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16th HRC: Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Plenary on the Maldives

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16th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Thank you Mr. President. FORUM-ASIA and the Maldivian Democracy Network [1] appreciate the efforts of the Maldivian government in convening the UPR Standing Committee in the country for the inclusive debate with all stakeholders to solicit the State positions of each UPR recommendation. We look forward to the government maintaining this Standing Committee for UPR follow-up activities with time-bound and measurable implementing plans.

Mr. President, while the UPR recommendations concerning migrant workers largely focused on their right to freedom of religion, we note that the challenges they face are much broader and systemic in nature. In this regard, we call on the government to formulate a comprehensive national policy to protect the rights of migrant workers as well as victims of trafficking, which could allow for registration of undocumented migrants, establish a bureau to receive their complaints and ensure their access to justice for protection and redress. We also urge the government to take genuine and concrete steps in acceding to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW).

Mr. President, during the High-Level Segment of this Council on 28 February 2011, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ahmed Naseem, emphasized that “there are no rights without remedies”. We remain concerned that the Maldivian judiciary has been weak in its ability to provide the very remedies required to enforce a right. In this regard, we reiterate the recommendations posed by New Zealand and the United Kingdom (A/HRC/16/7, paras. 100.33, 100.79 and 100.81) to strengthen the capacity and independence of the judiciary and improve the human rights education of the judiciary and the public. We encourage the government to seek specific technical assistance from the OHCHR with a view to implementing the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Role of Lawyers.

Mr. President, we are also deeply troubled by the fact that de-jure and de-facto discrimination against women are ongoing. The Maldivian government has the responsibility to counter negative stereotypes of women. The government must end its passivity in the face of those who misuse religious ideologies to justify the abuse of women and children.

Finally, while we welcome the progress made in the Maldives during the transition to democracy, the government must take stronger leadership in overcoming the challenges that still remain and have the potential to reverse this progress. Discrimination, hate speech and corruption are among some of the major challenges which the government must boldly and urgently confront. Thank you, Mr. President.


[1]     Maldivian Democracy Network, Press Release, “11 States Recommend the Maldives Improve the Rights of Migrants and 23 States Comment on the Need to Improve on Issues Pertaining to Women’s Rights in the Maldives”, 4 November 2011,


Related Webpages:

16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council: FORUM-ASIA interventions, statements and events

Note: Oral Statement Delivered by Mr. Ahmed Irfan on Item 6: Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Plenary on the Maldives