Council calls for an international investigation of Gaza flotilla attack
Sunday, 06 June 2010 11:07


The Human Rights Council adopted a draft resolution on the Grave Attacks by Israeli Forces against the Humanitarian Boat Convoy (A/HRC/14/L.1) on 2 June 2010 following an urgent debate on the attack requested by Palestine.


The resolution strongly condemns the Israeli attack, and decides to dispatch an international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law. It also demands the release of those detained, requests that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) obtain information on those injured or detained, and calls upon Israel to allow unimpeded humanitarian assistance to the Gaza strip.


The resolution was adopted by 32 votes in favour, three against, and nine abstentions. The US called for a vote and voted against, as did Italy and the Netherlands. France, Burkina Faso, Belgium, Hungary, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Ukraine and the UK abstained.


While the US called for an independent and credible investigation and for humanitarian access to Gaza, it criticised the resolution of being unbalanced. Its statement largely reflected the Presidential Statement adopted by consensus by the Security Council on 1 June. The main difference between that Statement and the Council’s resolution was the Council’s demand for an international inquiry. France, the UK and the Netherlands each expressed disappointment that EU amendments to the draft resolution were rejected, and that the final text did not send a unified message. The UK in particular stated that it believed the form of the investigation less important than the need to shed light impartially and independently on the events. The Netherlands also said that the Human Rights Council should not go over and beyond the Security Council’s call for an impartial investigation.


The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Kyung Wha Kang opened the urgent debate by expressing shock at what appeared to be disproportionate use of force.

She re-iterated the Security Council’s calls for a full investigation, as well as for the lifting of the blockade, which she referred to as an affront to human dignity.


Israel, as a concerned country, called the convoy a premeditated attack to provoke Israel, and stated that its measures were proportional and necessary. It also again defended the legality of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip, arguing that it is necessary to protect Israeli citizens from Hamas attacks.

Palestine followed, accusing Israel of considering itself above the law, and calling for an independent fact-finding mission to determine what happened.


States were generally strongly critical of the attack, and many expressed deep concern and condemned the attack, with some calling it a blatant disregard of international law. Turkey requested to be the first country to speak, in light of the fact that most victims involved were Turkish citizens, and was particularly condemnatory calling the attack a grave breach of international law. Switzerland, Norway and Sweden also expressed strong criticism, while Canada cautioned that the facts of the incident were not yet clearly established.


States generally called for a full, impartial and independent enquiry into the events. Many States called particularly for an international investigation, going further than the Security Council‘s demand.

States also called for detainees to be provided with full consular access, and for Israel to ensure the safe return of victims to their countries. Some States also highlighted the necessity of providing compensation to victims and holding perpetrators to account (Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Libya, Mexico, Nigeria on behalf of the African Group, Maldives). States further called for the humanitarian aid to be delivered to its destination


States used this opportunity to denounce the Israeli blockade of Gaza, as a violation of international law, and repeatedly called on Israel to end the blockade. A few States such as Australia, the US and Canada said they also recognised Israel’s legitimate security concerns.


Many States congratulated the Council’s immediate response to events, with Norway and Switzerland expressing hope that the Council would respond to other pressing situations in future.


Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were concerned over certain countries’ double standards in calling for the session, yet opposing strong Council action on other equally important human rights issues.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 16:41
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