Maldives declared climate justice as a top priority at the high-level segment of the 46th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC).
Addressing the session via a pre-recorded message, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid spoke of the implications posed by climate change on the realization of human rights, stressing the importance of climate justice to Maldives as a Small Island Developing State.
Additionally, the Minister provided an overview of the progress made by Maldives in promoting and protecting human rights, both within the country and abroad. He attributed these achievements to the foreign policy adopted by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Shahid highlighted the recently rectified Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and gave firm assurances on Maldives' commitment to delivering on the recommendations received during its Universal Periodic Review in 2020.
Moreover, he stated that the standing invitation extended to the Special Procedures Mandate Holders remained open and welcomed all future visits.
In addition to this, the Foreign Minister spoke to the council of the steps undertaken by the government to address major human rights issues in Maldives, particularly focusing on tackling human trafficking, achieving transitional justice, maintaining the rule of law and promoting the empowerment of vulnerable communications.
Speaking of the challenges faced due to the ongoing global pandemic, Shahid noted the importance of prioritising the values of human rights in recovery efforts.
Concluding his address, the Minister reiterated Maldives' position on important global humanitarian issues and expressed concern for the people of Palestine and the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.
The high-level session kicked off 2021's first HRC session on February 22 and it is to be held in a hybrid format in order to allow extensive participation during the pandemic.
Maldives is expected to make 13 different interventions under various agenda items during the session which will conclude on March 23.
During this years Session, the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is slated to present a report based on his visit to Maldives in 2019 and the Council will adopt the UPR Outcome Report of the Maldives.