Thanks to our friend, Marc Limon, who sent us this press release from the Maldives. Marc Limon is Counsellor of the Mission of the Government of the Maldives to the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Maldives lists environmental rights as a top priority as a member of the Human Rights Council
Tuesday 1st June, Geneva

The Maldives Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, H.E. Ms. Iruthisham Adam, today outlined the Maldives’ priorities that it will pursue as a Member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Maldives secured a seat at the Council during elections held at the General Assembly in New York during May, winning the support of 185 States – a record level of support for any country in any Council election. The Maldives will assume its seat on 18th June at the end of the current 14th session of the Council and will be a member for a term of three years.

Addressing the 14th session of the Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Ms. Navanethem Pillay, Ambassador Adam thanked the Member States of the United Nations for their strong support. “In its campaign for a seat on the Council” said the Ambassador, “the Maldives asked to be judged solely on the basis of its human rights record – the degree to which it protects and promotes human rights at home and abroad. With that in mind, we were delighted at the strong support our candidacy received at the General Assembly and believe that this not only represents a strong international endorsement of our efforts to strengthen human rights in the Maldives over recent years, but also a strong mandate to continue those efforts and to work through the Council to promote human rights elsewhere in the world”.

The Maldives promised to approach its work in the Council in a “principled, independent and objective manner – placing the imperative of protecting the rights of individual people above all else”. Ambassador Adam then outlined the Maldives plan to focus, in particular, on five main issues during the term of its membership, namely: the prevention of torture; women’s rights; children’s rights; environmental rights; and the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Ambassador concluded by stating that, in addition to the work done in Geneva, the Government would judge the success or otherwise of its Council membership “on the degree to which the Maldives itself, as a nation, becomes engaged with and benefits from membership”.

“With this in mind, the Government has wide-ranging plans to engage Maldivians in our work, and in-so-doing increase awareness about international human rights law, about the Maldives’ commitments under that body of law, about international human rights protection mechanisms and their role in the Maldives, and about key issues and challenges in the realm of human rights” said Ambassador Adam.