Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem said Sri Lanka’s decision to abstain from voting was unacceptable.
This was the second time Sri Lanka abstained from voting in a UNESCO resolution critical of Israeli actions in Jerusalem and Gaza.
Last December Sri Lanka abstained from voting on a resolution by UNESCO which denounced Israeli violations in and around the al-Haram al-Sharif (also known as the Temple Mount) compound in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.
This week UNESCO’s executive board passed a resolution that criticises Israel’s actions in occupied Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, with Palestinian leaders hailing the move as a “step forward” and a “victory for international law”.
The resolution, which describes Jerusalem as “occupied” and declares Israel’s sovereignty over the city “null and void”, was backed by 22 countries, a UNESCO spokesman said on Tuesday.
Twenty-two countries voted in favor of the resolution, including Russia, China, Brazil, Sweden, South Africa, Iran, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Chad and seven Arab countries. Ten countries voted against the resolution, including Germany, which had pushed for a deal with the Arab states over the resolution. The United States, Italy, Great Britain, Holland, Lithuania, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine and Togo also opposed the resolution.
Twenty-three countries abstained, including France, Spain, Slovenia, Estonia, India, Argentina, Mexico and Japan. Other abstaining nations included Haiti, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts, Kenya, Trinidad, Albania, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, El Salvador, South Korea and Sri Lanka. Three countries did not participate in the vote – Nepal, Serbia and Turkmenistan. (Colombo Gazette)