OIC Annual Meeting,
His Excellency Dr Mohamed Asim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives
New York, 22 September 2017
بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيـ
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates
AssalamAlaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuh,
We are meeting at a critical juncture, when there is extreme suffering being endured by the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The Government of Maldives condemns in its strongest terms the atrocities committed against the Rohingya Muslim community and in particular the recent cycle of violence that resulted in deaths and displacing many more. As we sit in shelter, Rohingya Muslims are stranded without adequate food, water, and shelter. These people are fleeing in fear of being killed, assaulted or raped. Latest figures indicate that more than 380,000 people have fled and many more will follow.
We call on the Government of Myanmar to respect its human rights obligations under international law, international humanitarian law and human rights covenants. We also call on the Muslim Ummah to take appropriate steps to stop this genocide and ethnic cleansing.
The Maldives has launched nationwide activities to raise funds to help the Rohingya Muslims. Earlier this month, the Government has also ceased all trade ties with Myanmar, until it takes measures to prevent the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims.
The vile actions against Muslims continue to broaden each passing year. The future of the State of Palestine is still bleak. Israel continues to violate international law through the expansion of illegal settlements thereby hindering the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The Government of Maldives calls on the Occupying Power, Israeli, to respect its international obligations in particular to the United Nations Security Council resolution 2334. The Maldives reiterates its call for a two-state solution recognizing the sovereign and independent State of Palestine, based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Our peaceful religion is continuously tarnished by certain groups of people who commit atrocities under the pretext of Islam. Due to this, and the inaccurate depiction of these events in the media, Islamophobia is widespread, and a rift has emerged among our community and the rest of the world. We need to remedy this. Islam is a religion of peace and there is no place for terrorism. We need to stand united in getting this message across through engagement, collaboration and dialogue. And we need to extinguish the negative perception that is gaining momentum.
Terrorism is a global phenomenon, for which preventive action lies in the domestic policies of our own countries. Recognising this, the Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, has ratified legislations to counter terrorism such as Anti-Terrorism Act in 2015, Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act in 2014. These acts enable law enforcement agencies and the prosecuting authorities to specifically address foreign terrorist fighters and those providing financial or material support to terrorist or violent extremist organizations. In addition, President Yameen has also issued the State Policy on Terrorism and Violent Extremism, which led to the establishment of the National Counter Terrorism Centre in 2016 mandated to coordinate the inter-agency effort required to effectively counter terrorism.
The Maldives has always stood by the ideals of Islam. We have promoted peace and tolerance over conflict. We have been, a bridge builder, a moderator- and we believe that these are the values that this organisation should advocate for as well. The issues of importance to our organisation, in the context of peace and security, needs to be brought to the UN through a fresh perspective. This is why Maldives hopes to secure your full support in our first ever candidature to the United Nations Security Council for the term 2019-2020. We count on your support.