Maldives bags a seat at UNHRC for the third term

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Maldives is one of 14 countries elected by the United Nations General Assembly to the UN Human Rights Council for the 2023-25 term.

At the election held at the UN headquarters in New York, the U.S, it won 154 out of a total of 189 votes, according to UN WebTV.

Candidates are divided into five geographical regions, with the Asia-Pacific being the most competitive. Maldives competed in the Group of Asia-Pacific States, for one of the 4 vacant seats.

After the results were announced, Abdulla Shahid, former President to UNGA and Foreign Minister Maldives, in a statement via twitter said, “the international community has once again demonstrated trust in President Ibu Solih’s robust foreign policy. Our membership at UNHRC will be guided by the core pillars of our foreign policy – human rights, democracy and good governance, and climate action.”

President Solih also congratulated Abdulla Shahid and the entire team for bagging the seat. He expressed that it is an extremely proud feat achieved by the Maldives.

The 13 other members elected are: Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Romania, South Africa, and Sudan.

The island nation served as a member of UNHRC for two conservative terms, from 2011 to 2016. Members serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms. The new members will start their terms on January 1, 2023.

The Crackdown on Human Rights: If Maldives had contested in 2017, it would not have won. Had there been no such criteria that a member is not eligible for immediate re-election after consecutively serving for two terms, then Maldives still wouldn’t have made it. This is because Maldives at that period experienced the worst downfall under a dictator rule.
Things like:
• Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
• Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
• Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
• Denial of Fair Public Trial
• Political Prisoners and Detainees
• Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: Freedom of Speech and Press
• Violence and Harassment: Authorities allegedly attacked, harassed, and intimidated media representatives.
• Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
• Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
• Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

Also, after calling it quits from the Commonwealth and the criticism thrown by many international spectators on Maldives degrading human rights condition under Abdulla Yameen’s regime, this really is a historic achievement. Though there’s so much room to work on, this feels like a step closer to the goal.