Pakistan, allies at UN, blocking Global South from getting rightful due at UNSC, says India

The Pakistani representative also introduced a strange element into the discussion, attacking the Council’s designation of international terrorists, claiming that the Council’s actions against terrorists are “arbitrary”.

Arul Louis Mar 21, 2024
India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj (Photo: UN)

Accusing the small group of countries that includes Pakistan of hiding behind “a smokescreen” of proceduralism to prevent countries of the Global South from getting their rightful place on the UN Security Council, India has called for urgent text-based negotiations to bring it into the 21st century international framework.

Calling its current structure fundamentally flawed, India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said on Tuesday that it continues “to deny member states, especially of the Global South a voice and a role in the Council's decision” leading to a lowering of its credibility.

Speaking at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN), Kamboj said that what is needed “is a Security Council that better reflects the geographical and developmental diversity of the United Nations today, a Security Council where voices of developing countries and underrepresented regions including Africa, Latin America, and the vast majority of Asia and the Pacific and those contributing to international peace and security also find their due place” at the Council. 

She made the statement on behalf of the G4, the group made up of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan that work together to reform the Council by adding permanent members.

The 12-member group known as Uniting for Consensus (UfC), led by Italy with Pakistan playing a prominent role, has used procedural ploys to block the Council reform from making headway.

This is in defiance of the clamour of most countries of the South, especially the 54 from Africa, for reforming the Council to add permanent members.

Sierra Leone’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the African countries, said that it “is imperative to rectify the continuing injustice being perpetrated against Africa” by acceding to the continent’s demand for reforms that would give it two permanent seats.

He said that the Council should be expanded in the categories of both elected members and permanent members. 

The UfC opposes adding permanent members, even though it would deprive the African nations of an equal role and authority in making decisions even though most of the peacekeeping operations are related to the continent.

Italy’s Permanent Representative Maurizio Massari, speaking on behalf of Rome, Islamabad and the ten other members of the UfC, categorically opposed adding permanent members claiming it would be undemocratic.

He said, “Expansion of permanent membership would undermine the principle of sovereign equality among Member States, and it would make the council less democratic”.

Reiterating India’s position, which also reflects Africa’s, Kamboj said, “This expansion of the council in both categories of membership is absolutely essential. This is the only way to bring the Council's composition and decision-making dynamics in line with contemporary geopolitical realities”. 

For the five permanent Council members “to decide even in the 21st century, as to what roles should go eventually to the E10 [the ten elected members] reflects a continuation of the inequalities created in the post-1945 era”, she added referring to the way the responsibilities in the Council are distributed.

She reiterated the demand for the IGN to hold serious discussions based on a negotiating text that would move the reform process along instead of only "continuing to deliver statements in a process which has no timeframe, no text and no defined goal to achieve".

The UfC has been scuttling efforts to adopt a negotiating text that would set agendas and points for hammering out differences.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Munir Akram came out for the status quo in the composition of the permanent membership of the Council opposing adding members to the category.

The Pakistani representative also introduced a strange element into the discussion, attacking the Council’s designation of international terrorists, claiming that the Council’s actions against terrorists are “arbitrary”.  

He said that groups designated as terrorists by the Council “belong to only one religion”.


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