Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid today delivered a pre-recorded statement at the High-level Segment of the 46th Human Rights Council (HRC) Session. The High-level Segment marks the beginning of the first HRC session of this year and will be held in hybrid format to allow for extensive participation amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In his statement, Minister Shahid provided an overview of the progress made by the Maldives in the promotion and protection of human rights, both at home and abroad. In this regard, the Minister attributed the achievements gained by the Maldives, to the foreign policy and development framework adopted by the Government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He specifically highlighted the recent ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and reiterated the commitment of the Maldives to deliver on the recommendations received during its Universal Periodic Review last year. He further assured that the standing invitation extended to the Special Procedures Mandate Holders remains unchanged and welcomed all future visits.
Minister Shahid also briefed the Council of the steps undertaken by the Government to tackle major human rights issues in the Maldives, with a particular focus on combating human trafficking, achieving transitional justice, maintaining the rule of law and promoting the empowerment of vulnerable communities. Speaking of the implications posed by climate change on the realization of human rights, the Minister emphasised the importance of climate justice to the Maldives, as a Small Island Developing State.
He further shed light on the challenges posed by the global pandemic and noted the importance of placing the values of human rights enshrined in the UN Charter, at the heart of recovery. He also referred to the current recovery efforts as an opportunity to build back more resilient economies and to strengthen social security systems to ensure that no one is left behind. Before concluding, he also reiterated the Maldives’ position on important global humanitarian issues and expressed concern for the people of Palestine and the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.
The 46th HRC Session will take place from 22 February to 23 March 2021. Maldives is expected to make 13 interventions under various agenda items. During this Session, the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment will present a report on his visit to the Maldives in 2019 and the Council will adopt the UPR Outcome Report of the Maldives.