Bureau members of the South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) met with the foreign Minister of Maldives HE Abdulla Shahid on 17 March 2019 during their visit to the country.
The delegation conveyed its congratulations to the Government of Maldives for restoring democracy and welcomed the positive steps taken by the government to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the Maldives.
The Foreign Minister warmly welcomed the delegation and appreciated SAHRs past initiatives in support of those who fought for democracy and human rights in the Maldives. He said that his Government is fully committed to respecting human rights and the rule of law. In this regard, he has cleared the visits of UN Special Procedure Mandate holders and his government is looking forward to working with them. He also mentioned that he has made a request to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to deploy a human rights expert in his Ministry to assist in the promotion and protection of human rights. He conveyed his government’s commitment to protect the rights of women. He cited the example of his efforts to increase the appointment of women in various embassies at the ambassador level.
Regarding SAHRs concern on SAARC, he acknowledged the importance of SAARC for small countries in the region. However, he also mentioned that the current bilateral tensions between some countries in the region has not helped SAARC and his government is committed to revitalizing SAARC so as to address cross – border issues like migration, trafficking, refugees.