A sign of failure from the UN ?

13 Jan

On the 9th Special Session of the Human Rights Council: “The Grave Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent aggression in the occupied Gaza Strip” – Friday, which was adopted on 9 January, 33 nation states recorded in favour of the resolution, with one opposing and 13 abstaining.

The list is reproduced here:

In favour: Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia;

Against: Canada;

Abstentions: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The resolution:

… strongly condemned the ongoing Israeli military operation which had resulted in massive violations of human rights of the Palestinian people and systematic destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure…

… called for the immediate cessation of Israeli military attacks throughout the Palestinian Occupied Territory; demanded the occupying power, Israel, to immediately withdraw its military forces from the occupied Gaza Strip; called upon the occupying power to end its occupation to all Palestinian lands occupied since 1967…

… demanded that the occupying power stop the targeting of civilians and medical facilities and staff as well as the systematic destruction of cultural heritage; demanded further that the occupying power lift the siege, open all borders; and decided to dispatch an urgent independent international fact-finding mission to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying power against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Council also requested the United Nations Secretary-General to investigate the latest targeting of UNRWA facilities in Gaza, including schools, that resulted in the killing of tens of Palestinian civilians, including women and children…

Compare this to the UN Security Council resolution with 14 of the 15 members body in favour of an immediate ceasefire. Only the United States abstained from the resolution.

The draft resolution for the UN Security Council was drafted by Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Questions abound:

1. Why did the countries that abstain or opposed the human rights council resolution do so despite overwhelming evidence that innocent civilians are facing the brunt of Israeli’s invasion?

2. Most of the countries that abstained or opposed the resolution were from the West (with the exception of South Korea, Japan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cameroon). Does this imply that the West still condones Israel despite the destruction and mass-held protests from their own countries? Case in point – the large-scale demonstrations in London.

3. No doubt Israel has a history of ignoring previous UN resolutions, the current crisis in Gaza  marks another new low. Israel is adamant on pressing ahead with its military advances. Has the UN failed, in particular, on the Occupied Territories? This can be witnessed from dismissal and non-compliance by Israel as well as the fragmented voting results. The Human Rights Council which was formed to address human rights issue saw Canada, a purportedly human rights bastion opposing the resolution.


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