24 September 2015, Geneva; The Universal Periodic Review process has become a key navigational instrument in our drive for national progress said Foreign Secretary Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed while delivering his opening remarks at the HRC Plenary session currently underway in Geneva to consider and adopt the UPR of Maldives. Foreign Secretary stated that the Maldives UPR held in May gained nation-wide interest in the Maldives. The Session received wide coverage on national and private news channels, and lively discussions from schools to social media.
The engagement and the discussion both positive and critical, has renewed and strengthened the commitment of the Government, to this process and its core guiding principles: universality, inclusivity, and transparency. It has reaffirmed our belief in the process’s potential to contribute to the positive and sustainable development of the country said Foreign Secretary.
Continuing with his remarks Foreign Secretary updated the council on some of the developments on human rights, that have taken place in the past four months including the ratification of the Health Services Bill, the Sports Bill, National Integrity Commission Bill, and the Disaster Management Bill.
Foreign Secretary further stated that President Yameen’s Government believes that human rights are not only about international instruments or pieces of law. Human rights is as much about cultivating respect, nurturing belief, and in making human rights a way of life. To promote these values, the Government will continue its efforts to provide human rights education.
Highlighting on some of the challenges faced by the Maldives such as lack of expertise, capacity, technical and financial limitations, Foreign Secretary stated that ‘despite the challenges, the progress that the Maldives has achieved only within a span of ten years, is by any measure, impressive. It is therefore highly unfortunate that there are several forces, both outside and within, trying to reap the benefits of our political vulnerability. It is also unfortunate that, our governance system that is only a decade old, is often judged by the same yardstick used for countries that took centuries to establish. And while the attention is appreciated, conclusive evidence shows that change is only sustainable if locally owned, locally driven, and locally shaped. Institutions need to have the space and time to grow organically according to the specific needs of the people of the country. Said Foreign Secretary.
Out of the 258 recommendations the Maldives received during its Second Cycle of UPR, the Maldives had accepted a total of 198 recommendation in total. Of the sixty recommendations the Government has rejected, and thus taken note of, are mostly those that contradict with the Islamic faith and our Constitution.
Maldives delegation to the session is headed by Foreign Secretary H.E Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed and accompanied Ms. Geela Ali, Minister at the Maldives Mission in Geneva, Ms. Rishfa Rasheed, Counsellor, and Ms. Mariyam Bassama Farooq, First Secretary at the Maldives Mission in Geneva.