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India Abstains as UN Adopts Motion on Israel for Potential War Crimes

India was among 13 countries that abstained as the UN Human Rights Council on Friday adopted a resolution calling for Israel to be held accountable for possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza.

Palestinian territory, adopted by 28 votes in favour and six against, called for an arms embargo on Israel and said all countries should cease the sale and transfer of arms and military equipment to Israel to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

Georgia, Japan and the Netherlands were among the countries that abstained along with India when the resolution presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was put to the vote at the 47-member Human Rights Council. The US and Germany were among the countries that voted against it.

People familiar with the matter said India’s abstention was in line with its traditional stand on past resolutions on the human rights situation in occupied Palestinian territory.

India voted in favour of three other resolutions adopted by the UN’s top human rights body that endorsed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, expressed concern at human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, and denounced Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The development came days after the killing of seven international aid workers in an Israeli strike in Gaza, an incident that drew condemnation around the world. Israel gave in to unprecedented pressure from the US and opened new food corridors into Gaza, while the Israeli Defense Forces said two senior military commanders responsible for ordering the strike on the aid workers had been sacked.

The resolution on the human rights situation in occupied Palestinian territory expressed “grave concern at reports of serious human rights violations and grave breaches of international humanitarian law, including of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity”. It also emphasised “the need to ensure accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in order to end impunity”.

The development reflected the growing concern about Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, which has resulted in more than 33,000 deaths, and came a day after a phone call between phone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden, who warned his administration’s policy on the conflict could change.

Unlike the UN Security Council, Human Rights Council resolutions are not legally binding on states, though this resolution was intended to increase diplomatic pressure on Israel and potentially influence national policy decisions.

Countries that abstained or voted against the resolution noted that it refrained from mentioning Hamas, whose brazen terror attacks on October 7 last year had triggered the conflict.

Israel criticised the resolution and accused the Human Rights Council of having “abandoned the Israeli people”.

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(Source: HT)

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