His Excellency Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, Foreign Secretary
At the Sixth Committee
On Agenda Item 109: Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism
8 October 2019, New York
Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
My delegation wishes to extend to you and the distinguished Members of the Bureau our warmest congratulations. Let me assure you of our delegation’s full support and cooperation as the Sixth Committee considers its agenda items during this 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
I would also like to welcome the Secretary-General’s Report under this agenda item. The Maldives further welcomes the establishment of the Working Group within the Sixth Committee to finalize the draft on the comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The Maldives also associates itself with the statement delivered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.
Terrorism remains one of the most complex and challenging global issues of our time, and one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. Encouraged by populist rhetoric, racism and xenophobia, terrorism continues to attack our values of respect, unity, and freedom.
In view of the recent terror attacks on places of worship in our neighbouring Sri Lanka, the Maldives is acutely aware of the disruptive aftereffects of such atrocities in our own country. Let me take this opportunity to extend our solidarity to the Government of Sri Lanka, and our sympathies with the victims and their families. In this interconnected world, an attack on one country can have a knock-on effect on societies around the world. All the more reason why the international community must collectively work together by putting aside its differences, to address the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism.
The Maldives condemns the use of Islam – a religion of peace, to spread fear, hatred and terror. Terrorism knows no boundaries, religion nor race. Most of all, it is innocent civilians that bear the brunt of its devastating impact, may it be a Mosque in Christchurch, a Church in Sri Lanka or in conflict situations around the world.
To intensify our domestic efforts to address terrorism in all its forms, the Government of Maldives has undertaken a review of the existing anti-terror legislation, namely, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015. As part of this review process, the Parliament made a number of amendments to the legislation that would provide our law enforcement agencies and the judicial authorities with the necessary toolkits to effectively prevent acts of terror, and to address illicit financing of terror related activities. Furthermore, the Government of Maldives recently published a list of 17 groups that it considers to be terrorist organizations. We are presently in the process of submitting to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267, the full details of these organisations.
Domestically, the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of the Maldives which was established in 2016, provides a common platform to facilitate the exchange of information and intelligence, and synchronize the inter-agency activities in our efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism. The NCTC, in consultation with inter-agency partners and community stakeholders, recently formulated the five-year National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, which outlines efforts to prevent violent extremism in the Maldives. In addition to this, various programmes are being conducted to enable the community to resist radical and extremist ideologies and to empower communities, especially women and youth leaders. It is the deep conviction of my Government that if we are to prevent and combat the scourge of terrorism, the most feasible strategy is through community-based programmes.
Throughout the world, young people are falling victim to the malicious efforts of opportunists who twist religion and poison their young minds. With the advances in digital technology and social media, no country has been spared. The Maldives was proud to become a supporting country of the Christchurch Call, which we pledged to, last month. We welcome the collaboration between world leaders and technology companies to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. We believe that the establishment of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), is a watershed moment in preventing and responding to terrorist and violent extremism online. My Government intends to participate actively and contribute to these discussions.
The Maldives remains ready and committed to contribute and collaborate with all our international partners to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms. To name a few, the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, China and the European Union continue to provide technical support and expertise through various programmes in enhancing our own national capabilities. Let me assure you, that the Maldives will undertake all efforts as part of a multi-pronged, multi-agency strategy to address comprehensively, terrorism and violent extremism.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.