India among 12 to abstain from UNHRC Ukraine vote

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan were among the 12 countries which abstained from voting on a UN Human Rights Council resolution seeking to address the deteriorating situation in Ukraine “stemming from Russian aggression” while China and Eritrea were the only two countries to vote against it in the 47-member body.
In another balancing act, while participating in discussions that preceded the voting, India called for respect and protection of human rights of people in Ukraine and reiterated its “abiding commitment to global promotion and protection of human rights”.
The resolution sought an additional mandate for the Commission of Inquiry established earlier to specifically probe violations in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Sumy in Ukraine. Adopted with 33 votes in favour, it also urged Moscow to provide international agencies unhindered access to people who have been “transferred” from conflict-affected areas of Ukraine and are allegedly being held in Russian territory. Moscow claims these people entered Russia on their own free will.
India had also abstained in March from voting in the Council on the resolution that established the Commission of Inquiry. India, however, has condemned the civilian killings in Bucha and also supported calls for an independent probe. Significantly, while China too had abstained on that occasion, this time it voted against the resolution saying it was neither balanced nor objective and that it was only going to escalate tensions.
With Russia expelled from the Council, it was also China that sought a vote on the resolution. India has so far abstained from voting on all resolutions and procedural votes, totalling 12, on Ukraine in various UN bodies. On human rights, in the past too it hasn’t supported any “intrusive” measure against any country.
The government said in the discussions before the voting that India had taken note of the updates on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Ukraine provided by the high commissioner for human rights, the members of the Commission of Inquiry and others.
India’s permanent representative in Geneva I M Pandey said the situation had further deteriorated since the Council last discussed this issue in March. “From the reports coming out of Ukraine, it is evident that women and children have been disproportionately impacted and that they form the bulk of those who have moved to neighbouring countries and been displaced internally in Ukraine,” he said, adding India supports all efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people of Ukraine. The official reiterated India’s position that the contemporary global order is based on international law, UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of all States.
“The impact of the situation is being felt beyond the region. Oil prices are skyrocketing. There is also a shortage of foodgrains and fertilisers in the world. This destabilisation has burdened people around the world, especially in developing and least developed countries,” he said. “We support calls to ensure free and uninterrupted humanitarian access and safe passage for the people,” added the official.

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