Statement by Ms. Shiruzimath Sameer, Representative of the Maldives Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly 69th Session, Intervention on Human Rights in Palestine


Thank you, Madam Chair.

We welcome the report of Makarim Wibisono, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, and thank him for his work steering through these challenging and sensitive issues.

Madam Chair,

As the Secretary-General of the United Nations said this week, "there is no hope for long-term stability in Gaza without addressing the underlying causes of the conflict: an end to the occupation." The Maldives has been, and will continue to be, a vocal advocate for establishing peace and stability through a two-state solution. We believe wholeheartedly that the people of Palestine and Israel can live peaceably, side by side. We have hope and faith in the peace process as the only means for achieving a viable solution, one which respects both Palestine's aspirations for self-determination and Israel's for security. We are disheartened to hear that the indirect ceasefire talks scheduled to take place in Cairo between Palestine and Israel have now been postponed.

The Maldives was horrified to hear of the escalating destruction of civilian lives, homes, hospitals and schools during the ground offensive in Gaza these past months. The nations of the world cannot stand on the sidelines while inalienable human rights and international humanitarian law are flagrantly violated in the Palestinian occupied territories. The creation of this special mandate is one positive step towards bringing justice to those whose rights have been abused. But for the Special Rapporteur to be effective, cooperation from all parties are required. We are disappointed to hear of Israel's refusal to cooperate with previous Special Rapporteurs on this issue, and urge the Government of Israel to facilitate this Special Rapporteur's formal visit this year.

Looking forward, I would like to ask the Special Rapporteur about his vision for the implementation of his mandate. While we understand that your mandate is restricted to fact-finding and investigation of alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Palestinian territories, how would you propose that human rights violators be held accountable? We note that a former Special Rapporteur in this role, Dr. John Dugard, has recently joined the call for Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into the situation in Gaza. Do you see any role for the ICC in bringing Israeli violators of international law to justice?

Thank you.