The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) welcomes the Australian Government’s principled decision to vote against all resolutions under the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) biased Agenda Item 7, which each year is devoted exclusively to condemning Israel.
As Foreign Minister Marise Payne told the UNHRC on February 25 in stating Australia’s opposition to the existence of Agenda Item 7, “It is our firm view that a separate agenda item focussing on a single country situation – in this case, Israel – is inappropriate. It does not occur in any other context, for any other country.”
In addressing the UNHRC on March 22, the Australian representative said, “We do not condone actions that diminish the prospect for peace or contribute to the current stalemate. For this reason, we will maintain our principled opposition to Item 7 and vote no on all four resolutions.”
AIJAC also commends the Government for its principled decision to vote against adopting a UNHRC report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza. Israel maintains that report is factually incorrect and biased, particularly in dismissing Israel’s right to self-defence to protect its citizens and borders from violent attacks.
There were nine votes against this resolution – from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Fiji, Hungary, Togo, and Ukraine – and 15 abstentions.
Of the twenty-four votes in favour, all but three came from countries with dubious human rights records including Afghanistan, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, and Tunisia.
AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein said: “Australia has demonstrated moral leadership in its consistent, principled opposition to the institutionalised bias inflicted on Israel at the UNHRC. These resolutions are merely used as a crude political tool to condemn Israel on the international stage and make no genuine contribution towards peace and stability for Israelis and Palestinians. We hope that Australia’s leadership will inspire reform of the UNHRC so that it can revert to its intended purpose of promoting human rights, instead of having its agenda hijacked by serial human rights abusers including current members Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and Qatar.”
For additional information, contact AIJAC on (03)-9681-6660.