Statement by H.E. Mr. Ahmed Khaleel, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations to the Panel II: Theme: The Full Implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Challenges ahead and ways forward during the Commemoration of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 2008.
Mr. Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a major milestone in the promotion and protection of human rights, providing an essential basis for democracy, freedom and justice.
The contribution that the Declaration had made over the past six decades to promote and advance human rights throughout the world has been enormous. Millions of people around the world, who were once denied the most basic human rights, now live more meaningful lives empowered by the principles of the Declaration.
As for my country, a grassroots democratic reforms movement, inspired by the principles of the Declaration that began five years ago had totally transformed the country into vibrant liberal democracy today.
A new Constitution that guarantees all fundamental civil liberties of our people was adopted this year and the first multi-party election in the history of the country was successfully held two months ago.
The goals of the Declaration cannot be fully realized without addressing the silent crisis of underdevelopment, poverty and environmental degradation. For small and emerging democracies, like the Maldives, capacity limitations remain a critical issue. The continued assistance of our partners would therefore be critical at this infant stage of our democracy.
Today we face multiple challenges such as the food and fuel crisis and climate change that needs to be addressed in order to ensure the full realization of the human rights agenda. Specifically, we would like to highlight the importance of addressing the injustices of climate change in this regard. We are convinced that addressing these injustices is an obligation of the entire international community. We believe that a comprehensive rights inspired approach to climate change will be the logical and ethical way forward. In this regard, we are happy that the Human Rights Council had recognized the link between climate change and human rights.
As we mark this momentous occasion, we must strategies to make the full achievement of the goals of the Declaration truly universal and real. This requires that we recognize the links between peace, democracy and development. The promotion of human dignity and sanctity of the person should always remain our objective.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.