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Malaysia's Statements 2016

Malaysia's Statements 2016 (34)


Excellencies,

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Since this is the first formal meeting of the Council for this month, I wish to first pay tribute and congratulate Ambassador Koro Bessho and the Japanese delegation for their able leadership of the Council in July.

 

2. I thank Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his remarks and his steadfast commitment to the children and armed conflict agenda.

 

3. I also wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to Special Representative Leila Zerrougui and Executive Director Anthony Lake of UNICEF for their insightful and compelling briefings.

 

4. My delegation pays tribute to them both, as well as the people and institutions they represent, for their tireless dedication to and relentless advocacy on the protection and rights of children affected by armed conflict.

 

5. Malaysia aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by Thailand on behalf of ASEAN.

 

Excellencies,


6. In making her call for action twenty years ago, Graca Machel appealed for daring solutions to address the impact of conflict on children. The international community rose to this challenge by embracing the children and armed conflict agenda, both in the General Assembly and the Security Council.


7. Under this agenda, the landscape of international child protection has evolved over the past two decades through the development of a unique set of tools within the UN system to end grave violations against children, channel
assistance and support to children affected by conflict, and hold parties to conflict accountable for their obligations under international law.


8. In this regard, the important role played by the SRSG for children and armed conflict as a high-level advocate who gives children scarred by war a voice and as a champion for their cause must continue to be supported. Madame Zerrougui and her predecessors have been successful in galvanizing international commitment for child protection, both through close engagement with Member States and partners as well as through campaigns that raise broad awareness and support.


9. One heartening example is the progress achieved through the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign, co-led by the Office of the SRSG and UNICEF, to eliminate the recruitment and use of children in national security forces. Malaysia commends the resolute commitment of Member States that have signed action plans to achieve this objective and calls for continued international support for their efforts beyond 2016.


10. The deployment of child protection advisers (CPAs) in UN peace operations has also been instrumental tool in mainstreaming and implementing the child protection mandate in the field. CPAs, together with other actors in the UN Country Task Force, play an important advocacy role in dialogue with Governments and parties to conflict on child protection concerns, including developing action plans.


11. In this regard, we are closely following the consolidation of protection functions exercise in three UN peace operations – MINUSCA, MINUSMA and UNSOM. We call on the Secretary General to continue ensuring that dedicated child protection capacity is maintained and strengthened, including if and when embedded in larger human rights units, and urge for consultation with Member States on this issue.


Excellencies,


Ladies and gentlemen,


12. Malaysia also reaffirms its strong support for the monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) established under Security Council Resolution 1612 (2005), which enables the collection of verified information on grave violations against children that is crucial in determining that such heinous acts do not go unreported.


13. We reiterate that accurate and objective facts, including information gathered through the MRM, should be the determining factor that guides our actions in seeking compliance by parties to conflict and holding perpetrators of grave violations accountable.


14. The mandate and the tools it created remain urgently relevant today as children continue to suffer the horrifying consequences of war. We echo Ms. Machel’s call for daring solutions in the face of evolving trends and persisting challenges affecting children in situations of conflict.


15. Non-State armed groups remain among the biggest perpetrators of grave violations against children and ensuring their compliance with child protection obligations under international humanitarian law is an on-going challenge. We are deeply alarmed that non-State armed groups, including groups employing violent extremist tactics, remain the main perpetrators of recruitment and use of children. As one Boko Haram militia told a kidnapped girl who was repeatedly raped by the militias and subsequently trained to become a suicide bomber: It would not be painful to be a suicide bomber, it would be “just like if an ant bites you”.


16. Even more heartbreaking, children who had been kidnapped by the non-State armed groups are stigmatized and shunned by their own family and community upon their return or escape. They are treated with suspicions as possible suicide bombers or for having a baby fathered by their kidnappers.


17. We urge Member States to treat children associated with such groups primarily as victims and to consider alternatives to prosecution and detention where appropriate, as well as prioritize reintegration and rehabilitation programmes. The peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP provide a positive example in ensuring the protection and rights of children separated from armed groups.


18. Another challenge is addressing the needs of the large scale of children being displaced by armed conflict. The image of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy who drowned as his family attempted to escape the Syrian conflict in 2015, is emblematic of the fate of hundreds of children forced to flee armed conflict.


19. Surviving a perilous journey however does not guarantee safety. Displaced children, particularly separated and unaccompanied children, are especially vulnerable to exploitation and grave violations by unscrupulous parties. It is therefore imperative that children in situations of displacement are given support to adapt to their new surroundings, including access to medical and psychosocial services, education and recreational activities.


Excellencies,


Ladies and gentleman,


20. In conclusion, Malaysia firmly believes that the children and armed conflict agenda must continue to be strengthened and enhanced. Two decades since the establishment of the agenda, the hopes and dreams of children in many parts of the world continue to be dashed and their innocence robbed. The international community must redouble its efforts to secure peace and lift them from their depth of despair. While we have made much progress in using the tools at our disposal, much more need to be done. Our work is far from over. I pledge my delegation’s enduring commitment towards this end.


Thank you.

 

Your Excellency, Mr. Fumio Kishida - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan,

Your Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Excellencies, Colleagues,

On behalf of the Malaysian delegation, I thank you Mr. President and the delegation of Japan for convening this timely and important debate.

2. This meeting is an excellent opportunity to take stock of, and assess the various plans and measures to support the peacebuilding agenda as well as the broader peace and security agenda in Africa thus far, as well as decisions taken by this Council, the United Nations and the wider international community.

3. The outcome of these discussions should contribute to future efforts in support of the peacebuilding agenda in Africa specifically, but also in other regions, more generally. As such, we are pleased to note Japan’s intention to do so for TICAD 6.

