Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. This year we are reminded all the more of its significance due to the unprecedented global health crisis created by COVID-19.

The Maldives has always remained steadfast in the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, calling for global peace, economic prosperity and sustainable development for all. For the Maldives, the UN has remained a true and reliable partner for fifty-five years since we joined the UN in 1965, soon after independence.

Our journey in the UN has shown that while size may constitute a perennial consideration for small states, we have an equal voice to contribute to the international community. Our track record at the UN is a testament that small states are not only valuable partners, but part of the solution to address the threats facing our world, especially the new and emerging threats of the 21st century.

For 75 years, the UN has stood as the universal body for globalization and multilateralism – a beacon that inspires and drives global solidarity. As we navigate the challenges of our time, in the true spirit of the UN, we have unwavering faith in the organisation, in our pursuit of a better future. Despite the challenges globally, the UN ensures that we are connected, and with mutual respect and understanding, together we can achieve the future we want.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, His Excellency Abdulla Shahid had a telephone conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Her Excellency Kang Kyung-wha, today.

During the telephone conversation held this morning, both Ministers discussed ways of further strengthening and enhancing the existing cooperation and friendship between the two countries. Minister Shahid briefed Minister Kang on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Maldives and the measures implemented to curb the spread of the virus. Minister Shahid also highlighted the economic and financial impact of the pandemic and the present efforts underway to restart economic activities.

The Foreign Ministers discussed avenues to collaborate more closely on issues of mutual interest, especially in the multilateral sphere and within the United Nations. The Maldives and the Republic of Korea share long-standing diplomatic relations, which was first established in November 1966.

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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.

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Secretary of State of the United States of America, Michael R. Pompeo will make an official visit to the Maldives on 28 October 2020.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid today, met with some of the Non Resident Ambassadors accredited to the Maldives. The meeting was held virtually. The Ambassadors of Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, and Yemen accredited to the Maldives, and Deputy Head of Mission of Oman, took part in the meeting.

During the meeting, the Minister and the Ambassadors exchanged information about the evolving situation of Covid19, and enhancing bilateral and multilateral relationships between the countries. The Minister also thanked all the countries for the support extended to the Maldives during the Covid19 situation.

The meeting is an initiative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to cultivate closer relationships and interaction between the Ministry and the Representatives accredited to the Maldives.

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