Thursday, June 13, 2024

UN is “frozen in the past” on the matter of Africa 

During the UN General Assembly discussion on Security Council reform, African representatives actively called for making the body more inclusive.

“The fact that Africa, a major geographic region, remains underrepresented and unrepresented in the permanent category of the Security Council is unjustified,” said Irene Muchaitei Juru from Zimbabwe, calling for providing the continent with two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats, which was supported by other African envoys.

A delegate from Senegal said that the Security Council cannot remain “frozen in the past.” According to him, reform is necessary for creating a more democratic and effective body that is capable of managing crises. He called for representation of Africa among the permanent as well as non-permanent members. 

This would correct a historic injustice, he said, noting that equitable geographical distribution and regional representation is of utmost importance. According to the envoy, the new permanent members should have the same rules as the original ones, including the veto right.

Delegates from other African countries, including Ghana, Burundi, and Congo, called for the abolition or constraint of the veto rule, calling it anachronistic and ineffective.

Vasily Nebenzia, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, objected to the idea of curtailing the veto authority, arguing that its existence stimulates the Security Council members to seek balanced solutions.

However, he supported calls for broader representation of developing countries that are in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

“Africa’s representation on the Security Council at present matches neither the total number of states on the continent, nor the role that Africa plays in international affairs,” Nebenzia said.

The Russian ambassador also said that other worthy candidates for a seat on the UN Security Council are Brazil and India.

The debate at the UN General Assembly concerned a possible reform of the UN Security Council of its enlargement. The UN Security Council consists of five permanent members (P5) who hold veto power and ten non-permanent members elected for a two-year term.

On Thursday, UN General Assembly President Csaba Korosi said negotiations among the 193 states have never produced a result that should have been consulted with the five permanent members on the UN Security Council. 

Korosi noted that United Nations members have to iron out an acceptable compromise for all on the matter.

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