United Nations Security Council

Open debate on the Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

Statement by His Excellency Mr Ahmed Sareer,

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations

New York, 14 April 2016

Thank you Mr. President,

My delegation would like to thank the Chinese Presidency of the Security Council for convening this open debate on this critical subject. Acts of terrorism are an issue that is currently beleaguering the entire world, and threatening to shatter the very foundations of international peace and security. Taking into account the alarming increase in the number and lethality of organised terrorist attacks over the last year, it is evident that assertive and expeditious measures need to be taken to eliminate this threat before any more innocent lives are lost.

On behalf of the Government and people of the Maldives, I would like to extend our sincere condolences and sympathies to all the countries, communities and families that have fallen victim to terrorist attacks recently and in the past. It is with great concern that we note the incidents of terrorist activity that now stretch across the entire globe, with increasing frequency. We recognise that some countries may never recover from the physical, social and economic wounds that these attacks leave behind.

Mr. President,

The Government of the Maldives strongly condemns and denounces all acts of terrorism, committed by any terrorist group or individual. Whether indiscriminate or targeted, these actions are horrifyingly misguided; completely lacking basic morality and respect for humanity. Therefore these attacks should in no way be associated with any religion, nationality or ethnic groups. This disassociation must be strictly observed when it comes to making policy decisions, formulating preventative measures, and also in the sharing of information, both domestically and internationally. Failing to do so will not only isolate and unjustifiably condemn a large number of the global population, but will also disintegrate the unity and trust on which the United Nations was built upon. Terrorism is a common threat to all of us, and can only be eliminated through solidarity, mutual trust and understanding.

In that spirit, we all came together almost ten years ago to adopt the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism strategy. Recognising the multi-layered complexities behind the root causes of terrorism, this strategy is supplemented by various Resolutions by the General Assembly and Security Council, as well as initiatives targeting specific aspects of terrorism. The Maldives welcomes one of the most recent of such initiatives: the Secretary-General's Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism which resulted in the Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism, which was held in Geneva last week. It demonstrated that all countries share a united voice in denouncing and condemning violent extremism and terrorism in all forms.

Mr. President,

Even though terrorist attacks are a global issue, the preventative solution lies in domestic action within our countries. We need to accept that no country is immune to this threat, and ensure that there is robust legislation that addresses the root causes and prevents propagation of terrorism. In addition to this there must be effective implementation of these laws, and diligent enforcement. In this vein, Maldives adopted the revised and comprehensive Ant-Terrorism Act in 2015, and commenced numerous initiatives at a national level to prevent the propagation of terrorism and also falling victim to terrorist attacks. This includes the Government's establishment of a multi-agency counter terrorism centre in February this year.

Recognising that cutting off the channels for terrorist financing is one of the most crucial steps in combatting international terrorism, the Maldives had already adopted the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act in 2014. I wish to emphasise the importance of having comprehensive laws on this matter in each and every country, to ensure that no state inadvertently falls victim as a channel of terrorist finances.

Both of these national legislations stem from the landmark Security Council Resolution number 2178 adopted in 2014, which demonstrates the important role that the Security Council plays in the interaction between international and domestic law.

Mr. President,

From the recent attacks that we have seen, it is clear that the methods, strategies and targets for terrorist attacks have evolved over time. Technology, social media and other resources are being exploited not only to plan and conduct these attacks, but for recruitment and public outreach as well. Therefore it is important to ensure that the preventative measures and responses to these attacks are dynamic as well. We must use our collective resources, intelligence and power to ensure that we are always one step ahead until this threat is eliminated. International and regional networking for the sharing of information and best practices would be extremely beneficial for dealing with postmodern terrorism and technology used to commit acts of terrorism.

For instance, although the Maldives gives the highest priority to issues relating to terrorism, it is also important to recognise that the Maldives is a small and widely dispersed island country with limited resources and capacity. We need to recognise that each and every country has unique challenges and vulnerabilities, and we need to ensure that all countries have the assistance that they require to prevent acts of terrorism from taking place on their soil.

In conclusion, Mr. President, I wish to emphasise that we must continue our battle against terrorism with deepened resolve and determination. These terrorist attacks are not aimed only at bringing down buildings, and homes, but also our spirits and hope. As long as we don't allow that to happen, we shall win this war.

I thank you Mr. President.