Why Did Ireland Abstain From International Law and Human Rights Resolution For Gaza?
Yesterday the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution resolution to set up a commission of inquiry into ongoing human rights issues in the present Gaza conflict, requiring all parties to ensure respect for international law. The motion was passed by 29 votes to 1 against, with 17 countries abstaining..
Now we are sure everyone will agree it is a good thing that the international community is demanding adherence to international law and human rights from all sides, however the worrying thing is that 17 countries abstained including Ireland. In this situation one is reminded of many famous quotes like Edmund Burke’s:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Or in more modern times Desmond Tutu said:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
For Ireland to abstain from a call to ensure the implementation of international law in this conflict is very worrying; does that mean Ireland’s government is indifferent to international law and human rights? Well perhaps its true looking at their own human rights record over the last half century.
But what does abstaining say about our government, what reason could there be for abstaining from a resolution that requires that:
“It is imperative that Israel, Hamas and all Palestinian armed groups strictly abide by applicable norms of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. This entails applying the principles of distinction between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives; proportionality; and precautions in attack. Not abiding by these principles may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity”.
It would appear that to abstain means the Irish government are somehow beholden to the parties who are subject to the resolution. It is highly unlikely that the Palestinian authority has any lobbying power over Ireland, so the question is are the Irish government making political decisions because they are beholden to Israel, and if so what pressure are they coming under and from whom and for what reasons? Are Irish government decisions being swayed by outside forces, because I don’t believe for a minute that an honest Irish government would put threats to trade ahead of their duty to uphold international law and human rights?
We demand the government make a statement as to why they abstained on this resolution.
This in itself is worrying; but more worrying is the fact that the United States voted against the resolution, meaning they actively disagree with adherence to international law and human rights in this case. This isn’t even a resolution to invade a country or such like; it is simply an even handed demand that international law and human rights be respected by all parties in the conflict, yet the USA are saying they don’t think the parties should respect them. This should make the whole world worried as, if this is their world view, it indicates the USA is setting itself up as a rogue nation in international law, and hence a very dangerous player in world politics. When something is clearly wrong it is our duty to stand up and speak the truth, no matter who it may be, and our government should do the same.