Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid on Monday briefed the United Nations Human Rights delegation, about the country's advancements after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih took office in November 2018.
Chief of Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch of the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mona Rishmawi, a member of the delegation, met with Minister Shahid at the Foreign Ministry where the discussions took place.
Rishmawi was accompanied by the new UN Senior Human Rights Advisor in the Maldives, Susanne Pederson, Human Rights Officer at OHCHR, Raghu Menon and the National Human Rights Officer, Fathimath Ibrahim Didi to the meeting.
Speaking about the country's recent achievements, Foreign Minister highlighted the government's commitment to upholding, protecting and promoting human rights is at it's strongest. He spoke about the number of initiatives taken during the past year.
Minister Shahid highlighted the ways in which Maldives has reiterated it's Standing Invitation to UN Special Procedures Mandate Holders to visit the country, adding that state also had the pleasure of hosting two Special Rapporteurs, in June 2019 and in November 2019 respectively.
Referring to Article 22 of the Convention Against Torture, he mentioned that Maldives had agreed to the individual complaints’ procedure and is presently in the process of compiling the national report for the upcoming Universal Period Review of the Maldives scheduled to be held in May 2020 during the Human Rights Council session.
He also shed light on the domestic advancements such as ratification of the Child Rights Protection Act, Juvenile Justice Act and adopted amendments to the Decentralisation Act which allocates a third of the seats to female candidates.
In addition, he noted areas that need urgent intervention, including building capacity and human resources and assisting the Maldives with its international human rights obligations and reporting mechanisms.
The Minister assured that Maldivian government is ready to seek collaborations with the United Nations and other international partners, in the promotion and protection of human rights.
As a part of these collaborations and upon Minister Shahid's request made to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2019, the OHCHR deployed Susanne Pederson as a Senior Human Rights Advisor to be based within the UN Country Team in Maldives.
Welcoming Pederson, the Minister expressed his confidence in her ability to assist Maldives in the promotion and protection of human rights. She has extensive human rights field experience in this region, having worked in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Fiji.
Pederson will provide technical expertise in ensuring the fulfilment of human rights obligations of the country. She would also be engaging closely with the government to strengthen Maldives’ adherence to international human rights mechanisms as well as contribute towards further strengthening the legal framework of the country.
Along with the Minister, Dr Asim Ahmed, Ambassador-at-large, Javed Faizal, Additional Secretary, and Ahmed Salman Zaki, Assistant Director took part in the meeting.