Maldives’ UN journey proof small states can contribute to international community: Foreign minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon has told the UN General Assembly that the Maldives journey with the body is proof small states can contribute to the international community.

“The story of the Maldives, is the story of all small states at the United Nations. The Maldives journey at the UN, is proof that with smart ideas, small states can successfully contribute and become significant members of the international community,” said Dunya on the anniversary of the Maldives’ membership.

A press release from the foreign ministry has today described the UN as a “trusted partner and a staunch advocate” of the Maldives during the past half century.

Dunya’s comments were in stark contrast to the previous two appearances by the country’s leaders at the UNGA in New York, during which the Maldives was critical of perceived attempts by the organisation to interfere in the state’s sovereign affairs.

Speaking at the 69th session of the UNGA this week, Dunya noted that the Maldives was the first so-called ‘micro-state’ to seek entry to the UN, and has since been at the forefront of the small state issues, holding the first ever conference of small states 25-years ago and forming the first alliance of small nations.

During its 49 years as a member of the UN, the Maldives has worked to establish recognised links between climate change and human rights, explained a foreign ministry statement today.

Speaking at the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa last week, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – father of the foreign minister – called upon larger nations not to stand in the way of small island leadership on climate change.

“SIDS are ready to lead. Don’t stand in our way,” said Maumoon, representing the Maldives as a special envoy at the conference.

The foreign ministrya also noted that, following the difficult transition from less developed to middle income status nation in 2011, the Maldives has “raised concerns about the criteria used for graduation by the UN as negatively impacting Small Island Developing States”.

The graduation from less developed status was recently described by President Abdulla Yameen as coming with “enormous challenges and hardships.”

As the country’s graduated to middle income status in 2011 – forfeiting access to concessional credit, certain trade concessions, and some foreign aid – Maldivian representatives to the World Trade Organisation accused the UN of ignoring the country’s vulnerabilities.

At the 67th session of the UNGA in 2012, President Dr Mohamed Waheed argued that “small justice is being served for a small state” following the international response to his controversial ascent to the presidency that year.

The following year, it was Dunya’s predecessor Dr Mariyam Shakeela who attacked the UN for what she suggested had been attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the Maldives following the UN’s concern at repeated delays of the 2013 presidential election.

Criticism of the Supreme Court’s role in the electoral process by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was subsequently described as “ill-informed” and “irresponsible” by Waheed, while a report into the judiciary by a UN Special Rapporteur in the same year was described by the Maldives as undermining the government.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement today reiterated, however, the country’s belief that the UN remained the most legitimate forum for globally significant issues.

“It remains the only forum where every nation in the world, big or small, has an equal say,” the statement read.

“Forty nine years ago, the Maldives affirmed our faith in the United Nations; as a shining example of equality, hope and peace, and joined the community of nations to ultimately achieve freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The Maldives will continue on its journey at the UN, providing smart ideas, offering solutions to all issues of global interest.”


4 thoughts on “Maldives’ UN journey proof small states can contribute to international community: Foreign minister”

  1. Small countries are naturally susceptible to kleptocratic rule. Hence the issue of 'size politics' that Doomya raises is a very appropriate and relevant, especially for Maldives perspective.

    Its time also that UN comes up with special safegurads for smaller countries against one group or family rule. Addressing this caveat is important step for democratic consolidation.

    How can it be fair for an entire family to self appoint them as Ministers. Surely that is an issue that the UN needs to address in the interest of all small states.

  2. "the Maldives has worked to establish recognised links between climate change and human rights"

    These people have the nerve to talk about human rights when they can't even respect human rights. It really shows their character, or lack thereof.

  3. This is simply whitewashing or sweeping to under the carpet the ugly face of tiny republic; UN is her buddy to express all her concern about other people outside of Maldives. What about freedom of conscience and thought at home, and the fear that Mullahs are spreading, these are simply gross violation of UN Charter and happily accepted by her Government. Those who are threatening to kill are free and no effort to find them and contain these threats but all efforts are done to find people who simply mock a religion, something they believe is protected by the man upstairs who is all knowing powerful. All killing, drug, and fear mongering people loom free and work within the security apparatus because they are capable of killing and are guardian of religion, but peace loving human rights advocates are threatened with death and are at the mercy of these psychopaths. What hypocrisy….!

  4. I see that Dr Mohamed Waheed the former president has been sent to lead the Maldivian delegation to the present UN General Assembly . I had predicted at the time of the end of his term of office as president that he will be made the permanent representative of Maldives to the UN.

    This prediction was made after a previous prediction was fulfilled that he would join the PPM, Gayoom's political party.

    Waheed being sent to the UN for the present session of the General Assembly may be a prelude to the fulfillment of my prophesy that he will become Maldives permanent rep to the UN.

    More recently I called the Gayoom family the most powerful family in the Maldives. This family's grip on the Maldivian society does not leave a level playing field for others to do politics and Gayoom family rule perpetuates feudalism in the Maldives.

    Feudalism is the antitheses of democracy and leaves the Maldives in the same league as Arab states in the international political arena.

    Meanwhile the stranglehold of the judiciary and the armed forces and their collaboration with each other continues and Maldives does not show signs of having a good civil society, a powerful public opinion and an educated middle class to give the leadership in a race for democracy.

    The island-nation is left to only daydream of a greatness it never had, and never has. Holiday resorts offer to tourists who have money the best of that kind that money can buy. But the people of Maldives have nothing to enjoy from this enterprise and remain too lowly and suppressed to think of democracy, rule of law, the freedoms and the like.


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