Maldives Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Iruthisham Adam, has urged all states to support Palestine’s right to self-determination and self-government.
Speaking during a Council debate on human rights in Palestine, Adam said the Palestinian bid should be viewed in light of the US’s own declaration of independence, citing its drafter Thomas Jefferson.
“We surely cannot deny to any nation that right where on our own is founded – that every one may govern itself according to whatever form it pleases and change those forms at its own will,” Adam said.
“These words are as relevant today, as we survey Palestine’s brave push for independence and statehood at the United Nations, as they were in the 18th Century,” she told the Council.
“The Maldives and hundreds of other countries support the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. We do not do so because we are against Israel – the Maldives is and always will be a strong supporter of a two-State solution. We do so, rather, because it is right and it is just.
“If we value and enjoy our right to self-determination in the Maldives and elsewhere, if we applaud its assertion across the Islamic world, then why should we deny it to the people of Palestine? People who have been waiting for dignity, freedom and independence for 6o long years?”
Palestinian statehood would not diminish the chances of a negotiated peace, Adam argued, but would rather enhance them by resolving the unequal power relationship between the two countries.
“In our opinion,undermined the negotiation process – a relationship between the occupied and the occupier. How can a fair and lasting peace be forged under such conditions? The short answer is: it cannot. Far better then for negotiations to take place between two States sitting down together as equals,” she said.
Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan meanwhile told the UN General Assembly that “demands for human rights and democratic values are universal” and “the time for Palestine to join the international family of nations is long overdue.”
Dr Waheed said the Maldives was committed to protecting human rights, both domestically and internationally, and noted that with the Maldives signing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court the country”joins a growing alliance of states which stand firmly against those who believe they can violate human rights with impunity.”
The UN Security Council is currently considering the proposal put forward by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Key issues include Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and securing rights of return for Palestinian refugees.