Delivered on 20 March 2018

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

Thank you, Mr. President,

The Maldives aligns with the statement delivered by Pakistan on behalf of OIC.

The Maldives thanks the members of the Council, and the OHCHR for their continuous efforts to raise attention and call for greater accountability for the atrocious crimes that are being committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Furthermore, my delegation reiterates its position to fully support the retention of Agenda Item 7, in the work of the Council.

The Maldives believes that it is this Council’s moral obligation, as global citizens to consider this on-going humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Territories, and to find a meaningful avenue through dialogue and targeted measures, to address the human rights violations.

We have stated repeatedly, in this Council and elsewhere that Israel continues to violate the basic rights and fundamental freedoms of the Palestinian people, by unlawfully and illegally occupying Palestinian lands.

The movement of people and goods to and from Gaza are blockaded completely, which has damaged and hindered, beyond comprehension, Gaza’s social services, basic needs and post-conflict reconstruction efforts. The collective punishment of Gaza’s entire population affects the most vulnerable groups, including children, women and the elderly.

Furthermore, the Maldives calls for the immediate release of the 16-year old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, and other human rights defenders held in Israeli prisons.

Mr President,

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that the Maldives supports the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestine that is based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its Capital. A system of apartheid in Occupied Territories cannot safeguard the basic rights of the Palestinian people.

Thank you, Mr. President.