His Excellency Ayman Safadi, The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; His Excellency Peter Eriksson, The Minister for International Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of Sweden; His Excellency Antonio Guterres, The United Nations Secretary General; His Excellency Philippe Lazzarini, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); Dear Colleagues;  Excellencies; Ladies and Gentlemen;

Assalam Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakaathuh,

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Governments of Jordan and Sweden for convening this important and timely conference in support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Let me also applaud the leadership and staff of UNRWA for their solemn work.

Allow me to recall the establishment of UNRWA seventy years ago, as a relief agency for Palestinians violently displaced amidst terror and turmoil. Today, the Agency’s expanding humanitarian responsibilities continue to cater to a spectrum of diverse needs, with an increasing number of dependents emerging each year. Over 5.5 million Palestinian refugees depend on UNRWA. Without it millions of Palestinian children will be without an education and many more will be without basic health care. The progress achieved by UNRWA so far has been nothing but extraordinary, as is its unwavering effort to reconcile the divide between peace and development.

Over the years, we have witnessed the multiple challenges endured by UNRWA, which serve today as a testament to the resilience of the agency. Yet, the current funding crisis is unprecedent, specially at a time, not only recurring surges of violence  but also the horrifying outbreak of COVID-19 that has plunged millions of Palestinian refugees into a state of total despair. The Maldives is deeply concerned over the resources of UNRWA which are at the brink of exhaustion. These resources are the only  guarantee for the welfare of  our suffering brothers and sisters in Palestine.
Excellencies,
The Maldives reiterates its call for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in accordance with the International Law and respective UN resolutions. While the Palestinian people await a peaceful and just solution in their quest to return to their homes, UNRWA’s mandate is more important than ever.

The international community in its right conscious cannot ignore the perpetual suffering of the Palestinian people, and I would strongly plead that the basic welfare of the Palestinian Refugees should not be subject to indifferences towards the Agency. We must cohesively work together, bound by our moral obligations, to provide financial support to UNRWA and ensure the continuity of its operations. I urge the international community, to contribute towards promoting and protecting the human rights and dignity for which the Palestinian people are entitled to as any one of us. Today, we pledge to do the same.

I thank you.

Madam President,

Madam High Commissioner,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalam Alaikum, and a very good afternoon to you all.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we owe a debt of gratitude to many. To all those who tirelessly worked to uphold the UN Charter; and to the many who continue to uphold the values enshrined in it.

Their noble work has rewarded us, through cooperation and dialogue to embrace a culture of respect and reverence to basic rights and fundamental freedoms.

My country, the Maldives stands as an example. Our re-engagement with the international community to promote and protect human rights, has allowed us to leave behind a painful legacy of authoritarianism and a culture of impunity.

 

Madam President,

Last year, I shared with this Council, the transformative changes that had been brought about with the election of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in 2018.

I spoke of our vision to reinforce our commitments to human rights, and to never go backwards.

Today, I am here to tell you that we have achieved important milestones in our journey.  

I thank our international partners and OHCHR for their support in this journey.

President Solih assumed office in 2018, pledging to prioritise human dignity and the sanctity of human life, to carry out substantial institutional reforms and to pursue good governance in the best interest of our people.

Our re-engagement with our partners globally has been driven by a genuine desire to be a responsible and a respected member of the international community.

In February this year, the Maldives re-joined the Commonwealth of Nations after an absence of four years.

We are extremely grateful for the support we received from member states. It is an honour to be part of an organization that promotes the values we wish to uphold.

 

Madam President,

In September last year, the Maldives ratified the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and signed the Declaration under Article 22 of the Convention Against Torture.

The Maldives has already submitted its notification to withdraw the reservations to Part 1 (b)(e)(g)(h) and also to Part 2 of Article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Further, I am pleased to inform that the Maldives will be ratifying the Convention on Enforced Disappearances in the coming months.

 The Maldives hosted two special procedures mandate holders since then. We look forward to welcome the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression next week.

I once again reiterate the Standing Invitation to all special procedures mandate holders.

The Third Cycle of the Maldives UPR will be held in May this year.

We intend to accept recommendations, and to engage constructively to further strengthen our national human rights framework.

I am also pleased to share with the Council, that for the first time since 2002, there are no longer any cases of Maldivian Parliamentarians before the Committee on Human Rights of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

This significant development denotes the progress we have achieved in the promotion and protection the human rights of Parliamentarians in the country.

 

On the domestic front, several of our legal instruments have been amended and signed into Law last year in accordance to international obligations.

The Child Rights Protection Act now conforms to the CRC. The Juvenile Justice Act raised the age of criminal responsibility to 15 years.  

 

Through recent legislative amendments, we have empowered the Local Councils and allocated a third of all local council seats to female councillors.

We have ensured the independence of lawyers.

We have carried out a comprehensive audit of all the prisons in the country, and we are committed to meet international standards, including the Mandela Rules.

 

Madam President,

The Maldives remains deeply concerned by the plight of the Palestinian people, especially women and children in the occupied territories. We remain steadfast in our support for their inalienable right to self-determination.

The Maldives calls on the international community to collectively and decisively work towards a lasting and meaningful solution to the Palestinian question. 

The Maldives welcomes the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice on the Rohingya people.

The Maldives intends to support the ongoing efforts to secure accountability for the perpetrators of genocide against the Rohingya people, in line with the decision taken by the OIC during the Summit held in Makkah last year.

 

The Maldives Cabinet has now decided that there are strong grounds for intervening in support of the Rohingya people in the case before the ICJ. We will be filing a written declaration at the appropriate time.

