Statement by the Permanent Representative of The Maldives to the United Nations H.E. Ambassador Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed under Agenda Item 106: Eliminating International Terrorism at the Sixth Committee of the Sixty Fourth Session of the General Assembly, New York
As this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor, at the outset allow me to congratulate you on your election to office. Further let me convey warm felicitations to other members of the Bureau on their election. My delegation is confident that under your Chairmanship, the Committee’s work will be further strengthened.
The Maldives also commends the report of the Secretary-General on measures to eliminate international terrorism. The report, amongst others, serves as a timely and significant conduit in sharing experiences and information.
The Maldives has always condemned terrorism in all its forms. In 1988 an armed aggression by a foreign terrorist organization attempted to threaten the peace and stability that was a way of life for Maldivians. More recently, an improvised explosive device was detonated in a park in the capital Male’ that injured 12 tourists. These incidents remind us of our vulnerability to terrorist attacks and the threat it poses to the democratic values we have prescribed to.
The issue is magnified for an archipelagic small state with limited resources and is further exacerbated by the reality and vulnerability of a maritime border that stretches for almost 800 kms from north to south in the Indian Ocean. The seaborne terrorist attacks on Mumbai have once again brought home the heightened terrorist activities in South Asia. Thus, maritime security is of utmost concern to my Government.
Further in this regard, as an ardent supporter of enhanced regional cooperation, the Maldives has ratified the SAARC Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism of 1987 and its Additional Protocol. The Maldives also is a strong supporter of all initiatives for the protection and security of small states. At the international level, the Maldives, while engaging in the concerted international efforts to combat terrorism, is party to twelve of the anti terrorism treaties.
The Maldives strongly condemns the terrorist bombing of the Office of the World Food Programme in Islamabad last Monday. Once again we are reminded that terrorism transcends border, religion, race, culture and that there is no justification for these atrocious crimes.
While no state is immune from this scourge and while we meet, year after year without results, we fail as a community to attribute criminal accountability to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. The completion of the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism will provide an overarching instrument that would supplement the existing legal regime that addresses specific terrorist activities and bolster international coordination in the global fight against terrorism. Therefore, as responsible citizens of the international community, we cannot underscore the importance and urgency of finalizing the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism that will give a very necessary impetus to the international counter terrorism framework. The Maldives, in this regard, expresses its utmost support to the Ad Hoc Working Group established pursuant to UN GA Resolution 51/210, and commend the Chair Mr. Rohan Perera for his strenuous efforts to facilitate agreement on the outstanding issues. My delegation also joins in the call for the urgent adoption of the draft convention during the current session of the General Assembly.
The Maldives is an ardent supporter of the UN Counter Terrorism Global Strategy; a dynamic effort to address the multidimensional aspects of terrorism and a central force that brings a comprehensive approach to our global efforts. Nonetheless, the Maldives wishes to draw the committee’s attention to the large capacity gaps that exist between countries and the huge economic costs involved in the efforts. For instance, a small state such as the Maldives directs large quantities of resources to combat terrorist activities that could otherwise be directed towards economic and social development. Further challenges arise in meeting the reporting deadlines under the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Hence, it is imperative that the international fight against terrorism is once again further strengthened to serve our common purpose. The Maldives in this regard, wishes to express appreciation to the Counter Terrorism Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for their efforts to build capacity of states
At this stage it is pertinent to remind ourselves of our common goal. The fight against terrorism is a fight to defend the fundamental freedoms and individual liberties that have been carefully passed on to us by our forefathers. It is a fight to protect our collective security. As such the Maldives echoes the call by several States to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law while countering terrorism.
In conclusion, my delegation wishes to express its support to the proposal by Egypt for a high level conference on counter-terrorism and reaffirm our continued firm commitment to combat terrorism.
I thankyou Mr. Chairman.