UNGA Talks About More Countries Using Veto Power in Security Council – What’s Up With That?

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UNGA discusses increase in Security Council veto usage

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday debated the use of veto power in the Security Council, just ahead of the second anniversary of a special measure implemented to oversee its application, reported Xinhua.

This discussion came shortly after the United States vetoed Palestine's application for full UN membership last week.

UNGA president Dennis Francis highlighted that the Security Council has struggled to address critical peace and security issues collectively in areas including the Gaza Strip, Mali, Syria, Ukraine, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"At this precarious time of heightened geopolitical tensions and when ongoing and emerging crises demand our urgent and decisive action, it would be a derogation of our duty as the General Assembly if we stood idle and allowed the unrestrained use of the veto to paralyze not only the council itself but the United Nation's ability to respond efficiently to questions of peace and security," he said.

The veto power, a special voting right, is held by the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, Britain, and the United States. If any one of these nations casts a negative vote, the resolution or decision is automatically defeated.

During Tuesday's debate, many ambassadors pointed out that the veto has been used six times in as many months regarding Palestine and the ongoing war in Gaza, with some calling for urgent council reform that would further limit or even eliminate the veto privilege.

Opening the debate, Francis said the world body and the council are expected "to work in unison and dedicated to one overarching purpose: saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war" and that the "veto initiative," approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 76/262, is "a significant breakthrough to involve the entire membership on these issues."

Underlining the pronounced contrast between the urgent need for decisive action and the prevailing inaction, which undermines the UN's work and credibility, he said that perhaps, despite council deadlock being unacceptable, it is precisely for the reason of its state of paralysis that "we must ramp up momentum."

"If we do nothing, questions on continued relevance of the United Nations will escalate, and public confidence in this institution will increasingly dwindle, with each veto cast perceived as our collective failure to act."

Since the UN's inception, vetoes have been used 320 times.

Vetoes have been used 13 times since the General Assembly adopted a resolution designed to foster greater cooperation with the Security Council following Russia's special military operations in Ukraine in early 2022.

Introduced by Liechtenstein, the resolution mandates that any use of the veto power in the Security Council automatically prompts a meeting and debate within the General Assembly. This procedure is designed to allow UN member states to scrutinize the veto usage and make recommendations.

As with all Assembly resolutions, they carry moral and political weight, but are non-binding and do not generally carry the force of international law, unlike some measures agreed by the Security Council.

Many of the more than 50 ambassadors at Tuesday's debate highlighted cases of veto use, with some permanent council members defending their right to the privilege.

Deputy permanent representative of Russia Dmitry Polyanskiy said the United States has used its veto four times to ensure Israel remains "unimpeded" in its operations in Gaza and regarding Palestine's bid for UN membership and continues to do so, contrary to the will of the majority of UN member states.

However, Russia and China's veto of a U.S. draft allowed the council to adopt a resolution tabled days later by its 10 non-permanent members, calling for a ceasefire for Ramadan.

"Accordingly, it was the only right thing to do, and it reflected the will of the overwhelming majority of members of the international community," he said. "That situation is the best possible response to those that criticize the existence of the veto for permanent members."

The veto right is the "cornerstone" of the entire UN architecture, and without it, the council would become "an organ that rubberstamped dubious decisions imposed by a circumstantial majority that would be practically impossible to implement," he said, adding that a veto is "the most extreme measure" when other options have been exhausted and an inalienable right, and its use does not violate anything.

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

11 Comments
  1. EmilySmith93 says

    As a diplomatic correspondent, I believe it is imperative that the UN Security Council reevaluates the current use of veto power. The recent incidents, especially the veto on Palestine’s application, highlight the urgent need for a more collaborative and effective decision-making process within the council. It’s vital for global stability that the veto power is used responsibly and in the best interest of international peace and security.

  2. Emily Johnson says

    As an avid follower of international affairs, I believe that the frequency of veto usage in the UN Security Council is concerning. The veto power wielded by the five permanent members should be used judiciously to ensure effective collective decision-making, especially in critical peace and security matters. The recent incidents involving Palestine and Gaza highlight the urgent need for reforms that prevent the misuse of this authority.

  3. Emily72 says

    In my opinion, it is crucial for the UN to reassess the use of veto power in the Security Council, especially given the increasing number of conflicts and crises around the world. The veto’s extensive utilization can hinder effective decision-making and prevent necessary actions from being taken promptly. It is time for the UN to address the shortcomings of the current system and work towards a more inclusive and efficient approach to global security.

  4. BrianJohnson82 says

    It is ridiculous that just a single country’s veto can block crucial decisions at the Security Council. This abuse of power undermines the core principles of the United Nations and jeopardizes global peace and security. Immediate reforms are imperative to prevent such misuse of authority in the future.

  5. AlexandraJohnson1985 says

    It’s concerning to see how the veto power is being abused by some nations, hindering the Security Council from effectively addressing crucial global issues. Reform is crucial to prevent further paralysis and ensure the UN can fulfill its peacekeeping duties.

  6. Emily_1987 says

    What do you think are the chances of the Security Council undergoing significant reform to address the issues raised by the repeated use of the veto power in recent months?

    1. JackSmith71 says

      Given the current political climate and the deadlock caused by the veto power, the chances of the Security Council undergoing significant reform seem slim. It’s a complex issue that requires the unanimous consent of the permanent members, which is challenging to achieve. However, increased pressure from the international community could potentially push for much-needed changes in the future.

  7. RobertaJohnson says

    Why have more countries started using the veto power in the Security Council lately? Can this trend be reversed for better decision-making?

    1. AndrewSmith says

      More countries have started using the veto power in the Security Council as a strategic move to assert their influence on critical issues. This trend can only be reversed through diplomatic negotiations and consensus-building among member states for more effective decision-making.

  8. EmilyJohnson says

    As someone who follows international affairs closely, I believe it is time for a serious discussion on reforming the UN Security Council’s veto power. The repeated use of veto by the permanent members is hindering the Council’s ability to effectively address critical global issues. Urgent action is needed to ensure that the veto is not abused and that the Council can fulfill its duty to maintain peace and security around the world.

  9. EmilyJohnson says

    It’s concerning that the veto power is being used so frequently, hindering crucial actions by the Security Council to address global peace and security issues. The need for urgent reform in the council to prevent such misuse is evident.

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