Pakistan pushes for increase in non-permanent members to make UNSC more representative, effective

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 18 (APP):Pakistan has made a strong case against creating new permanent seats on the UN Security Council, saying an increase in the number of non-permanent members would make the 15-member body more representative, democratic and effective.

“The only criteria for Security Council membership set out in the UN Charter is for the election of non-permanent members,” Ambassador Munir Akram told delegates when the deadlocked Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) aimed at restructuring the Council resumed on Thursday.

The Pakistani envoy also underscored the need for flexibility to achieve the required consensus among all UN member states to overcome the stalemate in the reform negotiations.

“Unfortunately, consensus on Security Council reform has been impeded, from the outset, by the demand of four countries that they be selected as new permanent members in an expanded Security Council,” he said, referring to the relentless campaign by India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, known as the Group of Four, for elevated status.

“Their demand violates the principle of sovereign equality of States; it ignores the reality that permanent membership and the veto are often the cause of the Council’s inaction,” Ambassador Akram said.

Full-scale negotiations to reform the Security Council began in the General Assembly in February 2009 on five key areas — the categories of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, size of an enlarged Security Council, and working methods of the council and its relationship with the General Assembly.

Progress towards restructuring the Security Council remains blocked as G-4 countries continue pushing for permanent seats in the Council, while the Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group firmly opposes any additional permanent members.

As a compromise, UfC has proposed a new category of members — not permanent members — with longer duration in terms and a possibility to get re-elected.

The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and 10 non-permanent members elected to two-year terms.

In his remarks, Ambassador Akram drew attention to UfC proposal for a 26-seat Council, with the additional seats being distributed proportionally among the five regions. Each region could be allocated some longer-term seats with possible re-election, whereas small island developing States should be allocated one floating seat

Pointing out that the European Union (EU) speaks on behalf of its member States during major negotiations, he suggested that the bloc’s representative take the place of the two European permanent members to better reflect the continent’s regional interests and contemporary global realities.

As regards the criteria for Security Council membership, as set out in the UN Charter, is the members’ contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security as well as the other purposes of the Organization,” it was pointed out.

“The four seeking permanent membership have not really distinguished themselves by their contributions to peace and security in the ‘contemporary world’,” Ambassador Akram said.

“In the current war in Ukraine, apart from the parties directly involved, the State which has contributed the most to promoting a peaceful solution is Turkey, he said, adding, “In the Afghanistan conflict, apart from the parties directly concerned, the country which made the most significant contributions to peace and dialogue, and in addressing the humanitarian fallout, is Pakistan. On Myanmar, it is the ASEAN countries; on the Rohingyas’ plight, it is Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, the OIC and the EU; in the Sahara, the brunt of the responsibility rests now with the regional African States and the UN.”

The four — India, Brazil-Germany and Japan — were largely “missing in action,” the Pakistani envoy remarked.

Besides equitable regional representation and capacity to contribute to peace and security, one additional criteria requires UN members to accept and carry out the decisions, he said.

“One of the four States seeking permanent membership has repeatedly refused to declare that it is committed to implement the resolutions of the Security Council,” Ambassador Akram said, referring to India.

“Indeed, it has – through force and fraud – prevented, for 75 years, the implementation of the Security Council resolutions demanding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir,” the Pakistani envoy said said.

“Instead,”, he added, ” it (India) has embarked on a campaign of massive oppression and human rights violations to deny the recognized right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination.”

That remarks drew a response from India.

Indian delegate Pratik Mathur, speaking in exercise of his right of reply, said that Pakistan’s reference to Jammu and Kashmir was “unwarranted”, claiming that the disputed territory was an integral and inalienable part of India.

Pakistani delegate Bilal Chaudhry countered by saying that Jammu and Kashmir is not an integral or inalienable part of India, nor has it ever been, adding that the Indian claim was “factually incorrect.”

Through several resolutions, he said, the Security Council has recognized Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territories where a final disposition will be determined through a free and impartial plebiscite under the Organization’s auspices.

India’s continued assertions negate the principle of the right of self-determination and are a direct affront to the Charter and the Council, said Chaudhry, a clounelor in the Pakistan Mission to the U.N.

“We wonder how India, who is seeking permanent membership, will add to the effectiveness and transparency of the Council when India has blatantly proven over the last 74 years that it could not care less about the Council’s resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir,.” he added.