E.U., Canada and Japan oppose mandate of UN “fact-finding” mission

March 26, 2009 — The following countries protested the one-sided nature of the UN Human Rights Council’s latest “Fact Finding Mission” on Gaza, in plenary statements explaining their refusal to support draft resolution L. 37 (“Follow-up to Resolution S-9/1 on the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip”):

European Union:

In its explanation of vote on the draft resolution S-9/1, in January this year, the EU has expressed its utmost concern regarding the severe humanitarian and human rights situation in the occupied Gaza Strip.  We have deeply deplored the high number of civilian casualties including women and children.  At the same time, we unfortunately had to conclude that the resolution only addressed one side of the conflict.  This also applied to the dispatching of an independent international fact finding mission.  While we recognize the need to investigate human rights violations and international humanitarian law violations in Gaza, and urge all parties to fully cooperate with such investigations, we are not convinced that the fact finding mission dispatched by the Human Rights Council is the right means to do so, especially as concerns investigation of violations of international humanitarian law.  Furthermore, we find its mandate as drafted by resolution S-9/1 unbalanced.  The fact that it has to date not been possible to appoint the members of the mission confirms our doubts in this regard. We also wish to remind that there are international investigations going on under the leadership of the United Nations Secretary General and Israeli investigations into the matter.  For these reasons, the EU will call for a vote on resolution L. 37 and will abstain.  This explanation of vote has been agreed by the European Union as a whole.

Canada:

Canada remains deeply concerned about the recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas and the difficult humanitarian situation that resulted.  As indicated during the recent special session, Canada believes that the resolution adopted at that time failed to clearly establish the responsibilities and obligations of all sides involved in the conflict.  Therefore, Canada will vote no on this resolution.

Japan:

Regarding the independent fact finding mission whose dispatch was decided in resolution S-9/1. As the delegation of Japan mentioned earlier in the plenary, we have the expectation that it will commence its investigation in a fair and independent manner at an early date, and submit to the Human Rights Council a report that will contribute to the improvement of the human rights situation.  At the same time, however, we still think that the mandated scope of this mission should cover all parties concerned in a more balanced way.  Therefore, the delegation of Japan will abstain on this resolution.

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