Update on the Current Situation in the Maldives (27/02/2018): The State of Our Nation is Strong says Minister Aisthath Shiham
27 February 2018, Ref: 2018-79

Her Excellency Dr Aisthath Shiham, Minister of Education of the Republic of Maldives and the Head of Delegation to the 37th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), delivered a statement today on behalf of the Maldives at the Council. Minister Shiham called on all nations to acknowledge the accomplishments of the Maldives in securing the civil, political, economic and social rights of Maldivian citizens. She further called on the nations of the world to come together to tackle the issues that threaten our global community.

Minister Shiham took note of the HRC’s role in strengthening the systems which guarantee inalienable rights around the world. Given that independent institutions play a fundamental role in ensuring those rights, Minister Shiham highlighted how important it is for the international community to support the Maldives through its current efforts to ensure the supremacy of our Constitution. She went on to note that the Constitution, together with the rule of law, created the foundation for Maldives’ democracy and that home-grown solutions were needed if the country were to heal the divisions pervasive throughout its communities.

In speaking of the reforms planned and currently underway, the Minister reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Maldives to ensure free, fair and credible elections are held. She called on international stakeholders to observe the process of elections, and to continue their support and assistance for our electoral efforts.

In the meanwhile, Minister Shiham emphasized that the job of the Government must continue unhindered. Over the course of the current Administration, significant strides have been made in providing for the fundamental rights of our citizens. The 35% decrease in overall crime, the 11% increase in enrolment in tertiary education, and the provision of new housing opportunities to 38% of the Maldivian population are unprecedented strides that are changing the face of our nation for the better.

Minister Shiham also asked that the global community focus on our most serious collective challenges internationally. She highlighted the situation in Palestine, stating that the “cycle of fear, hatred, and violence has endured so long in that nation, that generations past and present have been affected.” She called for the international community to speak with one voice and acknowledge Palestinian Statehood. She also lamented that when it came to Syria, the voice of the Human Rights Council was “lost in the din of those crying out for some measure of hope.”

She intimated that hope came from Small States, like the Maldives, who spoke truth to power and has led the way on issues like trade, sustainable development and climate change. She noted that “Maldives has spoken ably and loudly. We have changed the course of global discourse and we look forward to continuing to do so in the years ahead.”

Minister Aishath Shiham is accompanied by the rest of the Maldives Delegation, including Minister Zenysha Zaki, Minister of Gender and Family of the Republic of Maldives, Ambassador Hala Hameed, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Mr Javed Faizal, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ms Aisthath Shahula, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission in Geneva.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, on 5 February 2018, declared a State of Emergency by Presidential Decree No. 2018/3, under Article 253 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives.

As per the Presidential Decree, the State of Emergency was enforced in order to protect the peace and wellbeing of all citizens, and the country, and to facilitate investigations following the events that unfolded in relation to the Supreme Court Order No. SC-SJ/01/2018, issued on 1 February 2018, which resulted in the disruption of the functions of the executive power and the State institutions vested with specific mandates under the Constitution, the infringement of national security and public interest, and if implemented, would potentially lead to an undermining of the supremacy of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives.

Despite the declaration of the state of emergency, there will be no enforcement of a curfew; and general movements, services and businesses will not be affected.

 

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