March 09, 2018
The Maldives has firmly responded to the Joint Statement delivered by United Kingdom on behalf of primarily the European Union and other Western countries at the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva yesterday. The Right to Reply from the Maldives in response to the Joint Statement was delivered at the Council by H.E Dr Hala Hameed, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva.
Ambassador Hala in her statement described the joint statement as “unwarranted and unconstructive” and further elaborated on the issue of corruption at the highest levels of the Supreme Court and that the declaration of 1st February 2018 was primarily because the Bench of the Supreme Court was beyond any measure of Constitutional accountability.
She underlined that the concerns regarding the Supreme Court was first raised in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, who conducted a visit to the Maldives in 2013, and adding that at that time United Kingdom and the European Union, supported the conclusions of that report.
Further she made a reference to the OHCHR statement released on May 2015, and Ambassador Hala stated that it had then referred to the judiciary to be “politicized, inadequate and subject to external influence”.
Ambassador Hala also pointed out the factual inaccuracies in the joint statement in response to the assertion made on Maldives non-engagement with High Commissioner’s Office or the Council’s mechanisms. In this regard, she stated that in the past four years alone, the Maldives had hosted six visits by the High Commissioner’s Office including a recent visit. Highlighting that ‘the most recent visit, by senior officials of the High Commissioner’s Office, less than three weeks ago – in fact, during the State of Emergency’.
She further added that the Maldives has also submitted no fewer than nine communications to the various mechanisms of this Council in the past three years alone and hosted a total of seven special procedures mandate holders, with discussions on-going for future visits of two Special Rapporteurs in 2018.
Acknowledging that much work is required for the Maldives to strengthen its democratic institutions, to enhance capacity and to foster a culture of respect for human dignity and liberty, she stated that ‘it would be completely unfair to judge the Maldives against the standards as envisaged by the United Kingdom and the European Union, and as practiced in those countries’.
Ambassador Hala concluded the statement emphasizing the readiness of the Maldives to engage in constructive dialogue with OHCHR and the various mechanisms of this Council.