During the meeting, Ambassador Ahmed explained that the Maldives had been on the UN Human Rights Council twice before, the last time being in 2016. He emphasized that with this experience the Maldives intended to represent the interests of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with a special focus on environmental sustainability. Ambassador Ahmed also pointed out that, with seven candidates vying for four regional seats, the race had become increasingly competitive. The Maldives, he added, had a holistic view of human rights that incorporated issues of youth and gender.
It was made clear that the Maldives regarded itself as having a certain affinity with OECS Member States based on the common challenges faced in terms of SIDS status and the climate change vulnerabilities, and Ambassador Ahmed emphasised that the Maldives believed in inclusivity in major international organisations.
Ambassador Murdoch explained that one of the core functions of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre that established the OECS was to achieve coordination of the foreign policies of the Member States, including agreement on joint support for various candidacies where possible. He agreed to refer the matter to the OECS Authority for consideration and for discussion by the Member States, with the objective of arriving at a possible consensus prior to the election to the UNHRC which will take place in New York in October 2022. Other candidate countries for the four regional Asian seats include South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.
Both ambassadors agreed to stay in touch regarding ongoing developments in relation to the competing candidacies.