Holly Cairns TD

The Government must not evade its obligation under the Genocide Convention to act to prevent a genocide in Gaza, according to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.

“The level of death and devastation in Gaza is unparalleled and unprecedented in modern times. Civilians are being killed and maimed in their tens of thousands, while the western world sits idly by.

“The Government motion on Gaza, which will be debated in the Dáil today, does not give any commitment to intervene to support South Africa in its case under the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice. Instead, the Government is adopting a wait and see approach and sitting on its hands until a preliminary ruling has been issued.

“This is in contravention of its obligation under the Genocide Convention, which it ratified in 1976, to act to prevent a genocide – not just punish one. The ICJ has previously noted that a State’s obligation to prevent genocide, and the duty to act, is triggered from the moment it learns a serious risk of genocide is occurring.

“The Government’s reluctance to act is in marked contrast to Germany, which has already announced that it intends to intervene in the case as a third party on the side of Israel. The Government’s insistence that its hands are tied, until there is a preliminary ruling, lacks all credibility. The Government’s approach lacks courage and is at odds with the annihilation we are witnessing – and its words of support for Palestinians.

“Tomorrow, the Dáil will debate a Social Democrats’ motion which makes a single demand of Government – to support South Africa and intervene in the case at the ICJ at the earliest available opportunity.

“If the Government does not vote against our motion, and it passes tomorrow night, it must act and immediately signal its intention to intervene at the ICJ in support of South Africa. As a country, we must stand on the right side of history with the Palestinian people.”

January 23, 2024

Back to all Posts