4. We greatly appreciate the Secretary-General’s briefing which we believe highlighted the Secretariat’s perspective on the key issues or areas which require more focus and attention.

5. As a concurrent member of both this Council and the Peace Building Commission, Malaysia welcomes the participation of Her Excellency Dr. Amina Mohammed in her capacity as Chair of the PBC, demonstrating Kenya’s strong support and commitment to peacebuilding, and I thank her for her statement which we fully endorse.

6. I wish to also thank His Excellency Ambassador Smail Chergui [Sma-yel Sher-gi], for presenting the message of the African Union Peace and Security Commission which we heard very carefully and with much interest.

7. In aligning with the ASEAN statement to be delivered shortly by the ambassador of Thailand, I wish to make a few additional points to contribute to the discussion.

Mr. President,

8. As you have rightly stated, a sustainable peacebuilding agenda must place strong emphasis on “institution building” and “national ownership”.

9. From our own experience as a developing country, I can say with absolute certainty that faithful adherence to these two key principles have contributed significantly to strengthening national resilience.

10. At one point in the not too distant past, many observers were certain that a country with a population as diverse as Malaysia could not hope to achieve coherence or unity, much less peace and stability which are prerequisites for socio-economic development and progress.

11. However, instead of seeing diversity and plurality as potential security threat, the Government undertook concrete and sustained measures to ensure that all could enjoy a place at the table.

12. Thus, we succeeded in turning the perceived disadvantage of our diversity and harnessing it into what it should be rightly taken for, which is a strength.

Mr. President,

13. Another important lesson we learnt was that developing countries require support and assistance. For many, the natural choice would be to seek out the big and the rich countries and donors.

14. However, what may perhaps be overlooked is the role that other developing countries can play to support other fellow developing countries.

15. In this regard, Malaysia has as part of its foreign policy a commitment to the principle of “prosper thy neighbour”. Despite the inconvenience of distance, Malaysia very much considers Africa as a close neighbor.

16. We remains committed to contributing to Africa’s continued peace and security, political stability and economic growth and we endeavor to support this as best we can, despite our modest resources.

17. Over the past few decades, Malaysia’s engagement with Africa specifically on “institution building” support in areas such as peace and security, trade, investment and holistic development has been increasing steadily.

18. The primary vehicle for such efforts is through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme or MTCP, established in 1980. In addition to direct bilateral engagement through MTCP, Malaysia also extends cooperation through a triangular model such as the MTCP – JICA (with Japan) – Africa programme. To date, 29,000 participants many hailing from Africa have participated in courses and programmes offered under MTCP.

Mr. President,

19. Our commitment to continued support and assistance to partners in Africa is also premised on the belief that attaining higher levels of development is dependent on the quality of human capital, resources and institutions in place.

20. Towards this end, Malaysia pioneered the concept of smart-partnership dialogues with African countries beginning with the inaugural Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) in 1995 which has been held biennially since then.

21. The LID dialogues aim to promote partnerships through engagement at all levels of society including political leaders, civil service, business, labour, media and the population, including women and youth.

22. We are pleased to note that the LID concept had gained traction within Africa which now convenes a similar process of its own, known as the Southern Africa International Dialogue or SAID.

23. At the multilateral level, the outcomes of the recently concluded Peacebuilding Architecture review paves the way for the UN to better address fragmentation issues as well as promote better synergy, coordination and complementarity in the work of the relevant UN bodies – anchored by the PBC and this Council – agencies and mechanisms towards achieving the core objective of promoting and sustaining peace.

Mr. President,

24. I wish to conclude by welcoming the Presidential Statement just adopted. I wish to also emphasise that Malaysia remains committed to Africa for the region for the long haul, with a view to contributing towards the region’s aspirations for peace, security economic development and prosperity.

25. Finally, I wish Japan, Kenya and all participants a successful TICAD 6 Summit later next month.

Thank you.

 

Mr. President,

2. My delegation is grateful to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, for his presence and briefing at this important meeting.

3. Malaysia aligns itself with the statements to be delivered by Iran and Kuwait on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC respectively.

Mr. President,

4. My delegation welcomes the Secretary-General’s recent visit to the region, including to Gaza, which highlighted the unsustainable situation on the ground.

5. Malaysia also welcomes the convening of an international ministerial conference on 3 June in Paris. We fully support the French initiative, which complements the efforts of the Middle East Quartet, and seeks to galvanise international support re-create the political horizon for a two-state solution.

6. We look forward to follow-up actions to advance the prospects for peace, including identifying meaningful incentives to the parties and the holding of another international conference later this year, involving the conflicting parties.

Mr. President,

7. My delegation acknowledges the efforts of the members of the Middle East Quartet in coming up with its first ever report earlier this month. The report was timely, given the deteriorating situation on the ground which if left unchecked may soon render a two-state solution unattainable.

8. As with everyone else, Malaysia had high expectations for the report. The least we expect of the report is for it to be based on the principles and values of the UN, the rule of law, and relevant Security Council resolutions. In this regard, we regret the fact that the report completely sidestepped the question of illegality of Israeli settlements, despite comprehensive elaboration on the issue of settlements in the report.

9. The Quartet report only describes the “outposts” as illegal and not the settlements, which reflects the erroneous position of the Occupier on the matter. Subscribing to this position would undoubtedly tarnish the integrity and impartiality of the Quartet. It is indisputable that the settlements are illegal under international law and therefore not a matter of negotiations. This has been clearly laid down in the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Convention, the Council’s own resolutions and the 2004 decision of the International Court of Justice.

10. We must not stay silent on this crucial issue as the settlements constitute the main threat to the viability of a two-state solution, and the main source of frustration, anger and despair that feeds into the continuous cycle of violence.

