Statement by H.E. Dr. Mariyam Shakeela, Minister of Environment and Energy and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the OIC Annual Coordination Meeting of Foreign Ministers
Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
Assalam Alaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakaatuh!
The Maldives is deeply concerned about the grave violation of human rights and escalation of violence in various parts of the Muslim world. Wherever it is, we cannot allow them to continue.
The Maldives strongly condemns the denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the use of ‘collective punishment’ on the population in Gaza. The Maldives reaffirms its commitment towards the rights of all Palestinians to freedom, justice, dignity and an independent and contiguous state. We fully support the position on a two state solution, Palestine and Israel living side-by-side on the basis of pre-1967 borders, and with Jerusalem as the shared Capital of the two states.
The Maldives calls for the blockade on Gaza to be lifted and to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people due to the economic sanctions imposed by the occupying power. We also condemn the building and construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories, which is contrary to international law. Furthermore, we fully support Palestine’s application for full membership at the United Nations as we believe that this will provide the Palestinian people with access to the full set of multilateral tools to further their development goals and political aspirations.
The Maldives commends the ongoing round of Israel-Palestine peace talks brokered by the United States, which once again gives the Islamic Ummah a glimmer of hope after a three-year standoff.
The Maldives is appalled by the UN expert team’s finding that chemical weapons were used on a large scale in Syria, resulting in numerous causalities, including many women and children. We condemn this gross violation of international law in the strongest possible terms and we call upon all concerned to hold accountable those who are responsible for this crime against humanity.
The Maldives welcomes the commitment made by the Syrian government to formulate a framework for the elimination of chemical weapons in the country. We believe that OIC and the international community as a whole has a responsibility to ensure that chemical weapons can never be used as an instrument of warfare. We call on both sides involved in the Syrian conflict to immediately cease violence and make way for a peaceful settlement.
The Maldives is deeply concerned by the continuation and rising trend of Islamophobia and the systematic defamation of Islam as well as discrimination against Muslims in various parts of the world. We, as Member States of OIC, should stand unified against all such activities and take effective measures against acts of Islamophobia. The Maldives calls for more awareness about religious beliefs, and increased engagement by all members on interfaith and intercultural dialogue to promote tolerance. We encourage leaders to discuss within their communities the causes of discrimination, and develop strategies to counter those causes. We should speak out against intolerance, including advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence; we should adopt measures to criminalize incitement of imminent violence based on religion or belief; and we should also recognize that the open, constructive and respectful debate of ideas can play a positive role in combating religious hatred, incitement and violence.
The Maldives expresses grave concern over violence and the violation of human rights against Muslim minorities in any part of the world and we urge the Islamic community to continue following up on the situation of Muslim communities and minorities and to express solidarity with them.
As a final note, I would like to bring to the attention of our Muslim brothers and Sisters, Maldives’ candidature for re-election to the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2014-2016. As you are aware, the Maldives as a moderate Islamic country has played an important role in promoting the fundamental values of human rights for the voiceless in the international community, during its three year tenure at the Council. We have stood up to help vulnerable and emerging democracies to cultivate the values of human rights in their societies. Hence, we request the support of our friendly nations here in our bid for re-election to the Council and hope for the endorsement of OIC for our candidature.
I wish you all and the Islamic Ummah a future of peace, harmony and prosperity.