The third cycle of the Maldives’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) commenced today during the 36th Session of the UPR Working Group at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Maldives is represented at the review, by a high-level delegation headed by His Excellency Ibrahim Riffath, Attorney General of the Maldives. The delegation also comprises of cabinet ministers, senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office and His Excellency Dr. Asim Ahmed, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva and officials from the Permanent Mission.

A total of 97 UN Member States delivered statements during the review, of which a large majority commended the goodwill demonstrated by the in the promotion and protection of human rights and presented their recommendations for the Government’s consideration. Most Member States noted the progress achieved by the Maldives in the areas of judicial and democratic reform; advancement of women’s rights and gender equality; improvement in health services; regularization of migrant workers and the re-engagement with the International Human Rights Treaty Bodies.

In response to the interventions from the floor, Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to ensure the delivery of a safe environment in a rights-based society to the people of Maldives to enjoy freedom and dignity. Following Attorney General Riffath’s intervention, Minister of Home Affairs Sheikh Imran Abdulla highlighted the Government’s efforts to build a more tolerant society, to combat all forms of radicalization and to strengthen mutual respect and understanding among the population. Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services Aishath Mohamed Didi briefed Member States on Government’s unified vision for the Maldivian social sector which is captured in the Strategic Action Plan that identifies realistic and strategic targets to enhance the existing social protection system in the Maldives. She then emphasized on the Government’s ongoing work to eliminate all forms of child rights violations. Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail also outlined the Government’s nationwide regularization programme that is continuing despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In his closing remarks, Ambassador Asim assured Member States of the importance placed by the Government on the UPR process and expressed hope for the continued support of the international community in fulfilling the Maldives’ human rights obligations. All interventions by the Attorney General and Ministers were delivered via pre-recorded video.

The UPR is a State-driven process under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council aimed at improving human rights situations in all countries, and also addressing violations of human rights wherever they may occur. The UPR Working Group holds three sessions per year. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Working Group is holding two sessions this year with the opportunity for delegations to participate online. The Third Cycle review of the Universal Periodic Review began in 2017 and will conclude on 2021.