HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
Improving the quality of life of the people of the Maldives has always been the central tenet of government policy. On the back of strident social and economic progress of the last two decades, human rights and democracy have moved to the centre-stage domestically, and this shift is reflected in the country’s foreign relations. The Road Map for the Reform Agenda published by the government on 27 March 2006 expresses a strong commitment meeting international standards in human rights protection.
Over the past two years, the Maldives has acceded to numerous human rights instruments. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Convention against Torture, the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Maldives had previously acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
The Maldives is a strong advocate of a powerful Human Rights Council and has fielded a candidate for election to the UN Committee Against Torture, as one of the promoters of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
Committed to full transparency, the Maldives has also concluded an access agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross to facilitate jail inspection visits, and maintains a close dialogue with Amnesty International. In April 2006, the government issued a standing invitation to visit the Maldives to all special procedures, rapporteurs and mandates of the UN Human Rights Council.
The Maldives is also a supporter of the UN Democracy Fund, and in 2005, began active participation the movement of New and Restored Democracies.
As part of the Road Map for the Reform Agenda, the Maldives is currently working on acceding to the UN Convention against Corruption, with a view to the early adoption of that Convention.