Membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council will bring close scrutiny of the country’s human rights performance, warned foreign minister Shaheed as the Maldives takes its seat on the 47 member Council.
Speaking at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the foreign minister said it was the first time Maldives has held a seat on a UN Council, and he promised the Maldivian government was determined to use its three-year membership to promote human rights abroad and to consolidate democracy at home.
The Human Rights Council is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The Council was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006. The Maldives has been active on the Council as an observer since 2006 through its Permanent Mission in Geneva and stood for a seat in elections earlier this year, securing 185 votes – the highest number in the history of the UN human rights body.
The Human Rights Council meets three times a year, in September, March and June. During its membership, the Maldives will focus on torture prevention, women’s rights, children’s rights, environmental rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities.
“It is therefore vital that the Maldives practises what it preaches and lives up to the highest international human rights standards as well as to its legal obligations under international human rights law,” said the foreign minister.