Human Rights Commission of the Maldives

Introduction to Human Rights system

Human Rights System is a system established by the United Nations for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. For that U.N has developed a wide range of international human rights standards and norms, as well as mechanisms to promote and protect those rights. To achieve international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms U.N established a treaty body system which encompasses nine major treaties which are being monitored by committees of independent experts. When a country ratifies any of these treaties (conventions), the State is obligated to implement what the convention recommends by adapting the convention into domestic laws of the State. Upon ratification of a treaty, the committee of experts on that specific treaty supervises the State and the states will be accountable to international authorities for domestic acts affecting human rights. The treaty standards are the benchmark for assessment and concern.

What are the treaty bodies?

The human rights treaty bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties. They are created in accordance with the provisions of the treaty that they monitor.

The human rights treaty system encompasses nine major treaties:

  1. The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (Ratified)
  2. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) (Ratified)
  3. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) (Ratified)
  4. The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)(Ratified)
  5. The Convention Against Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)(Ratified)
  6. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (Ratified)
  7. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (Ratified)
  8. The International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) (Not Ratified).
  9. The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) (Not Ratified)

Information on the conventions Maldives is party to

Core Conventions

Optional Protocols

Human Rights Treaty Bodies (Committees)

  • The Human Rights Committee (CCPR) monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and its optional protocols.
  • The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).
  • The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965).
  • The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) and its optional protocol (1999).
  • The Committee Against Torture (CAT) monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (1984).
  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and its optional protocols (2000).
  • The Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990).
  • The Committee on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006).
  • The Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED) monitors implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2006)

What do the treaty bodies do?

The treaty bodies perform a number of functions in accordance with the provisions of the treaties that created them. These include:

  • Consideration of State parties' reports
  • Consideration of individual complaints or communications
They also publish general comments on the treaties and organize discussions on related themes.

Consideration of State parties' reports

When a country ratifies one of these treaties, it assumes a legal obligation to implement the rights recognized in that treaty. But signing up is only the first step, because recognition of rights on paper is not sufficient to guarantee that they will be enjoyed in practice. So the country incurs an additional obligation to submit regular reports to the monitoring committee set up under that treaty on how the rights are being implemented. This system of human rights monitoring is common to most of the UN human rights treaties.
To meet their reporting obligation, States must report submit an initial report usually one year after joining (two years in the case of the CRC) and then periodically in accordance with the provisions of the treaty (usually every four or five years). In addition to the government report, the treaty bodies may receive information on a country's human rights situation from other sources, including non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, other intergovernmental organizations, academic institutions and the press. In the light of all the information available, the Committee examines the report together with government representatives. Based on this dialogue, the Committee publishes its concerns and recommendations, referred to as "concluding observations".

Consideration of individual complaints or communications

In addition to the reporting procedure, some of the treaty bodies may perform additional monitoring functions through three other mechanisms: the inquiry procedure, the examination of inter-state complaints and the examination of individual complaints.
Four of the Committees (CCPR, CERD, CAT and CEDAW) can, under certain conditions, receive petitions from individuals who claim that their rights under the treaties have been violated.

General Comments

The Committees also publish their interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general comments on thematic issues or methods of work.