The Honourable Aisha Shujune Muhammad, Justice of the Supreme Court of the Maldives, has been elected to the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment for the term 2021 to 2024, at the elections held today in Geneva.

Justice Shujune won after competing with 19 other candidates for 12 seats. She will be assuming her role as a member of the Subcommittee for a third time, since her initial election in 2010. As the first Maldivian elected to a UN Treaty Body, Justice Shujune served the Subcommittee for two consecutive terms between 2011 and 2018, where she was the Rapporteur and the Vice-Chair on Jurisprudence. She has also worked extensively within civil society and the judiciary, in the elimination of torture and the protection of human rights. The Government believes Justice Shujune is eminently qualified to effectively contribute to the work of the Subcommittee, given her experience and knowledge.

The election of Justice Shujune comes at a time when the Government of Maldives has placed a renewed emphasis on engaging with international treaty bodies and fulfilling its international human rights obligations. The Government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is fully committed towards implementing its foreign policy based on human rights, good governance and respect for democratic norms. The fact that Justice Shujune hails from the country’s highest court is also a testament to the importance the Government places on this election.

The Maldives was one of the original twenty States Parties to join the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), and the first State Party from Asia. We were also among the first few countries to receive a mission from the Subcommittee on the Prevention on Torture and one of the first countries to establish a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under the OPCAT.

The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture is an international body established by the OPCAT. It is the largest human rights treaty body of the United Nations consisting of 25 independent experts.