Her Excellency Ms. Thilmeeza Hussain,
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
At the First Committee General Debate
16 October 2020
Thank you, Mr. Chair,
Let me begin by congratulating you and other Bureau members on your election. I assure you of my Delegation’s full support and cooperation, as you steer the work of this committee in these difficult times.
As we mark the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, the primary objective of this organisation as outlined by the very first Article of the UN Charter — to maintain international peace and security and to remove threats to peace, by peaceful means — continues to be elusive. Worryingly, the global military expenditure is increasing every day. Rather than amplifying our collective discourse on disarmament and non-proliferation, existing safeguards and commitments have been weakened. We must come together as a global community in pursuit of world peace.
We must endure despite the numerous challenges because the stockpiles of weapons, especially WMDs and nuclear weapons, remain one of the greatest threats to peace, security and prosperity of mankind. Total disarmament and non-proliferation must remain integral to the work of the United Nations. The work of the international disarmament regime must be geared towards strengthening dialogue through multilateralism and strengthening existing mechanisms such as the OPCW to address existing inadequacies.
The Maldives is not a manufacturer of weapons, nor do we have any aspirations to become one in the future. We are among the original signatories to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We have remained unwavering in our efforts to strengthen the global architecture on international peace and security. Last year, the Government of Maldives ratified the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the UN Arms Trade Treaty. We believe these instruments are critical for the nuclear non-proliferation legal framework. We urge those states that have not ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to do so as soon as possible, so that it may enter into force.
We welcome the convening of the First Session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction according to the General Assembly Decision 73/546.
The Maldives firmly believes that security and strength are achieved not through the proliferation of weapons, but through investment in the well-being of our people and our environment. We therefore urge to forgo spending billions on weaponries that only creates a false sense of strength and security, and instead, to invest in new challenges such as the eradication of poverty, increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change and the elimination of diseases, including overcoming the current COVID-19 pandemic which has taken lives and livelihoods.
Disarmament is a necessary pre-condition for sustainable development and the promotion of human rights. The Maldives believes that there is an urgent need to further strengthen the existing disarmament regime. We call on all States to adhere to Security Council Resolution 1540 and collectively work towards ensuring the non-proliferation of WMDs. We also call for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and encourage States that have not ratified it to do so at the earliest. We also hope for fruitful discussions on agreeing to a new START Treaty.
Finally, we call upon countries in possession of nuclear weapons to dismantle their weapons and renounce their possession, and come together to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons.
I thank you.