11. It is foolhardy to do so. Clearly, just days after the publication of the report, the Israeli authorities announced new settlement expansions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and an additional financing of almost $13 million for Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Indeed, by being silent on the illegality of settlements in such an important document, we end up shielding and perpetuating illegal actions that erode the two-state solution.

Mr. President,

12. In trying to identify threats to the two-state solution, the Quartet report focused on the symptoms rather than the root causes of the conflict. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said earlier this year, it is human nature for oppressed people to react to occupation, “which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.” However, conspicuously missing and glaringly absent from the report’s recommendations was ending the half a century of brutal, repressive, discriminatory and racist military occupation by Israel.

13. While we categorically do not condone any acts of violence and terrorism regardless of the perpetrators and victims, we need to address the factors that triggered the widespread anger, frustration and despair in the first place. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending that the violence exists in a vacuum, defies sound logic and common sense. Until these root causes are addressed, it would be stretching our imagination rather too far to expect the Palestinians to stop resisting the Occupier.

14. There are those who expect the Palestinians to only engage in peaceful resistance to the repressive occupation. But in order to successfully engage in peaceful resistance, there need to be legal and legitimate avenues and platforms to channel their resistance away from violence.

15. Such a platform could take the form of an impartial judicial system, which the Palestinians could turn to when their homes were illegally demolished, their lands seized or when their family members were extra-judicially killed. It may also consist of a political platform for meaningful negotiations to resolve the final status issues, or for the exercise of their democratic rights. Or a multilateral platform to provide protection from gross violations of human rights. Sadly, they have no recourse to justice.

16. The stark reality is, when the Palestinians go to Israeli courts to seek legal redress such as on violence perpetrated by Israeli forces or settlers against them and their property, 94% of the cases were simply closed without prosecuting. And when the civil society and the media tried to highlight gross violations of human rights perpetrated against the Palestinians, they have been arrested, intimidated, defamed or shut down. When the Palestinians engaged in peaceful demonstrations against the illegal policies of the Occupier, they were shot at and killed by the Israeli forces, even children.

17. At the international level, when the Palestinians tried to seek accountability and justice on possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by going to the ICC, many tried to block them and criticised the attempt as “unilateral measure”. Similar rebuff occurred when the Palestinians turned to the UN to seek protection, even if the effort is completely in line with international law. Needless to say, any attempts to bring their legitimate grievances to the Security Council would be vetoed.

18. Furthermore, when the Palestinians seek peace based on the comprehensive Arab Peace Initiative, they found no genuine partner on the other side to bring about a two-state solution, and no honest broker with a moral standing to take an objective position and pressure both sides to reach an agreement. Even the diplomatic initiative by France has been rejected outright by the Occupier.

19. These are the contextual realities for the occupied Palestinians that have been fermenting anger and despair. Unfortunately, they found no one who could make a difference to bear witness to their sufferings and lift them from the dehumanising acts they are being forced to endure. Yet ironically, we demand the Palestinians to cease violence, while at the same time, we keep closing all doors to legal and legitimate avenues to enable them to achieve their legitimate aspirations through peaceful means.

Mr. President,

20. The tragic circumstances of the Palestinians people are nothing new. This Chamber had laboriously debated on it for decades. It's time for change. The conflicting parties need to take affirmative steps to reverse the threats to the twostate solution identified in the report. The role of the Security Council is crucial in overseeing the implementation of the affirmative measures and in creating the conditions for the resumption of meaningful negotiations.

21. Under the UN Charter, the Security Council is entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security. Thus, while the Council has endorsed the Middle East Quartet to mediate on the peace process, this does not mean that the Council has abrogated its responsibility on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, the Council should use the various tools at its disposal to strongly support the Quartet’s efforts, to vigorously influence the parties’ behaviours and to salvage the two-state solution.

22. Malaysia stands ready to engage constructively with other Council members in responding to the Secretary-General’s calls that “surely they deserve a horizon of hope”.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President,

I wish to first thank SRSG Haysom for his extensive briefing and Ambassador Saikal for his statement. We value SRSG Haysom’s insights on the enormous security, political and economic challenges faced by Afghanistan and his persistent and untiring efforts to work with the Afghan partners for peace.

2. We are supportive of the Afghan government’s unwavering commitment and ongoing efforts towards achieving national unity and lasting stability, as rightly underscored by Ambassador Saikal.

3. However, although we commend the best efforts of the Government and the ANSF, it is worrying that the Taliban appears to be gaining ground, and sowing fear among the vulnerable and long-suffering population.

4. The horrific string of attacks yesterday for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility is an example of their continued barbarism. As such, we are pleased that Council has swiftly agreed to condemn the attacks and express solidarity with the people and Government of Afghanistan.

5. We remain convinced that the Taliban – as well as other violent extremist and terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan – must continue to be dealt with in a comprehensive manner. In this context, the ongoing efforts to “win the hearts and minds” of the Afghan population must be stepped up to deny the Taliban their support base.

Mr. President,

6. Like many others in wanting to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, Malaysia placed much hope that the recently established Quadrilateral Coordination Group on the Afghan Peace and Reconciliation Process (QCG) could successfully convene direct peace talks between the Government and the Taliban.

7. Unfortunately, given the continuing Taliban intransigence, such hope remain unachievable. The recent killing of the principal Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, according to some analysts, would appear to have complicated the QCG’s efforts in this regard.

8. Against such developments, it requires no reiteration that meaningful progress towards sustainable peace and stability can only be achieved through peaceful political settlement among the parties. It is hoped that the QCG members will continue to explore and pursue all avenues in facilitating early direct talks between the Government and the Taliban.

9. In this respect, Malaysia is pleased to note the Afghan Government’s steadfast commitment in implementing the Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework. The Afghan Government’s robust engagement and cooperation with regional partners and the international community, including through the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process, is encouraging.

