The Maldives presented oral submissions at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday, asserting that the policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory amounts to apartheid. The proceedings, at the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, were part of an advisory process examining the legal consequences of Israel’s policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

The Maldivian delegation was led by Ambassador Aishath Shaan Shakir, the Maldives’ representative to Germany. Ambassador Shakir underscored the Maldives’ unwavering support for the Palestinian people, including their pursuit of an independent, sovereign State of Palestine. This stance, she emphasised, has been a cornerstone of the Maldives’ foreign policy.

Ambassador Shakir further emphasised that the only sustainable resolution to the conflict is the establishment of a sovereign and independent State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Maldivian delegation also included international lawyers Amy Sander and Dr Naomi Hart, both of the Bar of England and Wales from Essex Court Chambers. They focused their statements on Israel’s multiple, severe violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly its practices concerning water resources.

The Maldives joined multiple states in asserting that Israel’s policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory amount to apartheid. The nation remains steadfast in supporting the Palestinian people in their pursuit of an independent sovereign State of Palestine and calls for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire of the crimes of genocide being committed by Israel,” Ambassador Shakir stated.

The United Nations General Assembly, at its 77th Session, adopted resolution No. 77/247, titled “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The General Assembly requested that the ICJ render an Advisory Opinion under Article 65 of the Statute of the Court. This decision was made in accordance with Article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations, which allows the General Assembly to seek an advisory opinion from the ICJ on any legal question.

Israel’s continued military actions in the Gaza Strip, which began on 7 October 2023, have killed at least 29,878 individuals, predominantly women and children, and have injured approximately 70,215 people, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.

Israel has also intensified its blockade of the Gaza Strip, effectively halting the entry of food and medical supplies. According to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), over half a million people in Gaza are facing starvation and all 2.3 million people in the besieged enclave are experiencing acute food shortage.