The Maldives has declared its unequivocal support for South Africa’s urgent appeal for the indication of additional provisional measures by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in relation to the prevailing situation in Rafah, Gaza. South Africa’s appeal, lodged on 10 May, is part of its case against Israel at the ICJ, where it alleges that Israel is in breach of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

In a statement issued by the President’s Office, the Maldives condemned the ongoing Israeli attacks on Rafah, which have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The statement criticised the continued military aggression by Israeli forces against innocent Palestinian civilians as a flagrant violation of international human rights and humanitarian law. It affirmed Maldives’ commitment to ensuring a lasting solution to the Palestinian people’s long-suffering.

The Maldivian government pointed to Israel’s demand for the immediate evacuation of thousands of Palestinian civilians seeking refuge in Eastern Rafah as evidence of Israel’s failure to comply with the provisional measures ordered by the ICJ in the case “Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel).” The government decried the genocidal acts perpetrated by Israeli forces under the pretext of security concerns, which have resulted in mass displacement, acute starvation, and the blockage of humanitarian aid.

The Maldivian stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their pursuit of self-determination and remains committed to its calls for the establishment of a sovereign and independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as per the pre-1967 borders, the statement reads.

In the ongoing case brought by South Africa, which accuses Israel of committing acts of genocide against Palestinians, the ICJ in January ordered Israel to refrain from any acts that could fall under the Genocide Convention and to ensure its troops commit no genocidal acts against Palestinians. South Africa is seeking additional emergency measures in light of the continuing military action in Rafah, which it describes as the “last refuge” for Palestinians in Gaza.

South Africa’s application stated that Israel’s operation against Rafah poses an “extreme risk” to “humanitarian supplies and basic services into Gaza, to the survival of the Palestinian medical system, and to the very survival of Palestinians in Gaza as a group,” according to a statement from the UN court. South Africa also asked the court to order that Israel allow unimpeded access to Gaza for UN officials, organisations providing humanitarian aid, and journalists and investigators.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza continued to escalate as Israeli military forces, including tanks, bulldozers, and armoured vehicles, established a perimeter around evacuation zones and shelters in Jabalia. In a recent airstrike, Israeli jets targeted a residential structure in the Nuseirat refugee camp located in central Gaza, resulting in the tragic loss of 14 Palestinian lives, including children. 

Since 7 October, Israel has killed 35,173 Palestinians and wounded 79,061 in its relentless attacks on Gaza. The civilian infrastructure in Gaza has been decimated, with an estimated 75 percent of it now in ruins. Approximately 1.4 million Palestinians find themselves trapped in Rafah, and according to United Nations reports, over a million people are on the brink of starvation.