Geneva, Switzerland;

The 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council commenced at the Palais des Nation in Geneva, this morning. The 36th HRC Session will continue for 3 weeks, concluding on 29 September 2017. This session began with Opening Remarks by President of the Council His Excellency Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, Ambassador of El Salvador. 

At the opening session, His Excellency Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights presented an oral update on the situation of human rights around the world. A number of high-level dignitaries will be addressing the council later today, including the Foreign Ministers of Qatar, Venezuela, Finland, State Minister of United Kingdom and Vice Minister of Bolivia. The President of Cambodian Human Rights Committee will also address the council. The Secretary General of ASEAN, Lê Luong Minh will also address the Council during the first week.

 Similar to previous sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, the delegation of Maldives will actively participate in this session delivering a number of statements around an array of Agenda Items in the Programme of Work. This will include statements for two Panel discussions on the rights of Women and integrating the gender perspective, and Statements for Interactive Dialogues on rights of older persons and the right to water and sanitation, dialogue on right to development, to name a few. Further, the Maldives will also deliver statements on the Agenda Item for Universal Periodic Review of States.

The Maldives as part of Regional and political Groups including the OIC and Non-Aligned Movement, have shared concerns of the human rights atrocities that are escalating around the world and will address some of these concerns as well in its endeavours to promote and protect human rights for all. In this regard, the Maldives will deliver a statement on the discussion on the issue of Human Rights situation in Myanmar, Commission of Inquiry on Syrian Arab Republic, and the Agenda Item on Palestine.

The Maldives priorities at the UN Human Rights Council include women’s rights, children’s rights, climate change and environment, and, rule of law and democracy. In this regard, The Maldives will assiduously contribute and co-sponsor several key resolutions that are a priority to the country.

Her Excellency Dr Hala Hameed, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva will head the delegation of Maldives at the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council. With her, Mr. Salim Waheed, Minister / Deputy Permanent Representative of Maldives to United Nations Office at Geneva, and Ms Aishath Shahula, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Maldives to United Nations Office at Geneva will be part of the delegation.

The Maldives is currently on a mandatory break from the Council in 2017, after completing in December 2016, two consecutive terms as a member of the council.  The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system, made up of 47 Member States, which are responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. 

ENDS.