On the occasion of this year’s Human Rights Day, Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Ms. Dunya Maumoon has said that “building the resilience of the people in overcoming challenges is the best strategy in promoting human rights”. Highlighting the current water crisis in the capital city of Male’, Minister Dunya stated “A decade ago, in December 2004, we were at the mercy of the waves that threatened to engulf our country: today, a decade later, one-third of the Maldives is desperately waiting for water in their homes. Water is a basic necessity; and a fundamental right. In both incidents, while completely opposite in their effect yet with a common source, highlight the unique vulnerabilities faced by small island states, and on the need to build resilience to enable the people of small states to the full realisation of human rights.
Minister reiterated that “we must continue to place human beings at the center of all policy making” to equitably meet the developmental needs of both present and future generations. “The fundamental human rights character of environmental protection underscores the very basis on which principles of equality, human dignity and liberties are placed on. A safe environment, therefore, is a pre-requisite for the full enjoyment of human rights and as a Maldivian, I am proud that this is recognized in our Constitution”, said Minister Dunya.
To this effect the Foreign Minister reiterated the Maldives’ call on the international community to thus see the direct and indirect effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights and in addition, to appreciate the unique characteristics of SIDS, as a challenge to the complete realisation of human rights. “The vulnerabilities of the human environment made its mark in the global discourse over forty years ago. Over recent years, through our efforts at the Human Rights Council, the Maldives has significantly contributed to this discourse. The Maldives will continue to lead the global voice of SIDS”, stated Foreign Minister Dunya.
The Minister Dunya also noted that the theme of this year, “Human rights 365”, aptly captured the integral character of human rights in our daily lives and spoke of the need to cultivate values of human rights within communities, and the need for the global community to act together in the realisation, promotion and protection of human rights. “We must reiterate that the rights and liberties encompassed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must transcend all borders, and reach out to all corners of the globe. As policy makers it is our duty to ensure that human rights underlie every aspect of our decisions”, she concluded.
Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December, to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to promote it as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.