By Arul Louis
United Nations, Dec 15 (IANS) India has called for international efforts to bring to justice those violating international human rights laws and to ensure protection of humanitarian workers in conflict situations.
“The parties to armed conflicts, including the non-state actors continue to flout the international humanitarian law and perpetrate egregious abuses of human rights with impunity,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal told the General Assembly on Friday.
“Women and children remain the most vulnerable and need special measures for their protection. We must strengthen framework for international cooperation to bring perpetrators to justice.”
At a session on strengthening coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, he spoke on behalf of both India and Sweden, which are both long-standing contributors to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund.
Lal said that protecting humanitarian workers, especially in the situations of armed conflict, was a matter of concern and needed serious attention.
“We welcome the resolution on safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of UN personnel,” he said.
The resolution, however, included a call to all nations to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which India has not signed while Sweden has.
India has reservations about the court because of its potential for over-reach and the influence over it of the Security Council’s permanent members.
When that paragraph was put to vote, India absented itself rather than vote against it or formally abstain. The provision was retained by 95 votes to 14, with 25 abstentions.
Turning to the conduct of humanitarian organisations, including those of the UN, Lal said that they should strictly enforce the policy of zero tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse and ensure protection for the victims.
Outlining the efforts of India to provide humanitarian assistance to countries and people facing conflicts or natural disasters, Lal said that it had rescued 90,000 people including from 50 other countries over the past four years.
India has provided immediate relief to several countries hit by natural disasters as well financial assistance for recovery, he said.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)