23 March 2012, Geneva; The Maldives, Morocco and Mauritius today secured the establishment, by the Human Rights Council, of a new UN Trust Fund which will help Small Island States and Least Developed Countries to more effectively engage with and benefit from the international human rights system. The UN resolution establishing the Fund was adopted by consensus and with 111 cosponsors - a record number for a UN Human Rights Council resolution.
Introducing the draft resolution before adoption, H.E. Ms. Iruthisham Adam, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the UN in Geneva, noted the severe financial, human and technical capacity constraints facing Small Island States, constraints which prevent them from benefiting fully from the international human rights system. She noted that the new Trust Fund would help level the playing field and enable SIDS "to take their rightful place at the very centre of Human Rights Council debates and mechanisms".
The Trust Fund will disburse financial support to SIDS and LDCs for the following actions:
1. Fellowship programmes under which junior staff from SIDS and LDC foreign ministries will be able to undertake three month work-placements in their countries' Geneva Missions.
2. Travel support to help foreign ministry staff from Small Island States to attend and participate in UN Human Rights Council sessions.
3. Capacity-building efforts to train SIDS diplomats in international human rights law and the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms.
Speaking after adoption, H.E. Ms. Dunya Maumoon, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, said: "We hope this new UN Trust Fund will help improve the capacity of the Maldives and other SIDS to participate fully in the international human rights system and to more effectively implement international human rights obligations.
SIDS bring an important perspective to the work of the UN and also have much to benefit from the UN system. Unfortunately they are often held back due to capacity constraints. We believe the new Trust Fund will help rectify this. It is pleasing that a record number of UN States supported the resolution establishing the Fund - an indication of the importance of the initiative. Our common goal is to use this Fund to bring real improvements in human rights protection on-the-ground in SIDS and LDCs".