Palestinian Resolutions of the 51st Session: Voting Results

As mentioned in the December issue of Palestine & The UN, the General Assembly of the United Nations in its 51st session adopted twenty-four resolutions related to the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East. Of those resolutions, nineteen were Palestinian resolutions, two were on the Syrian Golan, one on the Middle East peace process, one on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and one on the establishment of a nuclear-free weapon zone in the Middle East. The following is a chronological listing of the nineteen Palestinian resolutions, including the agenda items, dates of adoption and resolution numbers, and their voting results (Y=Yes, N=No, A=Abstention):

(Put the following in a shaded box.)

Item 35 - Question of Palestine (4 December 1996):

Res. 51/23 Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People:

104 Y, 2 N, 46 A

Res. 51/24 Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat: 107 Y, 2 N, 46 A

Res. 51/25 Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat: 157 Y, 2 N, 3 A

Res. 51/26 Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine: 152 Y, 2 N, 4 A

Item 33 - Situation in the Middle East (4 December 1996):

Res. 51/27 Jerusalem: 148 Y, 1 N, 13 A

Item 109 - Right of Peoples to Self-Determination (12 December 1996):

Res. 51/82 Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination: 159 Y, 3 N, 12 A

Item 84 - United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) (13 December 1996):

Res. 51/124 Assistance to Palestine refugees: 159 Y, 1 N, 2 A

Res. 51/125 Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA: Consensus

Res. 51/126 Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities:

157 Y, 2 N, 1 A

Res. 51/127 Offers by member states of grants and scholarships for higher education, including vocational training, for Palestine refugees: 163 Y, 0 N, 1 A

Res. 51/128 Operations of UNRWA: 159 Y, 2 N, 2 A

Res. 51/129 Palestine refugees' properties and their revenues: 152 Y, 2 N, 6 A

Res. 51/130 University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds" for Palestine refugees: 159 Y, 3 N, 1 A

Item 85 - Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (13 December 1996):

Res. 51/131 Work of Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices: 79 Y, 2 N, 76 A

Res. 51/132 Applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention: 156 Y, 2 N, 3 A

Res. 51/133 Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan: 152 Y, 2 N, 6 A

Res. 51/134 Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem: 149 Y, 2 N, 8 A

Item 21 (d) - Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance: Assistance to the Palestinian people (13 December 1996):

Res. 51/150 Assistance to the Palestinian people: Consensus

Item 12 - Report of the Economic and Social Council (16 December 1996):

Res. 51/190 Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources: 133 Y, 3 N, 21 A

In general, the vote improved this session as most of the resolutions were overwhelmingly adopted. 80 member states voted in favor of all Palestinian resolutions and another twenty-seven states abstained only on one or two resolutions. These two groups were essentially comprised of the Arab, Islamic and Non-Aligned states. Next was the vote of the members of the European Union, Russia, Japan in a group comprised of thirty-nine states, who abstained on three resolutions. The remainders are few. Thirteen abstained on four or five resolutions; three abstained on seven or more. There was one negative vote cast by Vanuatu and two cast by Palau. * Lastly, were the United States with 14 negative votes and Israel with sixteen.

Many member states were effectively supportive, however, we must mention some who were most supportive in all aspects throughout the session. These include Senegal, Egypt, Cuba, Malaysia and Indonesia.

While the vote in general was satisfying, a few questions remain about the votes of some. For instance, the abstention on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination by Norway, Argentina and the Baltic republics, as well as the one negative vote cast by Vanuatu on another resolution, remain incomprehensible.

For a detailed idea of the voting of member states, see the following seven groupings, which are based on the voting results on the Palestinian resolutions during the 51st session of the General Assembly, with the exception of two resolutions, Assistance to the Palestinian People and Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA, which were adopted by consensus. (Absences are denoted by the numbers appearing in parantheses following the name of a member state.)

Group 1: States voting in favor of all resolutions

Afghanistan (7), Algeria, Angola (1), Antigua & Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde (2), Chad (4), Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, DPR of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador (3), Gabon (1), Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran (1), Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgystan (2), Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali (9), Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia (10), Nepal, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea (5), Philippines, Qatar, St. Kitts & Nevis (6), St. Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles (5), Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, UR of Tanzania, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen (4), Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Group 2: States abstaining on one or two resolutions

Albania (2), Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina (3), Cameroon, Congo (6), Cyprus, Ethiopia (2), Gambia (1), Guinea, Haiti (1), Honduras, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nicaragua (6), Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Sierra Leone (2), Solomon Islands, Suriname, Turkey and Ukraine.

Group 3: States abstaining on three resolutions

Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados (6), Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica (9), Cote d'Ivoire (2), Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (1), Sweden, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan (6).

Group 4: States abstaining on four or five resolutions

Argentina, Croatia, Eritrea, Estonia, Georgia, Guatemala (4), Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Samoa, Swaziland (2) and Uruguay.

Group 5: States abstaining on seven or more resolutions

Fiji, Marshall Islands and Micronesia.

Group 6: States casting one or two negative votes

Palau (10) and Vanuatu.

Group 7: States casting mostly negative votes

Israel and United States of America.

States with a broad pattern of absence:

Comoros (12), Dominica(12), Dominican Republic(16), Equatorial Guinea (16), Greece (12), Lesotho (16), Liberia (12), Madagascar (11), Mozambique (15), St. Vincent & Grenadines (16), Tajikistan (12), Turkmenistan (16) and Zaire (16).

* Correction: Micronesia cast one negative vote in a committee but later changed it to an abstention in the plenary.