Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Freedom Flotilla Fallout
By Curtis F.J. Doebbler
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, June 7, 2010
Geneva - On 2 June 2010, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a
resolution condemning “in the strongest terms possible the outrageous attack
by the Israeli forces against the humanitarian flotilla of ships” and
calling for the Council to dispatch an independent international fact
finding mission to investigate the violations of international law resulting
from Israel’s action.
The resolution also calls on Israel to “to
immediately lift the siege on occupied Gaza and other occupied Territories.”
The resolution entitled "The Grave Attacks by Israeli Forces Against
the Humanitarian Boat Convoy" (UN Doc. A/HRC/14/L.1) passed with 32 votes in
favour, 3 against, and 9 abstentions.
The United States voted
against the resolution claiming that the Council should have waited until
the facts had been “discovered and understood.”
majority of 47 states that a members of the Council as well as observers
spoke in favour of the resolution condeming Israel’s action during the
emergency meeting that spanned two days, starting on Tuesday evening.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had condemned the attacks on the
opening day of the Council session saying she was "shocked" at Israel's
actions and her deputy reiterated this sentiment speaking at the opening of
the special meeting.
The Israeli Ambassador opened the meeting by
"regretting the loss of life" caused by his government's action, but then
spent almost ten minutes arguing that if the Council took any action on this
matter it would interfere with the peace process and claiming that too
little information is known about the situation.
Speaking next the
Palestinian delegate said Israel's action and its defense of these actions
showed that it "believed that it was above the law." He also stressed that
"humanitarian assistance should reach the Gaza Strip immediately." The
Palestinian Ambassador was not in Geneva for the meeting.
Turkish Ambassador called the Israeli actions "unacceptable" and recalled
the condemnations issues by several states, the UN Security Council, the UN
Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
total seventy-two states took the floor as well as two intergovernmental
organizations, the Palestinian National Institution for Human Rights, and
twelve non-governmental organizations.
In a statement read out on
their behalf the Palestinian National Institution for Human Rights condemned
the Israel actions calling it a violation of the human rights of freedom
expression and assembly as well as the rights of human rights defenders. It
also called on sanctions to be imposed on Israel.
The NGO, Nord-Sud
XXI referred to the words of the UN Special Rapporteur who has stated that
"[i]t is essential that those Israelis responsible for this lawless and
murderous behavior, including political leaders who issued the orders, be
held criminally accountable for their wrongful acts."
The vote came
at the end of a special segment of Human Rights Council, which is currently
holding its 14th Regular Session in Geneva, Switzerland.
had been called by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic
Conference, Sudan on behalf of Arab States and Palestine, who also drafted
the resolution that was then discussed with other states.
Rights Council adopted the resolution just hours after the UN Security
Council refused to consider a resooution and instead agreed upon a
presidential statement that in which it “deeply regrets the loss of life and
injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military
operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza." The
Security Council had expressly rejected a proposal by Arab countries that
would have demanded an impartial investigation, similar to the one called
for by the Human Rights Council.
The Human Rights Council will now
have to decide on the exact makeup of the independent international fact
finding mission and to name its members.