10. The NATO Warsaw Summit next month, and the upcoming Brussels Conference in October, in our view, present opportunities for partners to complement and assist the Afghan Government’s reconstruction and development efforts.

11. At the regional-level, cooperation in addressing security issues and countering the threat of terrorism and extremism has thus far been encouraging. Pursuing further collective efforts involving the Afghan Government, regional partners and the UN in developing a framework for regional counter terrorism strategy within the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process is imperative.

12. My delegation further notes that the Secretary-General’s report on Afghanistan highlights among others, increasing number of civilian casualties - mainly attributable to anti-government forces or elements. It is therefore not surprising that children continue to suffer disproportionately from the ongoing conflict, accounting for almost one-third of all civilian casualties.

13. On a positive note, Malaysia is encouraged with the strong progress in ending recruitment of children by the Afghan National Police. Malaysia strongly encourages full implementation of the Action Plan and Roadmap, particularly by the Afghan Local Police.

14. However, the plight of the children is not over as non-state armed groups and violent extremist groups continue to recruit and retain children among their ranks through manipulation or coercion due to poverty. In this connection, we call on all parties to the conflict to undertake the necessary measures to uphold the obligation to ensure the safety, security and well-being of all children in the country.

15. It must be emphasized that the international community’s support is especially vital to the success of this long-term endeavor. Towards that end, we call for continuing and strengthened cooperation between the Government and the UN, particularly with UNAMA and the SRSG on Children and Armed Conflict, as well as with bilateral and other multilateral partners and stakeholders.

16. In concluding, Malaysia reiterates its firm support for the reconciliation and reintegration efforts undertaken by the Afghan Government to provide a secure future for all Afghans, and to end violent extremism and terror groups’ activities.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you Mr. President,


I join earlier speakers in warmly welcoming you to the Council. I also thank the Secretary-General and the President of ICRC for their respective presentations.


2. On this note, I greatly appreciate and value the participation of His Excellency Mr. Touadera, President of the Central African Republic and for his briefing which my delegation has followed with much interest.


3. Excellency Touadera, your presence here today signifies to us the commitment of the Government and people of the Central African Republic to move forward and leave behind the troubling days of the past.


4. The presence of so many high-level dignitaries among us today, clearly manifests the importance of the topic of our discussion which we thank the French presidency for bringing it into sharper focus by organising this debate.


5. In aligning with statements to be delivered later by Thailand and Iran on behalf of ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement respectively, and with a view to engage on the questions posed in the concept note, I wish to highlight the following points:


Mr. President,


6. The Secretary-General’s latest POC report underscores the grim reality that overwhelmingly, civilians and non-combatants continue to bear the brunt of armed conflict, at all stages. The staggering numbers are horrifying.


7. In 2015 alone, hundreds of thousands perished during, and even while fleeing conflict. These survivors after enduring perilous journey ended up in appalling condition where the majority eke out a miserable existence as refugees and displaced persons desperately in need of food, shelter and medicine. Others who are not lucky face death and the destruction of their villages and homes. The horrors of conflict became even more gruesome when women and girls became targets of terror groups like Da'esh and Boko Haram and sold into sexual slavery or objects for recruitments and ransom.


8. In many instances we followed their stories with a sense of haplessness, strengthening our resolve that the perpetrators must be held accountable. We were briefed on how emboldened the perpetrators are, continuously committing heinous crimes with a sense of impunity. In today's world we are no longer remotely detached from the battlefields and conflict zones. Our conscience bleeds at the savagery and brutality inflicted on the innocent ones trapped in conflict zones. Humanity have seen so many killing fields. We must do more to stop these carnage. Where we can make a difference, we should make a difference. In conflict zones where we conduct UN peace operations, we must ensure that the hopes that we bring to the people must not be dashed. We need to invest more efforts to translate civilian protection norms and standards into action that ultimately saves lives.


9. The hard lessons learnt in Bosnia, Rwanda and others on the role of the United Nations, particularly with respect to the efficacy of peacekeeping operations have been instructive in spurring our collective efforts to prioritise the protection of civilians.


10. This Council has since sought to address the gaps and challenges exposed during the UN’s handling of those tragic situations. A paradigm shift occurred with the introduction of “multidimensional” mandates - a core component of which is civilian protection.


11. In addition to prioritising protection for the most vulnerable segments in conflict situations, we established clear normative standards prohibiting harm against humanitarian personnel including medical and health personnel, even journalists. The call for protection also extends to civilian infrastructure, especially schools and hospitals.


12. The civilian protection agenda has also benefitted from further mainstreaming during the course of the 3 review exercises last year, in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the recently concluded World Humanitarian Summit.


13. In light of these recent positive developments and far reaching commitments by states, it would seem that the civilian protection agenda is firmly entrenched and fully implemented. Unfortunately, much more spade works are needed.


Mr. President,


14. Among the key questions which we must collectively address – and on which the HIPPO and the SG implementation reports have provided relevant commentary and recommendations – relates to the tensions between the first principles of UN peacekeeping and POC imperatives. In this connection, we are of the view that the Council should remain open to reviewing mandates, if or when the situation warrants.


15. Furthermore, given that the UN peace operations today are deployed in increasingly complex and challenging environments – sometimes even in theatres where there is hardly peace to keep – mandates should be realistic and implementable.


16. While closer triangular cooperation and coordination is central particularly during mandate design phase, similar emphasis should be placed on engaging with the host states including on the Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) and States of Forces Agreement (SOFA) arrangements, with a view to ensuring smooth deployment of troops and assets.


17. In this context, we welcome the proactive steps taken by DPKO to conclude so called “compacts” with host states including the CAR, which aim to enhance understanding on those arrangements so as to facilitate their full and effective implementation.


