30th May 2011, Geneva; The Maldives Permanent Representative to the UN today responded to a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the state of human rights around the world by welcoming recent global events which have promoted accountability and justice. She also highlighted the importance of the "Arab Spring" and the march of democracy around the world, while expressing concern at government repression in countries like Yemen and Libya.

Speaking at the start of the 17th session of the UN Human Council in Geneva, Ambassador Adam reflected on "a momentous time for human rights around the world - a time for accountability for past crimes, and a time of hope for new beginnings".

"The flight of former President Ben Ali from Tunisia, the arrest and prosecution of former President Mubarak and his associates in Egypt, the arrest of former President Gbagbo in Cote d'Ivoire, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the recent capture of Rtako Mladic in Serbia all send out a powerful message to those who believe they can violate human rights with impunity. That message is this: that in our globalised, inter-dependent world, those who would trample human rights, deny basic freedoms, and kill in the name of power or greed will ultimately be held accountable. No matter how high their walls, those who violate human rights will be brought to justice.

These welcome developments across different continents are not only important as signals that impunity is, in the end, illusory; they are also important in that, by dealing with the past, by securing accountability and redress, the countries concerned are laying the foundations for a better future.

Those countries, including the Maldives, which believe in democracy, in pluralism, in tolerance, in human dignity and in the universality of human rights rejoice at the current wave of change sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, and express our admiration for the courage of the millions of people who have braved batons and bullets to demand their rights and call for a better life".

Notwithstanding, the Ambassador expressed concern that, in some countries, "governments have chosen to use fear, intimidation, and state-sponsored violence to subdue the protests - a response which not only violates international human rights law but one which is also doomed to failure. The more those governments try to tighten their control, the less control they will in fact have. The Maldives today renews its call for these governments to immediately stop using force, to listen to their people, and to begin genuine programmes of democratic and human rights reforms.

The Maldives remains particularly concerned at the deteriorating human rights situations in Libya and Yemen".

The 17th session of the Human Rights Council will run from 30th May to 17th June. The Maldives is one of the 47 members of the Council.