India has favoured a discussion in the UN General Assembly, the first in 12 years, on ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. As many as 113 countries, including India voted in its favour, while 21 others including Pakistan opposed the idea of having a debate. Seventeen countries registered their abstention. Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said that the discussions on the concept required open, inclusive and transparent deliberation. The Responsibility to Protect was one of the foremost of every State, and as such, India would support the inclusion of such an item on the agenda for the current session, he said.
Akbaruddin said India is voting in support of the recommendation of the General Committee to include it on the agenda of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly with the understanding that the sponsors of the proposal aim to have a debate at the 72nd Session only.
This is the for the first time in 12 years that the General Assembly voted to include the item on the formal agenda. “They have articulated their objective as wanting to have a thematic debate and not one that addresses country-specific situations, and have also indicated that they do not seek the adoption of any resolution.
“This is in line with our understanding that the gravity of the normative concepts at stake requires careful deliberation rather than pre-emptive decision making,” he said. India like many others recognises the need to find appropriate ways to address these legally complex and politically challenging issues, he noted.