Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid addressed the High Level Segment of the Fortieth Session of the Human Rights Council on Monday, emphasising on the democratic change the Maldives is presently going through, with the new government having assumed office on November17, 2018.
Minister Shahid said that the Maldivian people has said “No to authoritarianism, and Yes to democratic values, Yes to fundamental human rights and Yes to freedom of assembly and expression.”
Speaking at the council, Minister Shahid highlighted President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s vision to bring transformative change to the Maldivian society where respect for human rights is a way of life. Minister Shahid further commented on the rights enshrined by different laws and reiterated the commitment to bring about positive change.
“One of my last acts ending my 25-year career as a member of parliament was to annul the draconian Anti-Defamation Act, which was brought in by the previous government,” elaborated Minister Shahid.
The Foreign Minister said, “During the last five years, a journalist Mr Yameen Rasheed was brutally murdered, and another Mr Ahmed Rilwan disappeared. To bring the perpetrators to justice, President Solih has established the Commission on the Investigation of Murders and Disappearances to scrutinise allegations of murder and involuntary disappearances".
Moreover, Minister Shahid also spoke about climate change and its adverse impacts on Small Island Developing States, stating that it was a violation of basic human rights and reassured the international community of the Maldives' ongoing engagement on this issue.
The minister also highlighted the ongoing violation of human rights in Myanmar and called for the recognition of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.
In concluding his statement, Minister Shahid reiterated Maldives' strong commitment in sustaining democracy and in the promotion and protection of human rights.