Remarks by Her Excellency Sheryna Abdul Samad, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs at the High-level Segment of the 55th Session of the Human Rights Council

Mr. President,

High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, allow me to extend my heartfelt congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your election as the President of the Human Rights Council. You can count on the Maldives’ full support.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In a world fraught with multiple challenges and a crisis in confidence of the multilateral system, now is the time that our resolve must be strongest. We owe it to the global community to strive for a better and more equitable world. A just world. And a world where human rights are protected.

We must prioritize purposeful action. We must avoid any complexities that may divert us from our shared objectives.

Mr. President,

Under the leadership of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, the Maldives is committed, to upholding human rights, environmental sustainability, and good governance.

The Government has set out on an ambitious agenda and initiated significant reforms.

The Judicial Service Commission will be restructured to ensure a more independent judiciary.

Our legislative agenda is broad, and we intend to amend the Maldives Health Services Act to enhance preventative care, introduce a mental health bill and a bill to establish a legal framework on housing.

We have established an Office for Civil Rights within the Attorney General's Office - representing a pivotal advancement in safeguarding the civil rights of the people of Maldives.

Mr. President,

Central to our agenda is the empowerment of women. We have unveiled a 100 million Maldivian Rufiyaa loan program, with 25% reserved for women with disabilities, to bolster female entrepreneurship. This initiative is part of our broader strategy to ensure gender equality in business and solidifies a commitment to fulfilling key promises that enable women to lead rewarding and dignified lives.

The Government of Maldives also believes that adequate housing is a cornerstone of living a dignified life. This is why we are committed to addressing the longstanding housing crisis. We are pioneering the development of a ‘Safe Island’- Ras Malé - a short distance from our capital city. The island will be a 'Net Zero Carbon Eco City’. This innovative model city will revolutionize the urban landscape of the country and provide 65,000 housing units, addressing housing challenges in the greater Male’ region.

In promoting disability inclusion, we are integrating 500 accessible housing units exclusively for persons with disabilities, ensuring employment opportunities in the civil service, and establishing a National Register for Special Needs.

We have also launched the 'Ufaavehi' programme to provide a family for children under state care.

And our commitment to mental health support is underscored by the deployment of community therapists and establishment of a 24/7 helpline.

Mr. President,

Climate change is a challenge that transcends national borders and interests. It is a challenge that not only threatens our lives and livelihoods but the realisation of our human rights too. It is a global emergency that demands a unified and decisive response.

In the Maldives, we have taken bold and proactive steps to mitigate this threat. We are committed to undertaking ambitious climate action. We will increase the contribution of renewable energy to 33% of the country’s electricity mix, establish biosphere reserves, plant five million trees for resilience, and implement vertical farming for food security.

Mr. President,

The Government is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. We are committed to upholding our international obligations and ensuring that there is a culture of respect for human rights values. We are committed to engaging with international human rights instruments and being a responsible member of the international community.

In this regard, let me reaffirm the standing invitation to all UN special procedures mandate holders. We look forward to engaging constructively in the promotion and protection of human rights in the Maldives.

Mr. President,

While we call for greater collaborative international action, the situation in Gaza remains a glaring testament to our collective failure. The rights of those under attack are being eroded daily. We join the wider international community in calling upon Israel to immediately cease its attacks in Gaza and establish an immediate ceasefire. We urge Israel to comply with all provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice and adhere strictly to international law and international humanitarian law.

We commend and support UNRWA for providing lifesaving assistance and persisting under very difficult circumstances. The Maldives urgently calls upon the global community to increase funding for UNRWA to support its mission.

The Maldives stands with the people of Palestine. This is why we have decided to intervene in the upcoming case at the ICJ. We believe that a just and lasting solution can only be achieved through the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State, based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Mr. President,

As a proud member of the Human Rights Council, the Maldives reaffirms its commitment to meeting all human rights obligations and ensuring the realization of human rights for all our people.

I thank you.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fathulla Jameel Building, Malé, 20077, Republic of Maldives, | Tel Number: 00960 332-3400  |  Emergency Contact: 00960 798-3400