18. While we believe that TCCs for any given peace operation maintain their sovereign rights including on prescribing caveats for their troops and personnel, we are of the view that to the extent possible, such caveats should accommodate civilian protection mandates. Hence, we encourage and support DPKO’s ongoing efforts to engage and sensitise TCCs on the need to minimise or rescind caveats, particularly those that may impair the POC mandate.


19. In terms of prevention, the SG’s “Human Rights Up Front” initiative is a concrete example of the operationalisation of the conflict prevention imperative. This and other relevant recommendations by the HIPPO panel should enjoy our full support to ensure that UN peacekeeping remains relevant and effective.


20. Effective partnership is equally crucial for UN peace operations to effectively implement POC mandates. As mentioned earlier, while cooperation of host states is key; at the same time, collaboration and cooperation with UN system and other actors on the ground is equally important.


21. Additionally, cooperation with regional organisations, particularly the African Union on early mobilisation of peacekeeping presence could be further explored. The possibility of inter-mission cooperation should also be left open.


Mr. President,


22. I wish to stress that we have alarmingly witnessed the plights of innocent civilians in conflict zones and why we need to do more to help them. We saw too many deaths and those numbers presented to us are our fellow human beings. The human faces which we must not ignore. The only way to conclude is to reaffirm our commitment and resolve to help those who beg us to intervene and save their lives.


I thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you Mr. President, for organising this important briefing.

2. I too, welcome Her Excellency Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, back to the Council and thank her for her statement.

3. Malaysia reaffirms its full support to strengthen cooperation with regional and sub-regional organisations under Chapter VIII (8) of the UN Charter. As an established regional organisation with shared values and principles as the UN, we highly value the role played by the EU in promoting peace, stability and development in its region and beyond.

Mr. President,

4. We listened carefully to Her Excellency Mogherini’s update on the role played by the EU in the Middle East Quartet, including its participation in the international conference in Paris last week. Malaysia welcomes the constructive and objective role played by the EU as a member of the Quartet. We would like to see a more active role by the EU in this regard, including as an honest broker, in view of the absence of leadership and political will in the Council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

5. As one of the most important and influential regional organisations, we believe the EU could pave the way in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by using the tools at its disposal to end decades of impunity and ensure adherence to international law, freedom, and respect for human rights, which are core values of the EU. In view of the deteriorating situation on the ground and the slow death of the two-state solution, we need to move away from the previous practice of managing the conflict to addressing its root causes. We need to end the repressive Israeli occupation.

6. Meanwhile, in facing other complex challenges in the Middle East region, such as Syria and Libya, we commend the strong support provided by the EU on the UN-led political dialogue in both countries.

7. The massive humanitarian crises arising from the influx of migrants and refugees from Syria and Libya proved too challenging for any one organisation or country to handle alone. We thus applaud the critical role played by the EU in supporting Syrian refugees, whether within the EU’s territories or in other host countries in the Middle East, through its migration policy and humanitarian aid. The latest pledge by the EU amounting to over USD3 billion at the London Donors Conference last February, is yet another example of the EU’s commitment to address the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. On this note, Malaysia looks up to the EU’s vast experience and expertise in dealing with migrants and refugees, to address the related problems of human trafficking and people smuggling in the Southeast Asian region.

Mr. President,

8. Since the Council last convened to discuss cooperation with the EU, we had witnessed shocking terrorist attacks in Europe by Da’esh. Our heartfelt condolences go the families and loved ones of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.

9. No one is truly safe from terror attacks, regardless of one’s race, nationality, religion, or belief. It is thus, our responsibility to strengthen our joint resolve in combating this menace. In this regard, Malaysia welcomes the comprehensive strategy adopted by the EU to counter the global threats of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation. The strategy seeks to address not just the symptoms of terrorism but also its root causes. It also recognises that military action alone is not sufficient to defeat Da’esh, as it addresses the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, cuts off terrorist financing, promotes political stability and engages in strategic counter-messaging.

10. As part of a comprehensive strategy to counter violent extremism and radicalisation, we also need to address the increasing sentiment of Islamophobia, which has given rise to marginalisation, alienation, and discrimination of Muslims in Europe, on the basis of their religion.

11. Muslim minorities in Europe should not be pressured to be “less Muslim” in order to be “more European”. They should not become “double victims” – first of terror attacks and then of policy responses to these attacks.

12. We acknowledge the EU’s attempts to deal with the problem of Islamophobia, as part of its broader response to xenophobia in the region. We believe policies based on more dialogue, social-economic inclusion and non-discrimination in support of minority groups would complement the EU’s counter-terrorism strategy and bring long-term benefits to Europe’s pluralistic societies.

Mr. President,

13. In the Western Balkans region, we highly appreciate the stabilising role played by the EU, particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. We commend the active participation by the High Representative in facilitating the ongoing dialogue to normalise relations between Kosovo and Serbia. We also fully support the continuing role by the EU in further strengthening the democratic institutions, the rule of law and the process of reconciliation, as well as in creating a functioning market economy in the Western Balkans.

14. In Malaysia’s view, if there is a single most important lesson from post-World War II Europe for the Western Balkans, it is the need to acknowledge and address the past. We strongly believe that this would be the best way to move forward towards peace, stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans.

15. It may be difficult to swallow, but unless and until we acknowledge the atrocities committed in the past, uphold accountability, and learn from the mistakes made, we would find ourselves unable to find closure, foster reconciliation and make progress in the region. Even worse, we may be condemned to repeat the past.

