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UNA-UK's head of policy calls on the UK to support Gaza ceasefire resolution

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Today, Tuesday 12 December, the UN General Assembly will meet to consider a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Despite two months of unfathomable violence that has killed over 18,000 Palestinian civilians, the UN Security Council has been unable to take diplomatic action following the latest US veto. Disappointingly the UK chose to abstain, despite all other 13 members voting in favour.

Ahead of today's vote, UNA-UK's Head of Policy, Enyseh Teimory, made the following statement:

I was appalled, though not surprised, by the unconscionable decision by the United States of America to veto a Security Council draft resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip last week. The UK’s decision to abstain on a resolution that the remaining 13 members supported, including France, China and Russia, was deeply disappointing. 

More than 18,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed over the last two months - there is no justification for blocking a ceasefire and anything other than fully committed efforts to end the violence is a carte blanche for continued death and destruction. 

Israel's right to self-defence must be exercised in line with duties to protect civilians under International Humanitarian Law. The collective punishment of the Palestinian people, the wholesale destruction of civilian infrastructure, and the killing of innumerable innocent people, is not only unlawful but an affront to basic principles of humanity.

I applaud the UN Secretary-General for taking the major step of invoking Article 99 of the UN Charter, which compelled the Security Council to meet and which was a strong statement in rebuke of the Council’s failure to take diplomatic action to halt this unfolding catastrophe.

UNA-UK reiterates that the United Kingdom bears unique responsibilities and obligations to advance peace and protect civilians in Palestine and Israel by virtue of its permanent membership of the UN Security Council and its historical role as a colonial power in the Middle East. We also note its status as the world’s second-largest arms exporter – including licences worth over half a billion pounds sterling to Israel in the last ten years - and call on the UK government to immediately halt arms exports to Israel.

Ahead of the General Assembly session later today, where all member states will have the opportunity to vote on a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire, I urge the UK to stand up in defence of international law and the protection of civilians and vote in favour of a ceasefire.

The people of Gaza can’t wait - the world is watching.


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