Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Jamaica’s no vote at UN an act of bravery

Published:Thursday | December 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I must commend the Government of Jamaica for its recent position at the United Nations Assembly. For the uninitiated, abstaining may seem to be cowardly, but at the UN abstaining or not showing up for a vote is just as important as a yes or no vote. Jamaica's abstention was an act of bravery and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and her team should be congratulated on the high level of diplomacy which was displayed.

The UN's resolution on Jerusalem on December 21 would have been laughable if not for its strong anti-Semitic undertones. The resolution read in part: "Expressing in this regards its deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem, (the UN) affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic mission in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Demands that all States comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognise any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions." An analysis of this resolution reveals that the UN thinks it has powers that it is does not possess. First of all, the UN has not sought to tell any country, with the exception of Israel, where its capital should be and it cannot legally do so. Second, the United States of America is a sovereign nation and the UN cannot force it to rescind its decision to declare and recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Jamaica has always made its mark internationally and its recent abstention at the UN is another quiet yet powerful trend setting move.

Marsha Thomas