16. On Africa, we commend the role and contribution by the EU, in close partnership with the UN and the African Union, particularly in the Sahel region, the Gulf of Guinea, and the Horn of Africa. Over the years, the EU has provided a stabilising presence in these regions, ranging from conflict prevention to conflict management, post-conflict transition and sustainable development.

17. Closer to home, Malaysia welcomes the recent intensification of the EU’s engagement with Myanmar, in support of the country’s democratic transition and sustainable development. These include the EU-Myanmar bilateral development cooperation under the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 and the EU’s support for the Myanmar Peace Center to provide technical support in implementing the ceasefire, as well as promoting political dialogue, reconciliation, and peacebuilding.

Mr. President,

18. In concluding, Malaysia welcomes the reaffirmation by High Representative of the EU to continue its close cooperation with the UN in upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. As we have heard today, the EU has a lot to offer through its specific expertise, wide experience, and pooled resources to complement and support the role of the UN in facing various global challenges.

19. I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate Malaysia’s commitment to play a constructive role in further engaging with regional organisations, including the EU, in maintaining international peace and security.

I thank you, Mr. President.

**************

 

Bismillahhirrahmanirrahim,

Your Excellency, Mr. Sameh Shoukry,
Foreign Minister of Egypt and President of the Security Council,

Excellencies,

Colleagues,

I join earlier speakers in thanking you, Mr. President, for convening this timely debate and on such a critically important topic. The concept note shared in advance also provided useful guidance.

2. I wish to also thank the briefers whose respective presentations have brought keen insights and added much value to the discussion today.

3. At this stage, my delegation aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by Thailand and Kuwait on behalf of ASEAN and the OIC, respectively.

Mr. President,

4. For the past quarter century or so to date, the United Nations and this Security Council have been at the forefront of international efforts in countering the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism. Alongside the necessary targeted military action and intelligence operations on the ground, we established norms, networks, structures, strategies and action plans to counter the spreading influence of the terrorists on a number of critical fronts notably on their movement, on financing and on recruitment.

5. These have recorded varying degrees of success. However, we CAN do more. And we MUST do more.

6. This is why today’s discussion has particular resonance for us, as it seeks to address the narrative or ideological aspect of terrorism, and one of the main drivers of the phenomenon.

7. As such, we are pleased to join consensus on the draft Presidential Statement just adopted, which we fully support and we thank the Egyptian delegation for initiating it.

Mr. President,

8. Terrorism and violent extremism are global threats that transcend cultures, religions and geo-political boundaries. They have no religion.

9. In past decades, we engaged in long-standing struggles against various terrorist groups worldwide, from the IRA to the Tamil Tigers and Aum Shinrikyo. We thus reject any association of terrorism and violent extremism with any one religion, nationality or ethnic group.

10. However, as Muslims, we should not be in denial. We should be honest with ourselves and acknowledge – whether we like it or not – that there is a critical need for us to address the exploitation of Islam by terrorist groups, that led to the perceived link between terrorism and Islam or Muslims.

11. As we are all aware, among the most heinous and nefarious perpetrators of terrorism and violent extremism today include Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Al-Nusra Front, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram and Da’esh/ISIL. They all have one thing in common – they rely on Islam, or more accurately, their twisted interpretation of Islam, to legitimise their causes, justify their criminal actions, and attract followers.

12. Thus, for the purpose of today’s debate, I wish to focus my statement on this disturbing phenomenon, notwithstanding our long-held position to disassociate terrorism from any particular religion.

Mr. President,

13. It has been said that in order to understand a religion, one must study its scriptures. Throughout the Holy Qur’an, the message of peace, justice and honourable conduct features prominently and constitutes the very essence of Islam. Indeed, the very definition of Islam is peace.

14. To illustrate, allow me to quote from verse 224 of Chapter Two (Surah Al-Baqarah) in the Quran, where Allah says:

 

وَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ اللّهَ عُرْضَةً لِّأَيْمَانِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ وَتُصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ 

“And make not Allah’s (name) an excuse in your oaths against doing good, or acting rightly, or making peace between persons; for Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth all things.”

 

15. Meanwhile, on justice, Allah says, in verse 8 from Chapter Five (Surah Al-Maidah):


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ 
“O you who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.”

 

16. In light of such clear commands in the Qur’an, we strongly denounce the terrorists’ claims that their barbarity is sanctioned by Islam.

17. Furthermore, the concept of “the end justifies the means” has no place in Islam. So even if you have good intentions or you are fighting a just cause, you are still not allowed to achieve it via wrongful means or to commit transgressions against others.

18. Long before the Geneva Conventions existed, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and subsequent scholars instituted a “just war doctrine”. Among others, during the conduct of war, Muslims are forbidden from harming non-combatants, particularly women, children, the elderly and the sick, as well as envoys and diplomats, and those praying in houses of worship. They are even prohibited from harming civilian objects, including water wells, trees, crops and livestock.

19. True Muslims do not accept ideologies that espouse hatred, wanton violence and destruction. We must make absolutely clear that the extremists ARE the blasphemers. It is THEY who insult and pervert the teaching of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah.

20. We can only conclude that they are driven by other interests and concerns – as defined through a distorted political ideology – resulting in heinous and atrocious acts of extreme violence and barbarism!

Mr. President,

21. It is abundantly clear to my delegation that to successfully counter the terrorist narrative, we cannot limit the response to merely denouncing violence or stating why their approach is wrong; it must cut through their rhetoric and seductive approaches.

22. An ideology does not exist in a vacuum. For those who are marginalised, disenchanted or frustrated, an ideology can be a powerful thing. It provides a sense of purpose, a sense of direction, and a sense of belonging, especially when faced with deep underlying socio-political grievances.

