A divided UN Human Rights Council voted on Monday to condemn Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip and set up a probe into "grave" human rights violations by Israeli forces against the Palestinians.
The resolution setting up a fact-finding mission was adopted despite the lack of Western support.
Thirty-three African, Asian, Arab and Latin American countries voted for the resolution. Thirteen mainly European states abstained, while Canada was the only country to vote against.
AFP story here; read the UNHCHR press release here.
The Canadian Peace Alliance has written this letter of protest to Stephen Harper.
To Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
The Canadian Peace Alliance, Canada's largest pan-Canadian peace network representing more than 150 organizations, condemns your shameful decision to be the only country to vote against the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution calling for an end to the "massive human rights violations" against the people of Gaza. Further, we demand that the Government of Canada publicly support that resolution and call on Israel to immediately cease the killing of Palestinians and withdraw from the Gaza strip.
After 17 days of fighting in Gaza more than 900 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed by the Israelis and more than 3500 wounded. The Israeli actions have been condemned by international human rights organizations and the United Nations as violating international law and the Geneva conventions. The systemic destruction of civilian infrastructure and the collective punishment of the people of Gaza is nothing short of a war crime. The Government of Canada, by not supporting this UN resolution, is complicit in those war crimes.
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza gets worse with each day of the aggressive Israeli attacks. The 1.5 million people of Gaza are threatened with a disaster as the necessities of life: water, food and medical supplies run dangerously low. More than 25,000 Gazan civilians have been internally displaced and there is no route for them to escape the carnage.
The people of Canada want their government to ensure the just application of international law. This decision, once again, shows that the Conservative government supports the wholesale slaughter of innocent people. Thousands of Canadians and hundreds of thousands around the world have demonstrated to end the war in Gaza. We demand you stand with the growing international consensus and call for an end to the war on the people of Gaza now.
If you agree, please email today.
TO: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, email@example.com
Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca
Michael Ignatieff, Liberal Leader, Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca
Jack Layton, New Democratic Party Leader, Layton.J@parl.gc.ca
Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois Leader, Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca
Canadian Peace Alliance, firstname.lastname@example.org