Delivered on 10 March 2016

Delivered by Ms. Rishfa Rasheed, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Thank you Mr. President,

The Maldives thanks the Special Rapporteurs for their presentation today and takes notes of their reports. We would like to focus our statement on the report of the Special Rapporteur on Countering Terrorism, which emphasizes on combating violent extremism and radicalisation.

Let me begin by stating that the Maldives vehemently condemns all acts, methods and practices of violent extremism, and terrorism, in all its forms and manifestation, committed by any person, anywhere, on any grounds.

As noted in the report of the Special Rapporteur, a clear definition of ‘violent extremism’ has still not been formulated. In different countries, and even within the UN, the definition is at best, ambiguous. Therefore, the Maldives believes it is very important not to use the two terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘violent extremism’ interchangeably, either nationally or internationally.  We do agree that radicalization process adopts violent extremist ideologies which, at times, may lead to acts of terrorism. 1.15

Mr. President

Violent extremism has dug its claws into the soils of Maldives, just as it did the rest of the world. The Government is committed to suppress any threats of violent extremism to the population, including the tourism industry in the country. According to the new Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015, it is a serious criminal offense for any Maldivian to travel to fight in terrorist wars on foreign soil or engage in any acts of terrorism. The Maldives has also enacted a Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act. Just recently, the President of Maldives has established a National Counter-Terrorism Centre.

We have also joined the coalition with other states to build partnerships to address this menace. Incidents across the globe had proven time and again that violent extremism is not a national or a regional threat anymore. It is a global threat that is spreading fast, day by day. Measures to counter terrorism need to be strengthened among countries and focused to effectively counter violent extremism. .22

Mr. President

Violent extremism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. As a country where Islamic faith defines most aspects of life and culture, we have always maintained a policy of moderation and openness. The Maldives has repeatedly and continuously condemned any acts of terrorism in the name of Islam. Nor should an entire faith be blamed and targeted negatively for the despicable acts of a group of persons. However, Muslims across the world are being targeted as either extremists or terrorists. Islam is a religion of peace. It is also the responsibility of this Council to prevent any discrimination, solely based on the possibility that belonging to a specific religion could lead one to violent extremist activities.

To this effect, it is imperative that we build a society that is tolerant of the differences of opinions between its people. A society that cultivates a culture of respect among its people. Respect for human rights, respect for each other and respect for the difference of opinions. This can only be achieved and sustained by strengthening our education system, creating awareness and enhancing the good relations that exist between our people.

To conclude, let me reiterate that the Maldives remains strongly committed to enhance and strengthen our efforts, and work with our international partners, to prevent and counter violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.

Thank you Mr. President.