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India abstains on UNGA resolution

  • Published
    28th Oct, 2023
Context

India has abstained in the UN General Assembly on a resolution that called for an immediate humanitarian truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict leading to a cessation of hostilities.

About

About the UN General Assembly resolution on Israel-Hamas truce:

  • The resolution called for unhindered humanitarian access into the Gaza Strip.
  • Objective:
    • The Jordanian-drafted resolution called for an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.
    • It also demanded the immediate, continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of essential goods and services to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip, including but not limited to water, food, medical supplies, fuel and electricity.
  • The 193 members of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), which met in a resumed 10th Emergency Special Session, voted on the draft resolution submitted by Jordan and co-sponsored by more than 40 nations including Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia and South Africa.
  • The resolution titled “Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations” was overwhelmingly adopted with;
    • 120 nations voting in its favour,
    • 14 against it and
    • 45 abstaining.
  • Besides India, countries that abstained included Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Ukraine and the UK.
  • Demands:
    • The draft resolution also demanded humanitarian access for the International Committee of the Red Cross and all other humanitarian organisations.
    • The resolution demanded that all parties immediately and fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, particularly regarding the protection of civilians and civilian objects, as well as the protection of humanitarian personnel and to facilitate humanitarian access for essential supplies and services to reach all civilians in need in the Gaza Strip.

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly

  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is the main deliberative and policy-making organ of the UN, where all member states have equal representation.
  • The process of voting on resolutions in the UNGA involves several key steps:
    • Submission of Draft Resolutions:Member states can submit draft resolutions on various international issues. These resolutions can cover a wide range of topics, from human rights and humanitarian affairs to economic and social development.
    • Consideration in Committees:Many resolutions are first considered in specialized committees (such as the First Committee on Disarmament and International Security or the Third Committee on Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Affairs). These committees review and may amend the draft resolutions before sending them to the General Assembly.
    • Plenary Session:The draft resolutions that have been approved by the committees are then presented for consideration in the plenary session of the General Assembly.
    • Debate and Discussion:During the plenary session, member states have the opportunity to discuss and debate the draft resolutions. This allows for the expression of various perspectives and concerns.
    • Voting Process:When the debate concludes, a formal vote is called. Each member state has one vote. In most cases, decisions are made by a two-thirds majority, unless specified otherwise. Some issues, such as budgetary matters, require a simple majority.
    • Recording of Votes:The votes of member states are recorded in the official records of the General Assembly. This transparency helps to maintain accountability.
    • Adoption of Resolutions:If the resolution receives the required majority, it is adopted. The resolution becomes an official statement of the General Assembly's position on the specific issue.
    • Implementation and Follow-up:Member states are expected to implement the resolutions they have adopted. The UN Secretariat and relevant agencies may also be tasked with monitoring progress and providing support for implementation.
    • Review and Revisions:Over time, member states may review and, if necessary, revise resolutions to reflect changing circumstances or evolving international norms.
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