25 February 2013, Geneva;22nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council opened today, at 0900 hrs at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The Maldives delegation to this Session is led by the Acting Minister for Gender, Family and Human Rights, and Minister of Environment and Energy, H.E. Dr. Mariyam Shakeela. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ms. Dunya Maumoon, also attended the session.

The Council was opened by the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Vuk Jeremic. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay, current President of the Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Poland, Mr. Remigiusz Achilles Henczel, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Mr. Didier Burkhalter also addressed the Opening Session.

In the High Commissioner's statement, she highlighted on the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which is marking it Twentieth Anniversary this year. A High Level Panel will be held at the Human Rights Council, on this Occasion today.

As the Head of Delegation, Dr. Shakeela will be making a statement at the High Level Segment on 26 February 2013, at 1530 hrs. The delegation is scheduled to meet with High Commissioner Pillay, and other bilateral partners to discuss issues of mutual interest during the segment. State Minister Dunya Maumoon will also launch Maldives' campaign for Re-election at the United Nations Human Rights Council, for the 2014-2016, the elections of which are scheduled to be held in New York, at the 68th United Nations General Assembly, in October/November 2013.

Maldives is the smallest country ever to serve in the Council membership, and also currently holds the Vice-Presidency of the Bureau of the Human Rights Council. The Maldives seat at the Council is represented by the Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva, led by H.E. Ms. Iruthisham Adam, Permanent Representative / Ambassador of Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva.