UN Rights Council debates call for halt to arms sales to Israel

Photo: Reuters

The UN Human Rights Council was engaged in a debate today over a proposal to demand a halt in arms sales to Israel, amid a war in Gaza that has resulted in over 33,000 deaths, the majority being civilians.

Adoption of the text would represent the first instance of the United Nations’ premier human rights institution taking a stand on what has been described as the most devastating conflict to afflict the besieged Palestinian territory.

The draft resolution urges nations to “cease the sale, transfer, and diversion of arms, munitions, and other military equipment to Israel” as a measure to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.”

The document underscores a ruling by the International Court of Justice in January, stating “there is a plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza.

Introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members, excluding Albania, today’s draft resolution demands “an immediate ceasefire” along with “immediate emergency humanitarian access and assistance.”

This move follows the UN Security Council’s resolution passed last week in New York, which also called for a ceasefire, thanks to a pivotal abstention from the United States—Israel’s primary ally and largest arms provider. Nonetheless, this call for a ceasefire has yet to influence the situation on the ground.

The conflict in Gaza erupted following an attack by Hamas on October 7, which led to approximately 1,170 fatalities in Israel, predominantly among civilians, based on an AFP compilation of Israeli official statistics.

On the same day, Palestinian militants captured over 250 hostages, with 130 still in Gaza, including 34 reported dead by the military.

The retaliatory campaign by Israel has resulted in at least 33,037 deaths, mainly among women and children, as reported by the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza.