Maldives re-elected unopposed to UN Human Rights Council

The Maldives has been elected unopposed to the UN Human Rights Council for a second term, despite controversy over the legitimacy of the government.

“The Maldives believes that increasing the human rights resilience of the new and emerging democracies should be a priority for the Council and the entire UN system. The Maldives, being an emerging democracy itself, is ideally placed to contribute to the Council’s efforts in helping human rights promotion in such countries,” read a statement from the Maldivian Foreign Ministry.

President Mohamed Waheed announced that he was extending his term in office past the November 11, half an hour before it was due to expire. The international community has expressed concern and alarm that this has left the Maldives in a constitutional void, including the US, UK, Canada and the Commonwealth, which today placed the country on the agenda of its human rights and democracy arm.

The Foreign Ministry meanwhile said the Maldives had “stood for the voiceless in the international society; for the issues that affect the very fundamental values of human rights yet, hardly get a mention in global human rights debate; and it stood for helping the vulnerable and emerging democracies to cultivate the values of human rights in their societies.”

The Maldives was elected unopposed with 164 votes, alongsi Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) stated yesterday that the country’s re-election to the council in the absence of having a democratically-elected government “is a mockery and sends an absolutely wrong message about the UN Human Rights Council. The credibility of the United Nations can only be restored through suspension of the membership of Maldives from the UN Human Rights Council like Libya in 2011.”

Former Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed, currently UN Special Rapporteur on Iran who was integral to the Maldives’ first election to the council in 2010 with 185 votes – the highest ever – noted the “vastly reduced majority from 2010.”

“There was also competition that year. This year, there was no competition: only four countries stood for the
four vacant seats. So there really was no choice for the General Assembly but to vote for Maldives,” Dr Shaheed told Minivan News.

“Given that fact that an MDP government is likely to be voted in next week, the Council Members will then have in Maldives a very pro-human rights partner, certainly in terms of the debates and votes in the Human Rights Council,” he noted.

“Finally, the Missions in Geneva and New York have been taking reasonably pro-human rights decisions, with the diplomats there using the void in the top in the Foreign Ministry to support pro-human rights decisions,” he said, congratulating the Maldives’ Ambassador to Geneva, Iruthisham Adam “for doing a remarkably good job in representing the flag, notwithstanding difficulties placed in her way by an autocratic

“But having said that, it is ironic that Maldives should now go back on the agenda of CMAG just as it got elected to the HRC,” he observed.


14 thoughts on “Maldives re-elected unopposed to UN Human Rights Council”

  1. Proves that getting a seat on UN HRC is a piece of cake.

    However, millions of Rufiyaa were spent on the Government budget last time in the pretext of obtaining a 'GOLDEN' seat in the UNHR council.

    Human Rights is work is really a scam in Maldives. In the pretext of 'advancing human rights' few individuals are RAISING MONEY and using it to secure jobs, shine their CVs, advance their careers as experts on Maldives, write papers, attend conferences.. etc.

    Its a considerable business that provides for few guys to live abroad in expensive countries. They may not necessarily support MDP or PPM.

    More crisis and chaos in Maldives is of course better - more concern about Maldives, more attention, more money.

    Not a bad career opportunity if you know to exploit a naive small country.

  2. Remember this one from school?

    Circle the one that doensn't belong.
    1. Saudi Arabia
    2. Maldives
    3. human rights

  3. Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam - unopposed members in UN Human Rights council. Need we say any more?

  4. Dr. Shaheed would very well know that last time too, Maldives was elected unopposed. Here is the link for the non-believers

    This year, Jordan pulled out of the race 6 days before the election, making it a clean slate. Until then it was a competitive election. Dr. Shaheed would also recall that in 2010, Iran was one of the five contestants as well, and pulled out much closer to the election, with Maldives enjoying a clean slate and ensuring their election much sooner.

