Pakistan calls for abolishing veto in UNSC
19 March, 2009
UNITED NATIONS: Calling the veto right of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council ‘non-democratic’ and against sovereign equality of member states, Pakistan on Wednesday called for abolishing the privilege.
"Experience tells us that veto impacts negatively on the effectiveness and efficiency of the council," Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told a session of the UN General Assembly.
In denouncing the veto right, Haroon joined other developing nations and several European powers.
In his speech, Ambassador Haroon also spoke of the difficulties in abolishing the veto right of the big powers. "The membership is faced with the unfortunate reality that any proposal to abolish or severely restrict the veto is itself likely to be vetoed."
But at the same time, he said, it did not mean that nothing should be done with regard to the veto power, referring to several proposals aimed at limiting the use of veto and to exclude certain situations from the scope of application of the veto.
"Limiting the use of veto to Chapter VII (enforcement provision of the UN Charter) looks appealing but it reinforces the wrong argument that non-Chapter VII resolutions are in any way less important or not equally binding,” he said.
Crimes: "There is growing sense today that veto should not be exercised in certain situations such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity," he told the 192-member assembly. "There is a strong case to also bar the use of veto in situations involving external aggression, foreign occupation and self-determination.”
"As part of negotiations, we are prepared to consider measures involving voluntary restraints and possible charter amendments to address these aspects,” Haroon said.
Referring to a suggestion to override the veto by a certain majority in the General Assembly or in the Security Council, the Pakistan envoy said, "In principle, we can support such measures though their ratification remains improbable... In the democratic reform that we are pursuing, there is no place for individual privileges of any kind including permanence or veto on a national basis.”
"We believe no individual country should claim or can be given such a privilege. However, as we have said before, we understand and respect the African position, which is a legitimate demand for redressing the historic injustice and for attaining equal rights for that region. We are willing to consider this continent-specific and consensus position of Africa which is in the interest of an entire region, and which is fundamentally different from the divisive and country-specific pursuit of special status by a minuscule minority," the ambassador said.