Gaza Border Deaths: Unhrc Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:49 am on 22nd March 2019.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Foreign Secretary 11:49 am, 22nd March 2019

I believe it does. Yesterday, we read the explanation for that decision in an article by the Foreign Secretary, along with the announcement that the UK would vote against all resolutions before the Human Rights Council under standing item 7 of its agenda—even those in line with official UK policy.

I want to ask the Minister about the logic of the Foreign Secretary’s argument. He argues that because item 7 gives disproportionate attention to the situation in Palestine above all other conflicts, on principle the Government will veto all resolutions falling under that heading. By that logic, would it have been this Government’s position to veto all Council resolutions on apartheid, which was a standing agenda item for 26 years, or all Council resolutions on Chile under Pinochet, which was a standing item for 15 years, simply on a point of principle?

Even if we accept that argument, let us look at what the Foreign Secretary says next:

“Britain will continue to support scrutiny of Israel…in the HRC, so long as it is justified and not proposed under Item 7.”

But the report into events in Gaza debated at the Council today is being considered under item 2, not item 7. Surely the Minister cannot deny that its criticism of the use of live ammunition is justified. By the Foreign Secretary’s logic, why have the Government refused to support the report? If Dr Loubani cannot be given justice for the injuries he has suffered and the killing of his colleagues, surely he deserves at least to hear the world, including our country, unequivocally condemn it.