Statement delivered by H.E. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, Permanent Representative on Agenda Item 64: Report of the Human Rights Council, 02 November 2011
Thank you, Mr. President,
Allow me at the outset to thank Her Excellency, Ambassador Laura Dupuy Laserre, President of the Human Rights Council, for joining us here today and for the presentation of the Report of the Human Rights Council to the General Assembly. We also welcome the opportunity to reflect back on an eventful year for the Human Rights Council, and appreciate the leadership taken by the Council on a number of issues of concern to the international community.
As a member of the Human Rights Council, the Maldives has taken onboard what is expected of a Member State, to be responsible and to actively advocate for the protection of basic rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
We pledge our continued support to the cause of promoting and protecting human rights, and will continue our work domestically and internationally in this regard.
This year has been a historic year. The events in the Middle East prove that all peoples, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion yearn for their freedoms and the full recognition of their basic rights. We commend the transitions that have taken place in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and encourage these states to fulfill their obligation to their citizens, and to swiftly move towards implementing necessary structural reforms.
However, Mr. President,
We must be mindful that every human being is entitled to his or her rights, and we call on all parties to cease the ongoing violence, discourage extrajudicial retributions against former adversaries, and work to ensure the protection from abuse as their countries move through their transitionary phase. We strongly encourage countries undergoing civil unrest to engage in dialogue that will lead to peaceful and substantive reforms.
It is the work of the Human Rights Council and the United Nations as a whole to facilitate such outcomes. We call upon all states in the process of transition to work closely with these bodies to establish the necessary institutions, including an independent judiciary and the proper human rights mechanism, to ensure the creation of an inclusive and democratic system of government.
As noted, Maldives has been active in the area of human rights since undergoing our own transition to a democratic system of government three years ago. We have used our own experience to define our human rights principles, and based on these guiding principles, we have been able to participate in a number of issues at the international level, including on the resolution on the Protection of the Rights of Women and the Human Rights Council Review here in New York.
The Maldives also took a lead role in other areas of importance and concern. In response to the unfolding events in the Middle East, we took action in the Human Rights Council in calling for Special Sessions on Libya and Syria, and co-sponsored the resolutions establishing commissions of inquiry to look into the allegations of gross human rights violations in both these countries.
In addition, the Maldives also played an important part in the negotiations for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, with a number of other key countries. We took part in these discussions, with a view to bridge the difference of opinions amongst delegations and to underline the fundamental nature of a communications procedure to protect the rights of children. We hope that this resolution, which was adopted in Geneva in June, will be adopted by the General Assembly as well, after which it will be open for signature in 2012. We call on all countries to support the adoption of this resolution by consensus in the General Assembly.
No Member State of the United Nations has a perfect record on human rights. However, we do strongly believe that engagement with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review would yield greater results for Member States and has the potential to assist countries on a number of challenges they face. With this in mind, the Maldives was in the core group of lead countries that called for the establishment of a new Special Procedure on freedom of assembly, a new Special Procedure on laws which discriminate against women, a Special Procedure on truth, justice and reconciliation, and lastly the establishment of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran.
On the issue of Palestine, the Maldives continues to extend its unwavering support to the creation of an independent State of Palestine, living side by side, and at peace with the State of Israel. We remain extremely concerned about the human rights situation in Gaza, and the fate of the Palestinian people suffering under the Israeli blockade. We call upon all parties concerned, to take on board the recommendations contained in the Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, and to take immediate measures to protect the rights of all Palestinian people.
Domestically, we have continued our own processes at establishing and strengthening critical human rights institutions. While we are proud of the progress we have made, we recognize the steps that need to be taken to promote and protect the full rights of all of our citizens. As a priority, we must ensure we have a functioning, independent judiciary that understands its role as a protector of the rule of law and human rights.
We must also continue to appoint and elect increasing numbers of women to all branches of the judiciary and areas of public and private sectors. In addition, we must provide our youth with education, opportunity and the proper social institutions to ensure they are provided the necessary tools to contribute to the betterment of society, understanding the universality of human rights.
In the upcoming year, the Maldives would like to see a continued focus on human rights situations in the emerging democracies in the Middle East, achieving greater equality for women, and strengthening the protection of the rights of the child.
In this regard, we stand ready to lend our assistance, and to extend our continued commitments to improving human rights globally. We look forward to continuing this work with great optimism as we see democracy and greater recognition of human rights spread throughout the world.
Thank you Mr President.