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India hesitant about endorsing UN's report on Gaza

By Betwa Sharma
Last updated on: November 05, 2009 14:40 IST
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India has expressed its reservations about making an 'unqualified endorsement' on the findings and recommendations of the Goldstone report at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly.

"We have reservations in making unqualified endorsement of the various recommendations as well as some of the procedures adopted by the Goldstone report, including the involvement of the International Criminal Court and that of the Security Council," Member of Parliament B K Hariprasad said, speaking on behalf of the Indian delegation.

While speaking about the country's stand, the MP recalled earlier objections voiced by India on "the weakness of the report, including the fact that the report itself admits that its findings do not necessarily reach the standard of proof applicable in criminal trials."

Prepared by the UN Fact Finding Mission, headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone, the report accuses both Hamas and Israeli forces of war crimes in the Gaza strip from December 2008 to January this year.

India underlined that the report should have addressed its recommendations solely to the Human Rights Council in Geneva and not to other UN institutions, including the Security Council. It has, however, supported the report's recommendation that calls for accountability.

"All the concerned parties involved in the Gaza conflict need to introspect and take firm action against those responsible for violation of international humanitarian law and human rights in law in credible and speedy manner," Hariprasad said.

"We believe that the solution to the Palestine issue should be based on the relevant UN resolutions, the Arab peace plans and the Quartet road map," he added.

Expressing its 'continuing commitment' to the Palestinian struggle, India said it had donated $ 1 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Meanwhile, the Non-Aligned Movement has endorsed the Goldstone report and urged member states to vote for the relevant resolution.

"The Non-Aligned Movement urges the General Assembly and other United Nations principal and subsidiary organs to seriously consider and act upon the report and findings to the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Military Action," said Maged Abdelaziz, speaking on behalf of the NAM.

"It is necessary to ensure the appropriate monitoring and reporting on the undertaking of such investigation to determine the course of further action, if necessary, including by the Security Council," he added.

Western and Israeli diplomats have, earlier, voiced concerns that the report is obstructing the Israel-Palestine peace process.

"The report before you was conceived in hate and executed in sin. From its inception in a one-sided mandate, the Gaza fact-finding mission was a politicised body with predetermined conclusions," Israel's envoy to the UN, Gabriela Shalev said, while noting that the General Assembly had ignored the fact that the Jewish nation was a victim of terrorism.

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