Australia has defended its role as one of only two countries – along with the United States – to reject a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to investigate the killings of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza on the grounds it prejudged Israel.
Australia and US were the only countries to vote against the resolution to send a commission of investigators, but it passed with the backing of 29 members of the 47-nation UN human rights body. Another 14 countries including Britain, Germany and Japan, abstained.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Fairfax Media the resolution prejudged the outcome and failed to acknowledge the role of the Palestinian group Hamas in inciting the protests in Gaza. Some 62 people were killed by the Israeli military’s response.
“Australia voted against the Human Rights Council resolution because of our principled opposition to resolutions that fail the test of balance and impartiality,” Ms Bishop said.
“The UNHRC resolution pre-judged the outcome of an inquiry into violations of international law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.
“Nor did it refer to the role of Hamas in inciting violent protests.”