The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution calling for immediate humanitarian truce in Israel-Hamas conflict with India abstaining from voting. The 193 members of the UNGA met in the 10th Emergency Special Session on Friday to adopt a “major” resolution on the Gaza crisis.
The Gaza resolution was submitted by Jordan and backed by 45 other states including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, and South Africa. It was voted in favor by 120 countries, voted against by 14, and abstention by 45 members.
Resolution: Protection and release of civilians
The resolution is titled “protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations”, it demands that all parties immediately and fully comply with obligations under the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, including protection of civilians and civilian objects.
The Jordanian-draft resolution demands for the protection of humanitarian personnel, allowing humanitarian access of essential supplies and facilities to reach all civilians in the Gaza strip. Furthermore, the Assembly also asked for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all civilians being held captive and demanded their safety, well-being and humane treatment in accordance with international laws.
It demanded humanitarian access of the International Committee of Red Cross and other such humanitarian organizations to deliver urgent assistance to the civilians in Gaza strip. The resolution also asked for the rescinding of the order of Israel, “the occupying power”, and for UN staff and humanitarian workers to evacuate Gaza and relocate to the south.
India’s response for abstaining to vote
India was one of 45 countries to not vote on the resolution, including Canada, Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, and Ukraine. India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Yojna Patel said, “Terrorism is a malignancy and knows no borders, nationality or race. The world should not buy into any justification of terror acts. Let us keep aside differences, unite and adopt a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism.”
This refers to the absence of any mention of Hamas in the resolution. India said that perpetrators deserve condemnation and “It is necessary for all parties to display the utmost responsibility”. It reiterated its position supporting a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine situation leading to the creation of two sovereign, independent states existing peacefully alongside each other.
Before voting on the resolution took place, Canada proposed an amendment co-sponsored by the US that did not pass.
The amendment asked for adding a paragraph in the resolution that states the General Assembly “unequivocally rejects and condemns the terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting on 7 October 2023 and the taking of hostages, demands the safety, well-being and humane treatment of the hostages in compliance with international law, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release”.
Indian along with 87 other countries voted in favor of the amendment, 55 members voted against, and 23 abstained. The amendment failed to get two-third majority of members present and voting so did not pass.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in critique of the draft resolution, “As you’ll notice, two key words are missing in the resolution before us. The first is Hamas. It is outrageous that this resolution fails to name the perpetrators of the October 7th terrorist attacks: Hamas. Hamas. It is outrageous.”
Thomas further expressed outrage at their being no mention of innocent people being held hostage by Hamas and other terrorist groups. “These are omissions of evil. And they give cover to, and they empower, Hamas’ brutality. And no member state – no member state – should allow that to happen. You should not let it stand,” she said.
The US said its amendment with Canada fixed these “glaring omissions” in the draft resolution.