UN General Assembly tenth emergency special session: protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations – explanation of vote

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Statement by H.E. Mr James Larsen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Australia appreciates the Arab Group bringing forward this Resolution.

Australia is gravely concerned about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Human suffering is widespread and unacceptable.

Civilians who fled northern Gaza are now being pushed further south, and as the conflict spreads south, there are increasingly few safe places to go.

The world has witnessed a harrowing number of civilian deaths, including children. This must not continue.

Australia again calls for safe, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access in Gaza, and safe passage for civilians.

We acknowledge the gravity of the Secretary-General invoking Article 99.

Australia welcomed the humanitarian pause agreed by the parties in November and brokered by the United States, Egypt and Qatar.

This resolution, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, is the world urging these pauses be resumed, so urgent humanitarian aid can flow.

Australia is part of that call and we support this resolution.

We see such pauses as critical steps on a path to a sustainable and permanent ceasefire.

But such a ceasefire cannot be one-sided.

  Australia also supported the amendments proposed by Austria and the United States – because we believe this resolution should have gone further, by unequivocally condemning Hamas as the perpetrators of the 7 October attack on innocent Israeli civilians.

That terrorist attack precipitated this crisis. This critical fact should be clearly recorded in this place. 

Australia unequivocally condemns the ongoing acts of terror by Hamas; its use of human shields and its use of civilian infrastructure to launch attacks on Israel.

Australia reiterates our demand for Hamas to release all remaining hostages, immediately and unconditionally.

In defending itself, Israel must respect international law, including international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, must be protected.

Hamas must be defeated and dismantled. But this cannot be without account for the protection and welfare of Palestinian civilians.


Australia supports Palestinians’ right to self-determination.

There must not be forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, physical re-occupation of Gaza, any reduction in territory, or any use of siege or blockade.

And Gaza must never again be used as a platform for terrorism.

We reaffirm that settlements are illegal under international law and a serious obstacle to lasting peace.

And we recommit ourselves to working with any sincere partner toward that just and enduring peace in the form of a two-state solution, where Israelis and Palestinians can live securely within internationally recognised borders.

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