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Syria vote: India calls lack of consensus regrettable

Wednesday August 24, 2011 11:53:04 PM, IANS

Geneva: Explaining its abstention in the vote on a resolution on Syria in the Human Rights Council, India has rued the lack of consensus in the Geneva-based UN body and underlined the need for dialogue to address human rights issues.

"India's traditional position on country specific resolutions is well known. We do not regard spotlighting and finger-pointing at a country for human right violations as helpful," India's representative to Human Rights Council in Geneva said.

"We believe that engaging the country concerned in collaborative and constructive dialogue and partnership is a more pragmatic and productive way forward. This is what India along with its partners in IBSA, Brazil and South Africa has done."

The envoy stressed that it "would have been desirable had this been done by consensus, without resorting to a vote, to reflect the shared perspective and unanimous views of the council. This has regrettably not happened".

"We hope that our position on the vote is not misconstrued as condoning violations of human rights in any country, including Syria," the envoy said.

New Delhi underlined the need for every society to have the means of addressing human rights violations through robust mechanisms within themselves.

"International scrutiny should be resorted to, only when such mechanisms are non-existent or have consistently failed." The UNHRC has called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and ordered an inquiry to investigate alleged abuses committed during the government's crackdown on protesters.

The resolution was adopted at the end of a two-day special session during which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay presented the Report of the Fact-finding Mission on Syria. By a vote of 33 in favor to four against, with nine abstentions, the Human Rights Council welcomed the report and expressed profound concern about its findings.

Unfazed by India's abstention, the US said it continued to support India for Security Council.

"It remains our position that we support a UN security council seat for India," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington on Tuesday when asked if the US still supported backed New Delhi even after it abstained from a UN Human Rights Council vote on Syria.

"I'm not going to speak to the Indian decision," she said. "I think the fact that the resolution was so strong and it was so strongly supported, including in the neighbourhood, speaks volumes about the fact that this guy (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) has been conducting revolting brutality against his own people, and even the neighbourhood's patience is growing thin with him."

Asked if it was an issue of concern for the US that a democratic country like India is not siding with Washington on the issue of Syria, Nuland said, "We continue to talk to India about what we are seeing in Syria."




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