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Maldives: UN expert to visit to assess cultural rights

Dhivehi version

GENEVA (6 June 2019) - The United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, will visit the Republic of the Maldives from 9 to 18 June 2019 to assess efforts to implement cultural rights for all.

“This is the first visit by a UN Special Rapporteur to the country since 2013 and the first visit of the cultural rights mandate to South Asia,” said Bennoune, who is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring, reviewing and advising on cultural rights in all countries.

“I look forward to learning how the Republic of the Maldives understands the realisation of cultural rights, and how it endeavours to implement these rights through laws and policies, especially in the way it respects universal human rights which constitute the framework for cultural rights, and in the way it respects and promotes cultural diversity and cultural expressions.”

The expert also plans to investigate the impact of fundamentalism and extremism on the enjoyment of cultural rights by all and on how people can take part in public spaces and cultural life without discrimination, as guaranteed by international standards.

“Considering the particular situation of the Maldives, I will also assess policies designed to mitigate the threat climate change poses to the cultures and cultural heritage in the Maldives, and how culture and creativity are used to respond to the existential challenges resulting from climate change.”

She will visit a number of islands and will meet central and local authorities, as well as a wide range of people working in the field of culture, including academics, artists and relevant institutions. She will also hold talks with civil society organisations and representatives of UN agencies, enabling them to share their experiences, discuss good practices and identify challenges in the enjoyment of cultural rights.

At the end of her mission, the Special Rapporteur will share her preliminary observations at a news conference at 1.30 pm local time on Tuesday, 18 June, at the Maagiri Hotel, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male. Access to the news conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

Bennoune will present a comprehensive report on her visit to a future session of the UN Human Rights Council.


Ms. Karima Bennoune was appointed as Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights by the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2015. Ms Bennoune grew up in Algeria and the United States. She is Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California-Davis School of Law where she teaches courses on human rights and international law. Her research and writing, including on cultural rights issues, has been widely published in leading journals and periodicals. Her mandate covers all countries and has most recently been renewed by Human Rights Council resolution 37/12.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page: Maldives

For more information and media requests please contact:

Ms. Johanne Bouchard (+41 22 917 96 30 before the mission/ +41 079-752-0481 during the mission) or write to srculturalrights@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Bryan Wilson – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9826 / mediaconsultant2@ohchr.org)