YB Dato’ Hamzah Zainudin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, undertook a two-day Working Visit to New York from 22 to 24 April 2015.
2. His visit was at the invitation of Jordan, who holds the monthly rotating Presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Malaysia was elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the period of 2015-2016, since January this year.
3. During his visit, YB Dato’ Hamzah participated in two UNSC meetings at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, accompanied by Y.Bhg. Dato’ Ramlan Ibrahim, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the UN.
4. On 23 April, YB Dato’ Hamzah took part in the UNSC Open Debate on the Role of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace. The session was presided by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 20, the youngest ever person to chair a UNSC meeting. The Crown Prince’s participation is befitting the topic for the Open Debate, which focused on the youths. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the meeting and called for the involvement of youth in peacebuilding processes to contribute towards a lasting global stability and stem the growth of radicalism.
5. In his statement at the Open Debate, YB Dato’ Hamzah addressed the increasing trend towards radicalisation and violent extremism among the youths, perpetrated by terrorist groups who are manipulating grievances and religion to achieve their political aims. YB Dato’ Hamzah called for a comprehensive counter-narrative that would stem the ‘soft power’ of the extremists’ ideology and their violent propaganda. The initiative the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) initiated by the Malaysian Prime Minister five years ago is one possible platform for such counter-narrative to galvanise the voices of moderation to counter extremism.
6. On the same day, YB Dato’ Hamzah joined a luncheon held between Ban Ki-moon and UNSC members at the United Nations. During the luncheon, YB Dato’ Hamzah engaged in fruitful exchanges of views with Ban Ki-moon and other Council members on various issues of international concern, particularly the issues of Yemen and Burundi.
7. On 24 April, YB Dato’ Hamzah participated in the UNSC meeting on Syria, whereby Council members listened to briefings on the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria from the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Baroness Valerie Amos, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme Ms. Ertharin Cousin, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Antonio Guterres, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy Ms. Angelina Jolie-Pitt.
8. YB Dato’ Hamzah delivered a statement, highlighting the ever-increasing civilian casualties in the Syrian conflict and condemned the besieging of whole cities and starving of populations as a strategy of war. He also called for humanitarian pauses to enable the delivery of aid and the establishment of humanitarian corridors to allow the safe passage of civilians out of the besieged areas. He stressed on the need to ensure the protection of civilians by the parties to the conflict in accordance with international law, international humanitarian law and the relevant UNSC resolutions.
9. The participation by YB Dato’ Hamzah to the United Nations in New York has further enhanced the image and standing of Malaysia at the global stage, particularly by playing a constructive role in the Security Council to address the pressing concerns of the international community. He also took the opportunity to promote moderation to the UN as an instrumental value and approach to resolve conflicts through dialogue, mutual respect and compromise.
25 April 2015