists believe is necessary to avoid even more catastrophic impacts.
In light of this report, we reiterate our call on the member states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature of this century to below 1.5 degrees. We also call on the developed countries to provide assistance in adaptation for Small Island States to reduce our vulnerability which is essential for the survival.
We recognize the attention given by the Council to the grave human rights violations being committed against various peoples around the world.
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, Palestinian homes continue to be demolished, arbitrary detentions and settlement activities against every international law continue, without impunity. Like any other, the people of Palestine deserve to live in freedom in their independent state. We believe that a lasting solution is a two-State solution, with a Palestinian state based on pre - 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital.
We are also equally proud of our efforts to enhance the inclusivity of the work of the Council, including with the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund established in 2012, through a resolution put forwarded by Maldives and Mauritius as pen holders, to support the participation of Least Developing States and Small Island Developing States, in the work of the Human Rights Council.
During our membership in the Council, we are committed to ensuring the work of the Human Rights Council is conducted in a credible, balanced, transparent and effective manner. We will work to facilitate enhanced cooperation between Member States and UN human rights mechanisms, by understanding and addressing limitations and challenges, accelerating the work of the Council that has been deferred due to the pandemic and promoting the participation of countries in special situations, especially SIDS and LDCs.
While the Human Rights Council has achieved considerable success in its short tenure, it can only continue to meet its mandate if 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 we will see the Council become a stronger, more efficient and effective institution in the coming years.
Before I conclude I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm as a member of the Council, 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.