India calls for UNGA resolution on veto rights

In a significant move, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday passed a resolution relating to the P5 nations’ veto power and requiring UNSC members to justify themselves to the assembly.

In its speech to the UNGA, India proclaimed the resolution. She underlined that while she supports an initiative that “advances the goal of meaningful and comprehensive reform”, the current resolution “requires much more serious, in-depth and broader reflection than the authors of this text have allowed”.

R. Ravindra, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, recalled that in 2008 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously agreed that all five aspects of the United Nations Security Council reform, including the issue of the veto, would be decided in a comprehensive manner and therefore no single cluster can be addressed in isolation. “When a group of pro-reform member states, including India, took a similar initiative nearly a decade ago, which also called for improvements in the Council’s working methods, we were accused of promoting a piecemeal approach to UN Security Council reform,” Ravindra noted in an indirect criticism of the US for blocking the move.

“It is therefore ironic that the same group of member states who have been vocal in arguing against ‘piecemeal reform’ in the IGN are now themselves supporting a piecemeal initiative that ignores the root cause of the problem. We therefore hope that other piecemeal efforts focusing on aspects of membership category and the workings of the Council will be treated without double standards and with a similar yardstick in the future.”

Ravindra observed: “All five permanent members have used the veto over the past 75 years to achieve their respective political goals… Only five member states have been granted the privilege of vetoing. The UNGA can do very little about this as the P-5 effectively veto the veto. As rightly proclaimed by our African brethren, it contradicts the concept of sovereign equality of states and only perpetuates the WWII mindset that the spoils belong to the victor. Either all nations are treated equally in terms of voting rights, or the new permanent members must also be given the right of veto.”

The resolution, titled “Permanent Mandate for a General Assembly Debate If Vetoed in the Security Council,” was tabled by Lichtenstein before the United Nations General Assembly following Russia’s special military operations in Ukraine.

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