  5. It is unfortunate that someone who is as involved with Maldives’ foreign policy as an ex-foreign minister would blatantly lie and distort facts as Dr. Shaheed has done in this article. For those who have followed Human Rights Council elections in 2010 would know very well that Maldives won the election unopposed whereby 4 countries (Malaysia, Qatar, Thailand and Maldives) were running for 4 seats, as long before the elections, Iran withdrew its candidature.

    In contrast, Maldives was running a highly contested race this year, initially 7 countries for 4 seats. However, few days before the election it was a clean slate where 4 countries (China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Maldives) ran for 4 seats.
    Being a Maldivian, it’s even more unfortunate that some Maldivians themselves do not support the Maldives to be on the Council and rather would mock the Maldives and put it at the same level as countries who execute by beheading, allows limbs to be cut or disallow women to vote or drive?
    It is also important to note that Maldives’ membership in the Council will benefit the common Maldivian more than anyone else, as this membership has since its election in 2010, played a very catalytic role to bring about really bold positive measures in the area of human rights. In fact, this will be the same for Saudi Arabia and China too. Being on the Council puts the right kind of pressure on a government to actually bring about meaningful positive change.

    As a proud Maldivian, I can only wish and hope that Maldivians themselves look at Maldives more positively and are able to look beyond their near sighted political views.

    (As this comment may somewhat undermine the credibility of the article, I do not expect this to be published, but if you do, thank you!)

  6. Even 2010 the maldives was elected unopposed to the HRC. Perhaps the Foreign Minister of the time has forgotten about this key fact. Saudi arabia n china are just from the Asian Group.
    It also has countries like the United States, UK, , Egypt, Pakistan, Algeria, Jordan, Malaysia, Austria, Morocco, France, Switzerland, Cuba, India and Indonesia at any given time.

    Wonder where the void is too. The Ex Foreign Minister also seems to have forgotten that Missions follow instructions sent from the Ministry on issues and hence do not formulate their own positions. Whatever position ambassadors take are those he/she is instructed to take by Male.

  7. Wonder what were the difficulties placed in the way of Geneva mission?
    During Waheed's time the mission was substantially staffed with 3 diplomats operating in addition to the very able Ambassador, restored some of the finances which were earlier cut due to severe financial constraints, has about 5-6 interns during Council session times. If anyone does any research on maldives voting record n positions since february 2012, one would know that there were no changes to maldives' positions on key issues debated by the Council including the resolution on the mandate of Dr shaheed as the SR for iran.
    Perhaps he is referring to the fact that Marc Limon' was let off during the time. That indeed would have "been a great difficulty"!

  8. What were the difficulties faced by the Mission?

    In waheed's time the mission had 3 diplomats in addition to the Ambassador (a record high) restored some of the financial benefits that were previously cut off due to financial constraints, has 5-6 interns during all session times and a BMW car for transport!

    And anyone who researches on Maldives positions in the council would find that since 2012 february there has not been any changes to its positions, including the Resolution on the mandate of the Special rappoteur on iran!

    Perhaps the "difficulty" was that the Mark Limon was let go during 2012. THAT would be a huge "difficulty"!

  9. Dr shaheed, the ex foreign minister is an acedemic without any marketable skills for business. His way to earn a living is by raising funds in the name of Human Rights..

    All the work and heavy lifting is done by Marc Limon who was kept in Maldives gov payroll till recently

    ACC should investigate

  10. It is interesting to see how those who got undeserved promotion in MFA under Dr.Shaheed's tenure as Foreign Minster choose to lie through their teeth about Shaheed under false names. At least have the decency to use your own names, ladies.

  11. Was there not a fat lady as DPR at Embassy short time? Auditor had a case that DPR took government money for foreign allowance more that 10000 pounds with husband and kid . Was on leave in male' or malaysia on holidays instead of doing job. Big mouth and no work - They call her haakaali buruvaali mulhi . ACC reported excess luggage money over 30,000 worth millions in MRF.


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