23. Based on investigations on the motivations of foreign terrorist fighters in Malaysia, their main motivation was found to be political in nature, be it prolonged and grievous injustice, gross violations of human rights, foreign occupation, and systematic discrimination against people whom they identify with, due to shared religion, values or ethnicity. Beyond this motivation, they share little similarities, whether academic background, social status, or geographical origin.

24. Thus, in countering the terrorists’ narrative, it is crucial to remove these underlying root causes to expose the fallacy of their arguments. This will diminish the “soft power” of the terrorists in manipulating socio-political grievances to gain sympathy among impressionable youths and to recruit foreign terrorist fighters worldwide.

25. Part of Malaysia’s efforts in countering the extremist narrative is to engage with religious and community leaders to spread accurate messages about Islam. We believe there is a need to encourage more media-savvy Muslim public figures to reach out to the youths via the social media to provide a counter narrative, including to clarify the concept of jihad that had been twisted to serve the terrorists’ agenda.

26. At times, the promise of heavenly reward and spiritual salvation has led some to become misguided and fall for the terrorists’ narrative. Thus, in our response, we incorporated rehabilitation programme as part of our counter-terrorism measures.

27. This is consistent with our belief in long-term rehabilitation and not just punitive action in dealing with terrorists. Under this program, experts from various religious departments, clerics and police counsellors actively engage with the detainees and provide guidance, with the aim of eventually returning them as useful members of the society.

Mr. President,

28. Malaysia remains steadfast in the belief that terrorism and violent extremism are twin cancers which require our collective and concerted effort to address. We thus, reaffirm our commitment to continue our close cooperation with the UN and relevant international organisations towards this end.

29. On a final note, I wish to stress that terrorist attacks do not discriminate between women or children, Muslims, Jews or Christians, the rich or the poor. All of us are possible victims of terrorism. In our response to this threat, let us not allow the terrorists to divide us.

30. Therefore, hysterical responses to terrorism, including by discriminating against a group of people for their peaceful religious beliefs, or branding the whole group of people as terrorists, will merely perpetuate terror and paranoia, and further serve the terrorists’ narrative.

With that, I thank you Mr. President.


I would like to thank High Representative Valentin Inzko for his comprehensive briefing and for his latest report to the Council.


2. Malaysia takes note of the positive developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the reporting period, as outlined by the High Representative.


3. We welcome the country’s submission of a formal application for membership in the European Union last February. This latest milestone reflects the continuing aspiration of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its leaders for European integration.


4. We believe that the accompanying political and socio-economic reforms required for EU integration would pave the way for stability and prosperity for Bosnia and Herzegovina. We thus urge the leaders to remain steadfast in their commitment to implement the country’s reform agenda.


5. Malaysia also welcomes the positive developments in the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours. These include the ratification of the State Border Treaty with Montenegro, the visit by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia, and the first ever joint-Cabinet meeting with Serbia in Sarajevo.


Mr. President,


6. Despite the positive developments during the reporting period, the commitment by all parties to the Dayton peace agreement, and to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, unfortunately remains in doubt.


7. Malaysia is alarmed by the continuing challenges, through words and actions, posed by the leaders of the Republika Srpska to the Dayton peace agreement, the Office of the High Representative, as well as state-level judicial institutions and authorities. Such challenges are clearly against the peace agreement, the rule of law and the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


8. Malaysia takes note of the High Representative’s briefing on the cancellation of the planned referendum by the Republika Srpska, which would have challenged the authority of the High Representative, as well as the country’s rule of law and judiciary. While we welcome this latest development, we regretted the fact that the referendum, together with other similar threats, was called for in the first place.


9. We strongly urge the Republika Srpska authorities to respect the country’s Constitution, the various UNSC resolutions and the Dayton peace agreement. Two decades after a devastating war, there is simply no place in the country and the region for divisive, provocative and secessionist rhetoric, which would only serve to perpetuate narrow political agendas at the expense of peace and stability in the region.


10. We also condemn intimidations, harassments and even death threats levelled at the High Representative and the country’s international judges. Such acts are unacceptable and must immediately cease.


Mr. President,


11. The diverging reactions among the ethnic communities to the recent decisions of the ICTY relating to Radovan Karadzic and Vojislav Seselj, proved that reconciliation is still a distant vision. We call on all parties to respect the rule of law and to use this opportunity to move forward towards national reconciliation.


12. In concluding, Malaysia reiterates the need to intensify efforts to fully implement the 5+2 (five plus two) agenda, as prerequisites for the closure of the Office of the High Representative.


13. Until then, Malaysia reaffirms its strong support for the Office of the High Representative, as laid down in the Dayton peace agreement and upheld in various Council resolutions. We also recognise the important role played by the EU-led multinational stabilisation force in ensuring security and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


I thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you Mr. President,

The start of this year seemed to offer fresh and renewed hope for the Syrian population. There was a breakthrough in securing access for humanitarian assistance for more than 500,000 people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

2. Violence was significantly reduced due to the cessation of hostilities agreement. Most importantly, peace talks aimed at solving the political deadlock had finally gained some traction.

3. However, in recent weeks fighting in Aleppo has intensified. It appears the fragile cessation of hostilities no longer holds and had collapsed there.

4. We cannot allow the good progress so painstakingly gained thus far to unravel.

5. I thank Mr Feltman and Mr O’Brien for their comprehensive briefing on the latest development in Aleppo.

6. Similarly, we thank the United Kingdom for requesting this urgent meeting of Council in light of the deteriorating situation in Aleppo.

Mr. President,

7. It was only yesterday that Council adopted a landmark resolution seeking to protect the wounded and sick, medical and humanitarian personnel, supplies and facilities.

8. Yet on the very same day, the al-Dabeet maternity hospital in Aleppo was struck, killing at least three medical personnel and patients. It seems that scant, if any, respect is accorded for the neutrality and impartiality of medical facilities. It is all the more telling when six medical centres had been attacked in less than a week.

