This question may not be answerable but I am curious to know

Question: Why were some important countries such as Japan, Britain, and India absent from the recent UNGA?

Was their absence deliberate and did they offer an explanation?

I am referring to the recent UNGA:

The resolution calls for "an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities." The resolution was adopted with 120 votes in favor, 14 votes against, and 45 abstentions.

  • Could we expand that acronym? I assume that the UN part stands for 'United Nations', but the GA part is obscure to some of us.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 16:53
  • UN General Assembly
    – C.F.G
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 16:55
  • Abstention is the opposite of being absent because you have to explicitly indicate that you are abstaining. That's why it's sometimes called voting "present", e.g. in the US House of Representatives.
    – user71659
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 18:57
  • 1
    Abstention, in the case of parliamentary proceedings such as those of the UNGA, means they were present but refused to cast a vote. Note that this differs from the meaning of the term as applied to votes cast by the general populace for elections or referendums. Abstaining is functionally a less extreme form of voting protest in parliamentary contexts than actually being absent. Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


Abstention doesn't mean absent. Turkmenistan was absent for instance. (Azerbaijan too but not on that vote but only on the Canadian amendment), and a few other countries, but the ones you mentioned abstained (but were present).

Anyhow, the three countries you mentioned (UK, Japan, India) almost certainly abstained because they felt that the resolution should have included the Canadian amendment, condemning Hamas explicitly. Because they voted for that amendment.

  • 1
    But they could easily follow the US and Israel in voting against the resolution. I think the issue is that the governmenet of these nations have a reason not to offend the pro-palestine sentiment in their country or some other countries.
    – Faito Dayo
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 21:18

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