Bolivia, Ethiopia & Sweden elected UN Security Council members for 2017-2018; GA balloting to continue

28 Jun

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Bolivia and Ethiopia have run unchallenged to two non-permanent seats in the UN security Council, representing the Latin America and Caribbean Region and Africa, respectively.

Having won stiff competition, Sweden was elected on the first round beating its challengers Italy & the Netherlands with a vote of 134 member states.

Secret ballot election of security council members Tuesday June 28, 2016 (UN Photo).

Secret ballot election of security council members Tuesday June 28, 2016 (UN Photo).

For Italy and the Netherlands, this means that they would have to compete still at some point, possibly late today; one of them needs to get the remaining single Western European and Other Region seat. In the first round, the Netherlands got 125 votes and Italy 113 votes, whereas the majority required is 128 votes of the 193 member states.

As far as the seat allocated to Asia is concerned, none of the two regional candidates – Kazakhstan and Thailand – have managed to get the required majority vote.

At some point, one of the two candidate nations must win. Their chances of getting more votes has been hampered by their human rights records. In condition where there is competition, usually such adverse factor, such as the behavior of states toward their citizens and neighbors come in handy. In this case, the appeal by Human Rights Watch to the members of the General Assembly to closely “scrutinize [the] records” of Thailand and Kazakhstan has severely affected both of them.

Since thir seat is still vacant and available for Asia, they would continue to compete for more votes. In the event the voting process is needlessly prolonged and likely it would not work for either or one in particular, as happened many times before, a dark horse candidate could emerge from the region to break the tie.

Blatta Ephrem Tewelde Medhen, Minister to the United States and member of the Ethiopian delegation to the United Nations Organization Conference, signing on behalf of Ethiopia the United Nations Charter at San Francisco on 26 June 1945 (Credit: UN Photo)

Blatta Ephrem Tewelde Medhen, Minister to the United States and member of the Ethiopian delegation to the United Nations Organization Conference signing the United Nations Charter at San Francisco on 26 June 1945 on behalf of Ethiopia (Credit: UN Photo)

In the case of the Africa candidate too, running unopposed has helped Ethiopia. Otherwise, with the TPLF’s horrendous record of violation of human rights, its chance of winning majority vote of the members of the General Assembly would have been doubtful, especially given its impunity against citizens, denial of freedoms, illegal and persistent detentions in the country, ethnic discrimination, corruption and tortures citizens are subjected to; most of these have been sufficiently documented.

As I discussed in my Brexit article the other day, this too represents failure of the international system and weakening of observance of internationally-recognized principles. Without these instruments vital for improved international cooperation and the maintenance of international peace and security, a major function of the Security Council, the United Nations would be more severely hamstrung, leading to its irrelevance.

The Organization has been founded on Charter principles and objectives that have and are committing all its signatories to those goals as appears in its Preamble, especially the objectives of:

*   Saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

*   Reaffirming faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

*   Establishing conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

*   Promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

Related:

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    TPLF accuses Eritrea of abducting 80 Ethiopians. Why was such breach not taken to the UN Security Council, instead of Ethiopia beating war drum?

    Ethiopia – Kenya to demarcate ‘acceptable border’: Could Ethiopia again lose new lands for TPLF to buy its security?

    Brexit: Could it cleanse and sanitize the international non-sytem?

 

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