Canada votes in favour of UN resolution as members overwhelmingly call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire in Gaza

By CityNews Staff and The Associated Press

The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to demand a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza in a strong demonstration of global support for ending the Israel-Hamas war.

Canada was among 153 nations voting in favour of the non-binding UN resolution. There were 23 abstentions and 10 votes against the resolution.

Canada’s vote represents a major shift in its long-standing position of voting with Israel on major resolutions at the international body. In addition to a humanitarian ceasefire, Tuesday’s vote at the UN General Assembly demands the “protection of civilians, the immediate, unconditional release of all hostages, and humanitarian access.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly addressed reporters after Canada’s vote, saying, “We’re not naïve.”

“This ceasefire cannot be one-sided. Hamas continues to hold hostages, use civilians as shields, and attacks Israel. Hostages must be released immediately, civilians must be protected, and foreign nationals, including, of course, Canadians, must be allowed to leave Gaza,” she said.

This comes after the prime ministers of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand called for “international efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire” in a joint statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon began their call by saying the countries mourn every Israeli and Palestinian innocent life which “has been lost in this conflict.”

“We unequivocally condemn Hamas’ terror attacks on Israel on October 7, the appalling loss of life, and the heinous acts of violence perpetrated in those attacks, including sexual violence. We condemn Hamas’ unacceptable treatment of hostages and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all remaining hostages,” the statement reads.

“We recognize Israel’s right to exist and right to defend itself. In defending itself, Israel must respect international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. We are alarmed at the diminishing safe space for civilians in Gaza. The price of defeating Hamas cannot be the continuous suffering of all Palestinian civilians.”

Support during the latest vote was higher than it was for an Oct. 27 resolution that called for a “humanitarian truce” leading to a cessation of hostilities, where the vote was 120-14 with 45 abstentions.

After the United States vetoed a resolution in the Security Council on Friday demanding a humanitarian cease-fire, Arab and Islamic nations called for an emergency session of the 193-member General Assembly to vote on a resolution making the same demand.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding. But the assembly’s messages “are also very important” and reflect world opinion, U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Monday.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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