Justice Shujune elected to UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture for a 3rd time

Maldivian Supreme Court Justice Aisha Shujune Muhammad. (File Photo/Sun)

Maldivian Supreme Court Justice Aisha Shujune Muhammad has been elected to the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT).

The election for the upcoming 2021 to 2014 term was held in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this Thursday.

Shujune won her seat at the SPT after competing with 19 other candidates for 12 seats.

She will be assuming her role as a member of SPT for a third time, since her initial election in 2010 – when she had made history by becoming the first Maldivian to be elected to a UN treaty body.

Shujune served the SPT for two consecutive terms between 2011 and 2018, during which time she was the Rapporteur and the Vice Chair on Jurisprudence.

She has also worked extensively within civil society and the judiciary, in the elimination of torture and the protection of human rights.

The Maldivian Foreign Ministry welcomed Shujune's election to SPT on Thursday evening, stating that the government believes Shujune to be “eminently qualified to effectively contribute to the work of the Subcommittee, given her experience and knowledge.”

The Foreign Ministry said the election also comes at a time when the government has placed renewed emphasis on engaging with international treaty bodies and in fulfilling its international human rights obligation.

“The government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is fully committed towards implementing its foreign policy based on human rights, good governance and respect for democratic norms,” said the Foreign Ministry, adding that the fact that Shujune hails from Maldives’ top court is “a testament to the importance the government places on this election.”

Maldives was one of the original twenty states parties to join the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), and the first state party from Asia. It was also among the first few countries to receive a mission from the SPT and one of the first countries to establish a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under the OPCAT.

The SPT is an international body established by the OPCAT. It is the largest human rights treaty body of the UN, consisting of 25 independent experts.