After India on Thursday, 27 May, abstained from voting during a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution to probe human rights violations in the Gaza violence, the Palestinian authorities voiced their criticism over the abstinence in a letter addressed to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
The letter, written by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Maliki read that India’s refusal to vote “stifles the important work of Human Rights Council at advancing human rights for all peoples, including those of the Palestinian people”.
However, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday, 3 June, offered a response, saying that India’s position was not new, and it has abstained on earlier occasions also.
MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi informed that similar letters have been written to all nations who didn’t vote.
During a press briefing, Bagchi stated, “Palestine wrote similar letters to all countries who abstained. The position that we took is not a new position. And we have abstained on previous occasions. I think that explains our position quite clearly and addresses these questions.”
Besides India, 13 other countries abstained during the UNHRC resolution which proposed to establish a commission of Inquiry into violations carried out by Israeli forces in Gaza, and the systematic abuses levied on the Palestinian populations.
France, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, and South Korea were some of the nations that didn’t take a stand.
Maliki’s letter also added that “India missed an opportunity to join the international community at this turning point, both crucial and long overdue, on the path to accountability, justice, and peace,” The Indian Express reported.
Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Russia, while Germany, the UK, and Austria were among those who voted in favour of the resolution in Geneva.
Eleven days prior to the UN meet in Geneva, the Permanent Representative of India to the UN had expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people at the Security Council, saying, “I reiterate India’s strong support to the just Palestinian cause and its unwavering commitment to the two-State solution.”
On May 27, India had omitted this expression of support, alluding to a shift in its position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.