As a member of the OIC, let me also thank The Gambia for taking the initiative on this issue.

 

Madam President,

12 years ago Maldives initiated discussions on the ‘human dimension of climate change’ at the 7th Session of the Council. On the 12th of this month, the Maldives Parliament adopted a motion declaring a climate emergency.

Today we are pleased to welcome the UN Secretary General's Call to Action for Human Rights, which recognises the undeniable link between Human Rights and Climate Change.

 

Madam President,

Before I conclude, let me take a moment to sincerely thank High Commissioner Bachelet, and her office, for the support extended to the Maldives in implementing our human rights agenda.

The Maldives will continue to promote and protect human rights of all. We are committed to work constructively with the international community to further advance and build upon the accomplishments we have achieved so far.

Thank you, Madam President.

Acting Resident Coordinator Dr. Arvind Mathur, Cabinet Ministers, Excellencies, Colleagues,

Assalaam Alaikum, and a very good afternoon to you all,

I wish to thank the Acting UNRC for organizing this function to mark the 74th anniversary of the United Nations. While every anniversary is important, next year holds special significance. It will be 75 years since the founding of the United Nations. We will also be marking 55 years since the Maldives joined the UN. At the same time, the Government and the UN will be formulating a new Cooperation Framework that will remain the blueprint for development cooperation between the Maldives and the UN for the next several years.

I would, therefore, like to talk about where we plan to go from here, and how we can work more closely together, to achieve the targets we set ourselves as we embark upon this ambitious new developmental journey of the Maldives. The Government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was elected on the premise of hope and transformation. Revolutionizing the way in which we approached some of the pressing issues in our society. We sought to make our society more inclusive and transparent, and to deliver through on our pledges. Human rights, democracy, climate change, accountability and social justice became our mantra. Being responsive to the needs of the people, and the effective delivery of essential services our objective.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a major priority for the Maldives. I am pleased to note that the recently launched Strategic Action Plan of the Government fully integrates the SDGs into our national development agenda. While the core principle of the SDGs is to “Leave No One Behind”, let me assure you, that the Maldives is presently working to ensure that “No Island is Left Behind”. Just this week, the President signed in to law, the amendment to the Decentralization Act, which will provide financial stability and better access to resources to the Local Councils thereby making our discussions on development, fully inclusive.

With the ongoing reform of the United Nations development system to better support the SDGs, the Government is geared up for the next cycle of the UNDAF – the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework. The new CF, as it’s now called, needs to be more inclusive and participatory, taking into account evidence-based planning and local knowledge in shaping its projects. The CF needs to reflect the realities on the ground, to foster greater civic engagement and be ambitious in its outlook. We need to make sure that lessons learnt from the ongoing UNDAF are adequately addressed in the upcoming CF, to ensure that our commitment is demonstrated not only through policy statements, but through implementation and achievable targets.

This year has also seen the first year of the implementation of the recent reforms in the UN Development System. It is up to us to collectively see through these reforms to its successful completion, so that the UN agencies here in the Maldives and country offices stationed outside, deliver as one. Gone are the days when different UN agencies function as separate entities or have different programmes and priorities. There is only one priority, and that is the Government’s development agenda, and we look forward to the UN Country Team, as one, to collaborate closely with us to realize these goals.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s been 55 years since we gained membership of the UN.  We believed in ourselves to strive for more, to overcome the many obstacles faced by LDCs, to invest in education and healthcare, and to care for future generations. From being one of the poorest countries in the world, to a middle-income country today, we could not have done so without our joint collaboration, without the support and the expertise from the UN Country Team, constantly at our side, guiding us to a better tomorrow.

In a way, the UN ideals of peace, security, human rights and climate change are at this point in time, central to Small Island Developing States. In a world where terrorism, violence and war know no boundaries, there is no doubt that the role of the UN has become more crucial now, especially when seen from a SIDS perspective. While environmental challenges are multiplying by the minute, and large-scale conflicts have the possibility of wiping out decades of hard-earned economic progress, we believe that the United Nations is the most relevant and efficient platform to address these contemporary issues. No country on its own is capable of preventing terrorism, violent extremism and climate change – it requires concerted action by all nations – to promote coexistence and tolerance and to undertake urgent measures to address the climate emergency. Our hope lies in the wide outreach and strength of the UN to bring the nations of the world together, to pursue global solutions to the global challenges we face today.

In concluding, let me express our profound thanks and appreciation to Dr. Arvind Mathur for his leadership of the UN Country Team during these past nine months

I have no doubt that the new Resident Coordinator, will find that this UN Country Team has been looked after well and in excellent health. Let me also thank all the members of the UN Country Team for the hard work and dedication you have demonstrated continuously, which we appreciate very much.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I wish you good health and a pleasant afternoon.

Thank you!

25 October 2019 NAM Summit

 “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world” Madam Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen Assalam Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakaathuh,

 Bismillah-ah-rahman-ah-raheem,

Mr. Secretary General,

Distinguished Ministers and Delegates,

Assalaamu Alaikum and a very Good Morning,

 

Let me welcome you all to the Maldives. This is a country where education thrives; where seeking knowledge is a priority, from the young child to the elderly adult.

Excellencies;

I am truly delighted to be here today, to inaugurate the third meeting of SAARC Ministers of Education/Higher Education.

As everywhere in the world, our people no matter where they are, have always strived to achieve their fundamental rights and freedoms.  Our peace-loving people want social cohesion; to ensure rule of law; to explore economic opportunities; and sustain a decent life; to live in dignity.