The Maldivian government has said it supports the mandates and standards of human rights and legal processes held by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in conjunction with the United Nations Charter.
Gender violence and social unrest were among the issues raised during the session.
Permanent Representative Ghafoor Mohamed addressed the Tenth Session of the Assembly of State Parties to the ICC last week. The session began in New York City on December 12 and will conclude on December 21.
Reaffirming the Maldives’ commitment to the Rome Statue, Ghafoor said the country is “proud to be among the group of countries who have committed themselves to combat impunity, in respect of international law and to provide justice to those victims who have often been forgotten in the labyrinths of diplomacy.
“We strongly believe that the rule of law in societies, at all levels is a crucial ingredient to the realization of socio economic objectives, and a reinforcement of core democratic principles. We are a strong supporter of the International Criminal Court and its conformity with the United Nations Charter in strengthening the rule of law and the respect for human rights”, he stated.
Reflecting on the protests and revolutions unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa, Ghafoor pushed for governments to carefully consider their peoples’ voices and visions for their states.
The Maldives demonstrated its commitment to democracy during the Arab Spring and recently over the Syrian revolution.
The Maldives was one of the first three countries to recognise Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) as Libya’s sole legitimate representative. In a letter sent to chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil, expressed the President’s hope that Libya would “emerge as a free and democratic country, in which fundamental human rights can be enjoyed by all.”
Earlier this month, the Maldives exercised its powers as a member of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council to help convene a UN Emergency Session on human rights in Syria. The Maldives supports increased foreign intervention regarding the state crackdown on civilian protestors.
However, Maldivian police have lately extended controversial blogger Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed’s detention over his role in a peaceful silent protest for religious tolerance without charges.
On the other hand, religious Adhaalath party has agreed to meet with ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to discuss issues surrounding the upcoming protest to defend Islam, scheduled for December 23. MDP is meanwhile planning to hold a counter-rally on the same day.
Gender crimes were also raised as an issue of high importance.
“Gender crimes are one of most heinous forms of crimes against humanity and it is imperative that the Court continues its case law and jurisprudential work,” Ghafoor said.
A related topic was recently raised in the Maldives when UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay called for a moratorium on flogging of women as a punishment for extra-marital intercourse. The punishment is primarily administered to females in the Maldives, where paternity tests are unavailable.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Naseem rejected Pillay’s view on the grounds that Islamic law is inarguable.
This is the first time the Maldives has participated in an Assembly of State Parties to the ICC since acceding to the Rome Statue earlier this year. Other new members include the Philippines, Cape Verde and Vanuatu.