Pakistan welcomes UNHRC resolution on human rights violations by Israel

Published May 28, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi demanded an investigation into violence in Palestine at a session UNHRC session, a Foreign Office statement said. — AP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi demanded an investigation into violence in Palestine at a session UNHRC session, a Foreign Office statement said. — AP/File

Pakistan welcomes the adoption of an Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) led resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in response to “grave violations of international law and human rights” by Israel in Palestine, said a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Friday.

Referring to a special UNHRC session held the previous day, the statement said the UN rights body and its decision to establish a standing international commission to investigate human rights violations represented global resolve to end systemic impunity and injustice and begin a process of meaningful accountability.

“Pakistan stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people and shares the international community’s expectation for effective implementation of this resolution to ensure respect for international law as well as for rights and dignity of the people of Palestine,” the statement read.

Quoting Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoood Qureshi, the statement further said that he welcomed the adoption of the resolution for the formation of an independent commission for probe into Israel’s aggression against Palestine.

It added that the foreign minister lauded the efforts of Pakistani missions in Geneva and New York to highlight the Palestine issue.

The resolution

Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, had requested the UNHRC on May 19 to call a special session in view of Israel’s atrocities in Palestine. Subsequently, the session was held yesterday (Thursday), where the resolution was adopted.

The resolution, which passed with 24 of the council’s 47 members in favour, would spur an unprecedented level of scrutiny on abuses and their “root causes” in the decades-long Middle East dispute between Israel and Palestine.

It sought the launching of an investigation into violations surrounding the latest episode of violence and “systematic” abuses spurring a repetitive cycle of violence over the decades.

The text of the resolution, which was presented by Pakistan on the OIC’s behalf, said the investigators should probe “underlying root causes of recurrent tensions and instability, including systematic discrimination and repression based on group identity”.

The investigation should focus on establishing facts and gather evidence for legal proceedings, and should aim to identify perpetrators to ensure they are held accountable, it said.

It also urged countries to “refrain from transferring arms when they assess... that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses”.

The session

Opening the session, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet voiced particular concern about the “high level of civilian fatalities and injuries” from the attacks on Gaza and warned that Israeli attacks on the enclave “may constitute war crimes”.

She also said Hamas’ “indiscriminate” firing of rockets at Israel was “a clear violation of international humanitarian law”.

Before the vote, Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, slammed the session and the resolution, insisting that they were yet another example of the council’s bias against Israel.

The resolution, she insisted, “has nothing to do with reality, has nothing to do with human rights”. She urged countries not to back the resolution, which she said would “embolden and reward Hamas….”.

Besides, Bachelet said her office had “not seen evidence” that the buildings targeted in Gaza, including medical facilities and media offices, were “hosting armed groups or being used for military purposes”.

The Palestinian foreign minister, meanwhile, accused Israel of instituting “an apartheid system”.

“The right to self defence and the right to resist occupation is a right we have as the Palestinian people,” he said.

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