Reaction: UK abstention from UN Gaza vote makes a mockery of commitment to international law

19 May 2018 - 9:00am
Press release

On 18 May 2018, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva voted to establish an independent international Commission of Inquiry to investigate violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, with a focus on recent events in Gaza, where Israel used lethal force against Palestinians during the Great Return March, killing over 100 and injuring thousands.

The resolution to establish the Commission of Inquiry was voted through with 29 states in favour, two opposed (U.S. and Australia), and 14 states abstaining.

The UK abstained from the vote, and released a statement calling the vote "unbalanced" and calling on Israel to conduct its own investigation.

Ryvka Barnard, War on Want’s senior campaigner on militarism and security, says:

“It’s disgraceful that the UK has abstained from a UN Human Rights Council vote for a Commission of Inquiry into Israel’s killing of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza.

In doing so, the UK has gone against a broad international consensus amongst leading UN experts on human rights, as well as international, Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations, which agree that the only way to approach justice is through an independent inquiry.

Trusting that Israel can fairly and neutrally investigate its own war crimes is an insult to any common sense definition of justice, and makes a mockery of the UK’s stated commitment to international law, human rights, and accountability."

Ryvka is available for interviews and comment on request.

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Campaigner – Militarism & Security, War on Want

rbarnard@waronwant.org

Notes to editors:

UK Mission to Geneva statement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/human-rights-council-special-session-28th

UN experts express concern that Israeli officials have expressed that they will conduct investigations to avoid international scrutiny: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22950

Gaza: UN to launch war crimes investigation into Israeli forces' shooting of protesters The Independent, 18 May 2018

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