His Majesty King Abdullah, His Excellency President Emmanuel Macron, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
A very good evening to you all.
I would like to begin by thanking His Majesty King Abdullah for his dedication to the Aqaba Process, and President Macron and Prime Minister Ardern for their leadership on the Christchurch Call to Action.
The Maldives continues to be deeply saddened by the heinous act of terror that took place in Christchurch earlier this year, and strongly condemns it. These events have only strengthened our resolve to partner with the international community to combat violent extremism. We have now come to understand that terrorism cannot be tackled solely through conventional security means; we need to dig deeper, and address the root causes poisoning young minds and fuelling this scourge, including racism, xenophobia and hate-speech.
I am pleased to announce that the Maldives supports the Christchurch Call to Action to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. For our part, we are committed to working with the international community, and with companies specializing in digital technology, to prevent the internet being used as a tool to promote hateful agendas.
The Maldives is acutely aware that the internet, whilst a powerful tool for positive change, can also be abused by those wishing to spread hate and encourage violence. Five years ago, a young Maldivian journalist, Ahmed Rilwan, was murdered after receiving multiple death threats on social media by a local extremist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
It is one of my Government’s highest obligations to ensure that no other family in the Maldives has to endure such heart-breaking tragedy. We are in the process of proposing amendments to our Anti-Terrorism Act, with the intention of strengthening our ability to prevent and respond to terrorism, whilst respecting the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.
Before I conclude, let me reiterate that the Maldives stands ready to assist the international effort to combat all forms of terrorism and violent extremism, and to work with our partners to achieve the commitments of the Christchurch Call to Action.
Thank you, Excellencies.