UNITED NATIONS: - Pakistan has sharply criticized the UN Security Council for failing to enforce a ceasefire in Gaza, saying an effective and swift application of the concept of protection of civilians was a "litmus test" for the 15-member body. "The challenge of addressing gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law are exacerbated by the problem of inequity in the international response," Farukh Amil, the acting Pakistani permanent representative, said in the council's debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. "While in some situations there is a quick and even robust response, in others such as Gaza, the perpetrators enjoy virtual impunity. The record of the Security Council itself in this context is not without blemish," he said in a forthright speech on Tuesday night. He called for renewed determination to provide protection to all civilians in armed conflict, "including those we see dying by the minute in Gaza", where Israel's military offensive continues despite the Council's call for an immediate ceasefire. "As Gaza burns, the world is watching us. The world is watching this Council in particular with disappointment. For while this Council spends a day debating high sounding moral principles and respect for international law, it has failed to carry out its own primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security," Ambassador Amil said. He said these were no ordinary circumstances for the discussion on the subject. "The 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza, collectively punished, callously persecuted, strangulated and blockaded for years by Israel, the occupying power, have been subjected to a new deliberate campaign of terror, death and destruction, which continues for the 19th day as the entire world watches in horror and disbelief." "The besieged people of Gaza, we must not forget, are mostly the Palestinians, who were originally dispossessed and driven from their homes by the Israeli occupation. Under the blockade in Gaza, the choice given to them was starve or submit." It was clear that civilians were continuing to bear the brunt of armed conflict, he said, adding that was also the case in Gaza. Less than a month ago, the Pakistani delegate said, the international community had celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but today, the Security Council seemed unable to stop the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians in Gaza. Indeed, after the Council's adoption of resolution 1860 (2009), which underscored the need for a settlement of the Palestinian question, the number of Palestinian dead continued to rise and the destruction of the Gaza Strip continued. "Te empirical evidence throughout history shows that systematic and consistent violations of the rights of civilians are most frequent and pervasive in situations of foreign occupation and suppression of the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination. This particularly holds true for the people of Palestine and of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir," Ambassador Amil pointed out.