Maldives, as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), has declared that climate justice is “a top priority” to address the impacts of climate change.
Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said this in a pre-recorded statement at the High-level Segment of the 46th Human Rights Council (HRC) Session on Monday.
The Maldivian minister provided an overview of the progress made by the Maldives in the promotion and protection of human rights, both at home and abroad, during his statement.
He attributed the achievements gained by the Maldives, to the foreign policy and development framework adopted by the incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Minister Shahid also briefed the Council of the steps undertaken by the Maldives to tackle major human rights issues in the Maldives, with a particular focus on combating human trafficking, achieving transitional justice, maintaining the rule of law and promoting the empowerment of vulnerable communities.
When the Government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih assumed office in November 2018, the Maldives witnessed the revival of its respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. These guiding principles soon became the cornerstone of the Maldives’ foreign policy and development framework. As a result, we have accomplished numerous milestones in the field of human rights, both at home and abroadForeign Minister Abdulla Shahid, at 46th HRC Session
Further speaking on the implications posed by climate change on the realization of human rights, Shahid emphasised the importance of climate justice to the Maldives, as a Small Island Developing State. He stressed that “no threat is felt by SIDS such as the Maldives as acutely as the climate emergency”.
Climate change infringes on the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including peoples’ right to health, water and housing— all of which are, at present, further jeopardised by the COVID-19 pandemic. While climate justice remains a top priority for the Maldives, this is yet another aspect of sustainable development which is likely to lose substantial progress during the pandemic. Our government understands that we simply cannot afford to halt our investments in climate-resilient infrastructure and biodiversity protection, because our people share a mutual relationship with nature. Our most vulnerable will face increased flooding, food insecurity and displacement if we do not protect our fragile island ecosystems and if we do not continue progressing towards the Sustainable Development GoalsForeign Minister Abdulla Shahid, at 46th HRC Session
Foreign Minister Shahid also reiterated the commitment of the Maldives to deliver on the recommendations received during its Universal Periodic Review last year, during his statement, as well as Maldives’ position on important global humanitarian issues and expressed concern for the people of Palestine and the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.
While the one-month long 46th HRC Session is to continue until March 23, Ministry of Foreign Affair said that Maldives will make 13 interventions under various agenda items.
During the ongoing Session, the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is expected to present a report on his visit to the Maldives in 2019 and the Council will adopt the UPR Outcome Report of the Maldives.
WATCH MINISTER SHAHID’S FULL STATEMENT HERE: