Malawi on Friday joined Brazil and the United States of America in the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council to reject a motion designed to make Israel accountable for actions in Palestine.
The resolution condemning actions of Jewish settlers in occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, was eventually adopted.
However, Malawi’s actions cast doubt on its relations with Palestine whose envoy presented letters of credence to President Lazarus Chakwera last month.
But Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson John Kabaghe yesterday said the vote was not against the people of Palestine, but the resolution.
The Friday resolution condemns all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction as well as unlawful, lethal and other excessive use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.
Human rights groups in the country, including Youth and Society (YAS), say they will write Capital Hill on what they term “anti-human rights actions”.
They also accuse the Tonse Alliance administration of allegedly abusing its position in the council.
In an interview yesterday, YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka said Malawi was using its position at the council to obstruct human rights.
He said the Friday decision is not only retrogressive and irresponsible, but also an abdication of Malawi’s international human rights obligations.
Kajoloweka said: “With this growing recklessness and abdication of its obligations, it is important that we begin to hold the government to account. Parliament must play its crucial role in holding the Executive to account in its international relations transactions.”
Former Malawi ambassador to Japan John Chikago said in a separate interview yesterday it was becoming clear that Malawi does not have a foreign policy, as such, politicians at UN forums are acting at will.
“People are just using political power to vote. There is no consistency in what we are doing. We can’t be receiving the Palestine envoy today and tomorrow vote against them,” he said.
Chikago was referring to Palestinian Ambassador Hanan Jarrar who presented her letters of credence to Chakwera last month.
During the meeting, Jarrar said Palestine needs the support of everyone on its issue with Israel, arguing the Russia-Ukraine war has exposed the hypocrisy of the world.
Chikago said the Friday decision puts into doubt Malawi’s relationship with Palestine.
There is an unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine over East Jerusalem.
Out of 89 countries with diplomatic missions in Israel, only 15 operate consulates in Jerusalem while the rest are in Tel Aviv.