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Humanitarian crisis caused by Israel-Hamas conflict unacceptable: Indian Amb Ruchira Kamboj

Updated on: 09 April,2024 02:47 PM IST  |  United Nations

Kamboj said the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to a large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially women and children

Humanitarian crisis caused by Israel-Hamas conflict unacceptable: Indian Amb Ruchira Kamboj


India has termed the UN Security Council resolution that demanded immediate ceasefire in Gaza for the month of Ramadan a "positive step," asserting that the humanitarian crisis resulting from the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict is "simply unacceptable."

"We are deeply troubled by the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The humanitarian crisis has deepened and instability has been increasing in the region and beyond," India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, told a UN General Assembly meeting here Monday.

She said India views the adoption of a resolution on March 25 by the UN Security Council "as a positive step."

Kamboj said the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to a large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially women and children.

"The resulting humanitarian crisis is simply unacceptable," she said, adding that Delhi has strongly condemned the deaths of civilians in the conflict and it is imperative to avoid the loss of civilian lives in any conflict situation.

The UNSC resolution, adopted last month, demanded an "immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire.

It also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as the humanitarian access to address their medical and other humanitarian needs. The adoption of the resolution had come as a breakthrough in the Israel-Hamas conflict which had been on for more than five months then.

The 15-nation Council adopted the resolution, put forth by the 10 non-permanent elected members of the Council, with 14 nations voting in favour, none against, and an abstention by the US, a permanent member.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had said that the "long-awaited" resolution on Gaza must be implemented. "Failure would be unforgivable."

However, on March 22, just three days before the Council adopted the resolution, permanent members Russia and China vetoed a different resolution on Gaza tabled by the US. The US-led draft had stated the "imperative" for "an immediate and sustained ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides."

The veto by Beijing and Moscow triggered the debate in the General Assembly under the requirement that the President of the 193-member UN body will convene a meeting within 10 working days whenever a veto is cast in the Council.

Kamboj underlined that India's position on the conflict has been clearly articulated on several occasions by the country's leadership.

She said there can be no justification for terror attacks or hostage taking and stressed that the terror attacks on Israel on October 7 last year were shocking and deserve "our unequivocal condemnation."

"India has a long-standing and uncompromising position against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages," Kamboj said.

India voiced its concern over the "dire" humanitarian situation in Gaza and underlined the imperative for the scaling up of humanitarian aid to the people in the strip immediately in order to avert a further deterioration in the situation.

Kamboj welcomed efforts of the United Nations and the international community in working towards peace in the region.

She noted that India has provided humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine and "will continue to do so."

Indian leaders have repeatedly emphasised that only a two-state solution achieved through direct and meaningful negotiations between both sides on final status issues will deliver an enduring peace.

"We are committed to supporting a two-state solution where the Palestinian people are able to live freely in an independent country within secure borders with due regard to the security needs of Israel," Kamboj said and urged all parties to foster conditions conducive to resuming direct peace negotiations at an early date.

Citing the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that in the six months between October 7, 2023 and the afternoon of April 8, at least 33,207 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and 75,933 injured.

According to the Government Media Office in Gaza, fatalities include about 14,500 children and 9,560 women.

More than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, including 33 children, have been killed in Israel, the vast majority on October 7 last year, when Hamas carried out the shocking terror attacks against Israel.

President of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly Dennis Francis expressed deep regret that the General Assembly must routinely meet on the veto initiative "due to the perennial inability of the Security Council to speak with one voice on matters of grave importance."

"Once again, we convene under this initiative as conflict in Gaza rages into its sixth bloody month, as death and destruction rule the day, and as divisions among Member States, especially in the Council, persist," he said.

Francis described the conflict in Gaza as "blight on our common humanity."

With Ramadan ending on April 9, Francis said millions around the world will celebrate the religious holiday Eid-al-Fitr in the safety of their homes "while Gazans will again offer prayers on the ruins of mosques and their obliterated homes."

"I implore the Security Council members to meaningfully use their power in support of an immediate and importantly, a lasting ceasefire on the ground," he said. 

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