Syed Akbaruddin blasts UN Security Council for its terrible handling of critical issues

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Ambassador calls for reforms to get rid of “political paralysis”.

Sujeet RajanUNITED NATIONS: India continues to shock the world body at the United Nations with its bold, refreshing new strategy of saying it like it is: days after India’s vigorous lambasting and shaming of Pakistan for cross-border terrorism which drew support from around the world, it has now come swinging at the Security Council itself for its slow, tedious and indecisive pace of work and lack of consistency in sanctions and judgment it itself imposes on rogue nations and to alleviate conflict in war-zones.

India’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, made some cutting and scathing remarks here today, even more significant given that a new Secretary General – the 9th for the UN – will soon assume office; in all likelihood the former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres.

The 15 Security Council members agreed to put Guterres’ name forward to a formal vote on Thursday, according to Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the UN and current Security Council president.

In his statement, Akbaruddin pointed out that in an increasingly interconnected world “where we have seen globalization of everything from propaganda to violence, technologies to cyber-attacks, terrorism to ill effects of climate change, conflicts to narco-networks, the response mechanisms that we have in place in the only global organization of our times are inadequate.”

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Akbaruddin noted that the Security Council, whose chief task is the maintenance of peace and security, met on 180 occasions formally, and astoundingly, informally more than 400 times – which translates to more than a meeting-a-day.

“Despite this, on cardinal issues such as Syria we see inaction; on other situations like resolution on South Sudan action is agreed upon but not yet implemented; and finally where measures are taken as in case of resolution on DPRK they are disregarded,” the ambassador said.

“The Council has become unresponsive to the needs of our time and ineffective to the meeting the challenges it is confronted with,” he said, adding, “it is a body that ponders for six months on whether to sanction leaders of organizations it has itself designated as terrorist entities. Then, unable to decide, it gives itself three more months to further consider the issue. One has to await expectantly for the nine month process to know what Council members have decided.”

Akbaruddin called for comprehensive reforms of the Security Council, because as he added, “in instances it does not even begin that 9 month process of identification and listing of the publically announced leader of a listed entity.  At best, it is now a body that can be described as an interesting and random mix of Ad-hocism, scrambling and political paralysis.  The Global governance architecture now calls for comprehensive reform.”

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Akbaruddin’s speech made it clear that India’s increasing ire at Pakistan’s nonchalant acts of terrorism, as the world, including the United Nations Security Council, looks on placidly, would no longer be tolerated with patience by India. The exasperation is as much with Pakistan as with the powerful world bodies like the Security Council who have done little to sanction Pakistan and curb its nefarious ways.

In his most scathing remarks, Akbaruddin said: “The UN is yet to come up with a coherent policy (on terrorism) let alone take the lead on one of the biggest threats to global peace and security. As many as 31 entities within the United Nations deal with some aspect of countering terrorism. We have learnt of the adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. This is clearly the case as coherence and coordination is missing. It is near impossible to argue the case of relevance of the UN on the issue of terrorism where even adoption of an international norm to “prosecute or extradite” terrorists evades us despite 20 years of talk.”

Talking of Pakistan as a “global epicenter of terrorism”, he said that the UN “looks away” as Pakistan “use terrorists as proxies in their territorial quests”.

“Just less than 10 days ago the General Assembly debate witnessed a singular lack of support for Pakistan’s baseless claims.  Need one say more.  Our response to Pakistan is consistent.  Abandon your futile quest.  Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will remain so.  No amount of misuse of international fora by Pakistan will change that reality.  The sell by date of Pakistan’s anachronistic approach is over,” Akbaruddin said.

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Akbaruddin also spoke of peace keeping, which India is an integral part, sending the most UN peacekeepers to the world.

“It would appear that we have blunted peacekeeping as an effective tool. To this are added appalling cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. Peacekeepers turning into predators is our worst nightmare come true. India has fully supported the initiative to create a Trust Fund for victims and was the first to contribute to it. It is disappointing, however that the only three other countries have stepped up since then,” he said.

Akbaruddin concluded his speech by citing lines by Mahatma Gandhi at the UN, in 1947, to remind the Security Council members of their duty to do right: “’Begin with a charter of Duties of Man and I promise the rights will follow as spring follows winter’”.

(Sujeet Rajan is the Editor-in-Chief, The American Bazaar. Follow him @SujeetRajan1)