Letter on racial discrimination

Dear Editor,

With reference to your well-written and interesting recent article “UN Committee Grills Maldives Delegation on human rights commitments”, the Foreign Ministry welcomes such efforts to disseminate information about the Maldives’ important interactions with the UN human rights machinery. The UN Treaty Bodies are the guardians of the international human rights conventions and the Maldives has taken a number of steps over recent years to work more closely with those Bodies in order to strengthen our human rights protection system.

However, I would like to make one important clarification regarding the article. You write, in the third paragraph, that “the committee noted that the government’s historical position had “been to deny the existence of racial discrimination in the country as the Maldives has a small homogeneous population, of the same origin, pursuing the same religion, and speaking the same language.” It is important to clarify that this “historical position” refers to the reports submitted under the CERD Convention by the former Government. The current Government, in its report to CERD and in its interactions with the Committee, started from a position that racial and related discrimination is a problem in the Maldives, as it is in all countries, and that we must all accept that the problem exists in order to take meaningful steps to address it. In this regard, the current Government is committed to closely reviewing the findings and recommendations of the CERD Committee, and to working with all national stakeholders to confront discrimination in line with our international obligations.


Irushaadha Abdul Sattar is the Director of Communications for the Maldives Foreign Ministry.

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