Delivered on 14 March 2017

Delivered by H.E. Dr Hala Hameed, Ambassador | Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Mr. President,

My delegation welcomes the distinguished panellists and thanks them for their insights in this imperative issue.

Mr. President,

International humanitarian law and international human rights law need to be adhered to; in war and in peace. As attacks continue to take place on Aleppo city and other territories around the parameters of declared cease fires in Syria, the innocent civilians are the ones left paying the ultimate price of warfare with their lives.

Since the beginning of 2016, several hospitals, markets, local shops, and even schools have been demolished. This has led to limited or no access to water, food, and vital supplies for children and infants, in addition to the loss of their homes for those living directly within the war zones.

Mr. President,

It is disheartening to see that children continues to be the most vulnerable group to violations and disappearance in this horrific violence. Many children end up getting recruited to fight, others are enslaved and sexually abused and others just vanish from existence altogether. It is because of this unsettling reality, that proper housing for children in shelters has to be the top priority in ensuring their safety.

Last year the Special Envoy for Syria Stefan De Mistura stated that without action, “Aleppo will not be there anymore” by the end of the year. Political negotiations on the issue of the Syrian war need to be stepped up.

Mr President,

The attacks against humanitarian aid workers and personnel are extreme violations of the protected status they possess under international humanitarian law and deserve urgent attention within the United Nations Security Council. It is very simple. The civilians of Syria cannot receive help if those who help are at risk of losing their lives.

With human rights violations at the heart of the Syrian crisis, the international community must ACT now and the Maldives join the call for an immediate end to violence; release of political prisoners; impartial investigations to end impunity, ensure accountability and bring perpetrators to justice; and reparations for the victims.

Thank you.