Delivered on 17 March 2016
Delivered by Her Excellency Dr. Hala Hameed, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary / Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva
The Maldives welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this discussion and thank the panelists. We reiterate our steadfast commitment to strengthen multilateral cooperation in the global fight on preventing and countering violent extremism. The Maldives vehemently condemns violent extremism, in all its forms and manifestations, committed by any person, anywhere, on any grounds. We also strongly believes that violent extremism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.
The escalation of violent extremist events across the world, undermines the peace and security of the international community. With the rise of terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), the profound threat posed by their acts has had significant challenges to the realization and enjoyment of fundamental human rights. The Maldives believes this Council therefore, needs to play a stronger role to promote and protect human rights of all people in all parts of the world.
Despite the geographical nature of the Maldives, and perhaps due to it, the country has not escaped the clutches of violent extremism. Just as their followers are spreading in the rest of the world, it is increasing within the small population of Maldives. For a country that relies mainly on tourism for its economic growth, the Government is deeply concerned by the increase of radicalisation in the country, which ultimately may lead to violent extremism. The Maldives is dedicated to protecting not only its nationals but also those who visit our country by implementing diligent security measures and strengthening the legal system in order to bring any potential perpetrators to justice swiftly and efficiently. The new Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015, ensure 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. We have also enacted a Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act. Las month, the President of Maldives has established a National Counter-Terrorism Centre.
As noted in the action plan of the Secretary General, violent extremism often exploits development challenges such as social inequality, further weakening the social structure. The Maldives therefore supports human development and believes it is equally important to address the root causes of violent extremism such as poverty, unemployment, civil unrest, lack of education and gender inequality, as it is to address the crime itself. Education and awareness plays an important role – in this regard, government, civil society, local and religious leaders and the private sector, including with a focus on media, information technologies, and youth – need to be brought together to address this threat, with a view to cultivate respect and tolerance in our societies.
To conclude, the Maldives supports the detailed recommendations of the Secretary General and Human Rights Council Resolution 30/15 and reiterate our commitment to the fulfillment of the pillars of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We encourage international assistance and close coordination to continue with equal vigor in order to eliminate the global threat of violent extremism.
Thank you Mr. President.