NEW YORK, Dec 10 (APP): The U.N. Security Council’s selective implementation of its resolutions, especially regarding the right of people to self-determination and where people are under foreign occupation, has “eroded” its credibility, Pakistan U.N. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said, while stressing the need to reform the 15-member body.
Speaking to about 100 visiting members of U.K.’s Royal College of Defence Studies, Ambassador Lodhi said the Council’s failure to resolve the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict and the more recent crises in the Middle East and Syria highlighted the many notable occasions it had fallen short of playing its role in the maintenance of international peace and security.
“And its inability to enforce its own resolutions, for example on a Kashmir plebiscite, represents its most persistent failure,” she said in remarks on ‘National Views of the Security Council’ at an event hosted by British Mission to the United Nations.
Nevertheless, the Pakistani ambassador said the Security Council was the only global institution available to take decisions on peace and security as also to authorize the use of force.
As a seven-term non-permanent member, she said that Pakistan had tried to improve the Council’s working methods and especially to enhance transparency and inclusiveness. During Pakistan’s presidency of the Council, a resolution on U.N. peacekeeping — to which Islamabad is a major contributor — was adopted marking a watershed in this respect the first comprehensive resolution on peacekeeping in over ten years.
Ambassador Lodhi said that Pakistan feels that the permanent members have more recently been interpreting the Council’s mandate to maintain international peace and security rather liberally, sometimes using thematic issues to expand its agenda into areas, such as human right, thus, encroaching on the role of other UN bodies, including the General Assembly, Human Rights Council and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The growing tendency to use the UN Charter’s Chapter-VII (sanctions) provisions led to a de-emphasis and under utilization of the equally binding Chapter-VI measures on â€œPacific settlement of disputes, the Pakistani envoy said. “This has risked giving coercive multilateralism primacy over cooperative multilateralism,” she said, adding that it had trivialized resolutions not adopted under Chapter-VII.
While the Council acts on behalf of the UN’s wider membership not in lieu of it, she said in practice the five permanent members determine the Council’s agenda and priorities. The Council should be accountable to the General Assembly â€“ where all Member States are represented — but actually the Council virtually acts on its own.
“Important decisions continue to be taken in a closed club, allowing inadequate time to non-permanent members to deliberate,” ambassador Lodhi pointed out. There was little meaningful interaction between Council and the general membership. Peacekeeping missions were a flagship enterprise of the Council, but sufficient consultation and engagement with Troop Contributing Countries remain infrequent and limited.
“One of the most important processes that can significantly improve the Council’s, representativeness, transparency, accountability and effectiveness is reform of the Security Council,” the Pakistani envoy said. But this process had remained deadlocked on a question that should not be the central one. “If the reason for Council’s ineffectiveness, in the face of major crises, is differences among the existing permanent members, increasing their number will reinforce not address this weakness.”
Pakistan, she said, opposes creation of more permanent seats, and supports an increase in elected seats of the Council. Pakistan was also ready to look at a compromise solution whereby longer-term seats were created with the possibility of one immediate re-election.
“There should be no extension of veto power. We are ready to consider proposals that aim at restricting the use of veto in mass atrocities and grave humanitarian situation,”Ambassador Lodhi added.