Mrs Lauza Ali,
Counsellor of the Permanent Mission
of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
At Joint General Debate of the Fourth Committee
(Agenda Item 52: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and
Agenda Item 53: On the Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories)
15 October 2020, New York
Thank you Chair,
- We wish to thank the Secretariat for all the documents and reports under this important cluster. We would also like to express gratitude to the members of the Committee for the remarkable work that has been done during these challenging circumstances.
- My delegation acknowledges and appreciates the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in providing humanitarian assistance to ensure a dignified life for Palestinian Refugees, since 1950, and even more critically since the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year we expressed concern over the alleged misconduct by certain individuals within UNRWA and today, we are pleased to note that measures have been put in place to address these concerns, and that the organization is striving for the highest standards of effectiveness, transparency and accountability, including through the management initiatives being rolled out. We underscore the need for unhindered humanitarian assistance by the Agency to the millions of Palestinian refugees while they await a just and lasting solution and to return to their rightful land. UNRWA’s mandate to provide essential services to them, thereby protecting this vulnerable population and supporting their human development, is especially essential in the wake of the pandemic.
- For years, the Reports of the Secretary General outlined the continued harm and damage to Palestinians, and the restrictions placed on their basic human rights. As we mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, it is disappointing that no real action has thus far been taken to guarantee the rights of Palestinians. The global community has the responsibility to ensure that the resolutions and decisions we adopt are well implemented and respected. Further, we as a global community need to look at the obstacles and barriers in implementing these resolutions and decisions.
- We are deeply concerned by the findings in the Secretary General’s Report, of both human rights violations, as well as violations of a number of international humanitarian laws, putting the lives of Palestinian people living in Gaza at risk. The report points out that Israeli Security Forces (IFS) destroy Palestinian homes, forcefully separates Palestinian families and arrest Palestinians without any form of due process. The report also states that Palestinians are subjected to unfair trials and are tortured while in custody and that non-violent demonstrators have been subjected to excessive force. The blockade imposed on Gaza, with limitations on the movement of persons and goods, including humanitarian relief items, limits the supply of electricity and water, restricts access to medical care and educational and economic opportunities, and has been affecting the lives of Palestinians for decades. In the West Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the plight of the Palestinian people and will continue to further increase their dependency on humanitarian assistance, unless a peaceful solution is found.
- The Maldives reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Palestine and reiterates its unwavering support for the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to a sovereign and an independent state. As we navigate through this pandemic and aspire to build back better, we must redouble our efforts to find a peaceful two-state solution—with Palestine and Israel coexisting side by side—without which, we cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for all by 2030. We believe this two-state solution should be based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, whereby people of Israel and Palestine could live in harmony, respecting and protecting each other’s human rights. To this end, the Maldives also expresses its firm support to Palestine in seeking the international community’s political recognition that it deserves and for Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations.
I thank you.