The Maldives is honoured to speak here today, denouncing one of the world’s most prevalent scourges. We do not believe that terrorism could ever be considered as localized to one nation, nor do we believe there is a unitary responsibility for addressing this problem. In all its forms and manifestations, in every avenue and locality where it may occur, terrorism must be condemned globally and a strategy against it must be coordinated globally as well.
My Delegation has previously and continues to condemn the malicious video released recently demeaning Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Maldives is committed to freedom of expression. Yet such freedom cannot be used to insult religion, incite hatred and provoke communal violence. Maldives, however, does believe in tolerance and equally condemns the outburst of violence all over the world in the name of religion. Terrorism, in whichever sense of the word or form, cannot be condoned.
My Delegation commends the work done by various UN bodies and agencies in combatting global terrorism. The Maldives welcomes the report of the Secretary General on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism. In particular, we call for the full implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and further support the recent establishment of the United Nations Centre for Counter Terrorism. The Maldives also thanks the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force for their continued engagement with our country.
The Republic of Maldives firmly believes that the sole way forward is through a renewed focus on the Counter-Terrorism conventions together with the implementation of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Maldives is party to 8 international treaties on counter-terrorism, and is currently considering acceding to the remaining major international counter-terrorism instruments. The Maldives places special emphasis on the creation of one comprehensive convention, whose branches encompass the existing counter-terrorism instruments, and whose shade will more simply and completely protect the generations to come. Given the expanding ideologies linked with extremism, we do not believe that any nation could afford complacency.
In addition to our renewed focus on our global commitments, the Maldives believes in the promotion of preventative and capacity building measures at the regional level. Maldives is party to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and its Additional Protocol. Party to these international obligations, the Maldives reaffirms its full commitment to fighting for justice, basic human rights and the rule of law.
The 2008 constitution of Maldives provides international standards of human rights safeguards. The relevant legislative provisions on combatting terrorism are contained in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1990. However, a new Anti-Terrorism Bill has been drafted and is under consideration to align with the 2008 Constitution.
The Maldives believes that terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, is the scourge of our time. It is a detriment to the social, economic, political, and psychological development of nations and the antithesis to the spirit of our United Nations.
As an island state in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Maldives is confronted with the issue of maritime piracy. In the recent past there has been an upsurge of incidents faced by the country. The rings of organized crime which fund and facilitate terror activities in the region persist and the burden has fallen on all nations to safeguard the doors of commerce and protect the lifeline of the world’s economy from would be poachers. My Delegation is happy to note that the 17th SAARC Summit hosted by the Maldives in November of 2011 took an important decision to initiate work in South Asia towards combating maritime piracy.
Being an inherently peaceful nation with an inherently non-violent people, the Maldives is ever vigilant of ideologies that breed extremism. We have to be aware of ideologies that cultivate hate and thereby foster violence. The Maldives believes that however legitimate a grievance may be, the use of violence to support that political, religious or other ideology can be defined as nothing less than terrorism.
In order to achieve success in this endeavour, Maldives seeks to establish partnerships for sharing intelligence. Only through partnerships and collective understanding can terrorism be defeated.
The cause of piracy, together with other forms of terrorism is often rooted in economic disparity and exclusion. Recognized as a small and vulnerable economy, the Maldives is ever cognisant of the potential for radicalization amongst the destitute segments of our populous. Through focusing on economic, social and educational sectors, development is used as a vehicle to combat extremism. In the education sector, the Government has embarked upon the transformation of the curriculum to incorporate civic education. This is a component that will teach our youth notions of how democratic responsibility goes hand in hand with democratic rights. The Government is steadfast in its commitment to building institutions, civil society, and individual capability through the promotion of the rule of law and the protection of human dignity.
The menace of terrorism is a curse upon all our nations, and it is only through our United Nations that we could universally deal with this global challenge. The Maldives pledges its unequivocal support for the fulfilment of each pillar of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and we look forward to working with your Excellency and the members of the Bureau of this Committee. Let me congratulate you on your election and express my deepest confidence that this Committee will make outstanding progress under your able leadership.