Monday, 16 January 2017

Maldives assume Chairmanship of the Asia-Pacific Group at UN Human Rights Council for the year 2017

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16 January 2017, Male'; As of 1st January 2017, the Maldives assumed the Chairmanship for the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) for coordination in the Human Rights Council for the year 2017 in Geneva. During its tenureship, the Maldives will be leading the second largest UN regional group in the UN system and will deal with issues related to human rights, bringing together voices of the various Asia-Pacific nations. The APG, which consist of 56 members, was previously led by Malaysia in year 2016.

Since its election to the Human Rights Council in 2010 and throughout its two consecutive three-year term tenure, the Maldives has been a leading voice of advocacy for human rights and fundamental freedoms, spearheading important initiatives in the Council. The decision to integrate human rights promotion fully into the country’s foreign policy in 2004 has propelled the Maldives to undertaking key responsibilities at the core of the global human rights discourse. The 2017 leadership role of the Asia-Pacific Group for the Human Rights Council will serve to be an extension of Maldives’s commitment to international human rights issues.

During its initial election to the Human Rights Council in 2010, the Maldives was the smallest country to occupy the seat. This position has influenced the Maldives to represent the voiceless, the marginalised, and the smallest countries that were on the periphery of the international arena. Today, the Maldives takes pride that it has created a voice of the small island developing states (SIDS) within the Council. The Maldives will continue to advocate for the voices of small island states to be heard in the halls of the Council while taking on the important role of the Chair for the Asia –Pacific Group.

 The Maldives, through national and international efforts, has undertaken several measures to strengthen its commitments to improve national and international human rights issues. With the position of Chair, the Maldives hopes to further strengthen engagement with the international

human rights mechanisms and support the progressive implementation of international human rights law and standards in the various Asia-pacific regions.

For the year 2017,the Maldives will take on key responsibilities focused on coordinating Human Rights Council related matters with the APG Member States. Primary responsibilities include organizing and chairing meetings with the entire Asia Pacific Group at the request of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, HRC President and Bureau, Working Groups, or Treaty Bodies, attending organizational meetings, circulating correspondences and acting as mediator in situations of disputes.

The Maldives’ 2017 chairmanship will also serve to be a valuable opportunity for the island nation by providing a platform for increased engagements with other Asia-Pacific countries. The Maldives looks forward to working with other APG nations in creating shared goals and meeting expectations of shared responsibility to expand the development of global human rights and combat human rights violations.

The delegation administering the Chairmanship of the APG is led by Her Excellency Dr Hala Hameed, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations at Geneva. She will be supported by Mr Jeffrey Salim Waheed, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations at Geneva, and Ms Aishath Shahula, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission. This role as APG Chair highlights the Maldives continued activism and leadership in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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