Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations, After the Adoption of the Resolution Entitled "Protection of Civilians and Upholding Legal and Humanitarian Obligations" at the Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 27 October 2023

29 October 2023

Mr President


Singapore voted in favour of this resolution after very careful consideration.



2 We deeply regret that this resolution has two glaring and significant omissions.  First, it makes no mention of Hamas’ role in perpetrating the massive and coordinated terror attacks, which led to the brutal killing of 1,400 Israelis and others and the abduction of more than 200 hostages. These are acts of terror that we condemn unequivocally, and the abhorrent deeds of Hamas cannot be justified by any rationale whatsoever. We reiterate our call for the immediate, unconditional and safe release of all civilians taken hostage. Second, this resolution does not acknowledge Israel’s legitimate right to defend its citizens and territory in compliance with international law. As with every country, Israel has a right to defend itself from heinous terrorist attacks, to protect its people from senseless violence and to keep its territory secure.  



Mr President,


3 Nevertheless, Singapore supported this resolution because we have always been a consistent advocate and defender of international law, the UN Charter and the rules-based multilateral system.  This resolution reaffirms all parties’ obligations to respect and uphold international law, including international humanitarian law. It expresses strong support for the efforts by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and for his calls for the immediate and unrestricted access of humanitarian aid, and to respond to the most basic needs of the Palestinian civilian population amidst the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. It demands that all parties immediately and fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law.  These obligations have been spelt out in many UN Security Council Resolutions. All innocent civilian lives must be protected.



4 I thank you for your attention.

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