9. We wish to reaffirm that such attacks - whether premeditated or otherwise - are simply unacceptable.

10. Reports of the Government’s aim to encircle Eastern Aleppo, placing its residents under one of the largest siege of the conflict is alarming. Besieging that territory would inevitably lead to yet another catastrophic humanitarian situation.

11. This Security Council is duty bound to ensure the calamity in the 4 towns of Madaya, Fou’ah, Kefraya and Zabadani is not repeated in Aleppo.

Mr. President,

12. We welcome and support the talks between Special Envoy de Mistura and Foreign Ministers of Jordan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, the US, Germany and France as well as the Head of Opposition, Riyad Hijab. In addition to the truce brokered by the Russian Federation and the US in Latakia and near Damascus, the news of “Days of Silence” beginning last night in Aleppo is one that we welcome.

13. A full and immediate restoration of truce, in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, is key if we are to rebuild confidence shattered by the sharp escalation of violence and hostilities in recent weeks.

14. With the start of “Days of Silence” in Aleppo and other areas, we call on parties to the conflict to commit to the following:-

14.1. Immediately cease hostilities and attacks against civilians and civilian objects;

14.2. Allow safe, unimpeded and unhindered humanitarian access to the population in Aleppo. We stress that delivery of humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach ALL civilians, regardless of their political affiliation;

14.3. Build on the consensus between the Government and groups of opposition during the latest round of peace talks on the necessity for a political transition in Syria; and

14.4. Urgently engage the UN and in particular, Special Envoy de Mistura with a view to resuming the peace talks in Geneva and recommence its deliberation based on the Geneva Communique and Security Council Resolution 2254, including on the political transition.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you Mr. President,

Malaysia joins other Council members in congratulating you Excellency, and your team on Egypt’s assumption of the Council’s presidency for this month.

2. I reaffirm my delegation’s full cooperation and we wish you and your team every success. I also wish to express my sincerest appreciation to Ambassador Liu Jieyi and his team for China’s effective leadership of Council last month.

3. I wish to express appreciation to His Excellency the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban ki-Moon, to Mr Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC and to Ms Joanne Liu, President of MSF for sharing their perspectives and insights on the topic at hand. Their briefings add significant value to the discussion today.

4. Malaysia welcomes the adoption of resolution 2286 which we co-sponsored alongside a significant number of UN member states. We commend the leadership taken by Egypt, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and Uruguay on this important initiative which comes at a very critical juncture.

5. The resolution is an important milestone and stands out as a timely response by this Council in discharging its responsibility of maintaining international peace and security, specifically by addressing the increasingly frequent and inhumane attacks against healthcare institution by parties to armed conflict.

Mr. President,

6. In 2014, schools and medical facilities in Gaza were targeted and bombed during military offensive by Israeli forces, killing and maiming thousands of civilians, including children. The attacks occurred despite the sharing of coordinates of the civilian facilities with the Israeli authorities.

7. In Kunduz, Afghanistan last October, a medical facility operated by Médecins sans Frontières was repeatedly bombarded, killing dozens of civilians, including patients and medical personnel.

8. Most recently, the attack against Al-Quds Hospital in Syria last week, which killed 57 civilians, reveals a new low on the protection of civilians, medical personnel and medical facilities.

9. One prominent victim killed in that attack was the only remaining paediatrician in Aleppo – Dr Muhammad Wassim Maaz.

10. Despite the intolerable stress of living in a city under siege, Dr. Maaz chose to stay in Aleppo to treat the wounded and as his friend put it – “to help those babies crying”, instead of joining his family in Turkey.

Mr. President,

11. Such attacks - whether premeditated or otherwise - are simply unacceptable.

12. They violate basic and established principles of international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in the provision of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance.

13. Attacks against medical personnel and health facilities also constitute two-fold atrocities against children: They not only kill and maim children, they also leave them without access to much-needed treatment, including life-saving ones.

Mr. President,

14. The unanimous adoption of resolution 2286 reflects Council’s collective resolve in responding to a worsening deterioration of civilian protection in times of conflict. As we seek to maintain international peace and security, protection of civilians must continue to be at the core of Council’s work.

15. We must reject the notion of “collateral damage” as a convenient excuse to commit and perpetuate attacks against civilians and civilian objects.

16. Similarly, countering terrorism has unfortunately become a convenient narrative to justify attacks on civilians, humanitarian and medical personnel, as well as medical facilities.

17. If by fighting terrorism means we would be carrying out indiscriminate attacks on civilians and their facilities, then from the victims’ point of view, we are no different from the terrorists.

18. As clearly stipulated under international law, attacks intentionally directed against civilians and civilian objects, including medical and humanitarian personnel, and medical facilities, constitute war crimes. Malaysia strong supports calls to ensure accountability, as a crucial step in the fight against impunity on the protection of civilian and civilian objects during armed conflicts.

19. We thus call for independent investigations into all alleged serious violations of international humanitarian law, particularly on the protection of civilians and civilian objects in armed conflicts. Member states have the obligation to cooperate with relevant international courts and tribunals, in ensuring accountability for war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, in accordance with their international commitments.

Mr. President,

20. In concluding, we are deeply humbled and affected by the commitment and sacrifice of medical and humanitarian personnel worldwide, who devoted their lives to saving others in dangerous and trying circumstances. We wish pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price in pursuit of such honourable aims.

21. This Security Council must persist in defending and protecting the safety of medical personnel and health facilities in situations of armed conflict, an undertaking to which Malaysia is fully committed to.

Thank you.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia
Wisma Putra
No. 1, Jalan Wisma Putra, Precinct 2
62602 Putrajaya, MALAYSIA

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