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The recent developments in Myanmar and Afghanistan remind us of the importance of the U.N. Secretariat�

theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/10/intrigue-deepens-at-un-over-myanmar-and-afghanistan Former U.N. commander in Afghanistan Kai Eide on western strategy from Afghanistan to Myanmar

The recent developments in Myanmar and Afghanistan remind us of the importance of the U.N. Secretariat’s diplomacy role in key regional and global issues, writes U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca.

SUFFOLK, U.S.A. (IDN) – Recent events in Myanmar and Afghanistan also remind us of the importance of U.N. diplomacy in key regional and global issues. These are multilateral issues, requiring dialogue between all countries with interest in resolving them. This is why U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has emphasized his confidence in the U.N. system’s diplomacy role in countries’ resolution of internal and regional issues.

“Each U.N. country team representative must ensure their work covers all policy bases and that they are encouraged and assisted to further their work and serve better as our collective voice to regional and global stakeholders,” he said at the U.N. General Assembly in October 2018.

Therefore, following on the Secretariat’s criticism of Myanmar’s atrocious treatment of its Rohingya people, on July 5, 19 U.N. Country Teams (UNCT) representatives spoke together on the margins of the Security Council sitting, expressing a common sense of regret and outrage at the gross human rights abuses committed against them.

The joint statement was endorsed by all the UNCTs: 18 countries represented on the 15-member Council; the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights; and four senior independent U.N. High Representatives for Human Rights.

The U.N. Statement said: “The United Nations Country Team representatives expressed their deep regret and outrage at the gross human rights abuses and abuses of Rohingya civilians by the Myanmar authorities, their systematic denial of human rights to their Rohingya population, as well as the impunity. All those implicated in human rights violations, including those charged with responsibility for genocide and crimes against humanity, should be brought to justice.”

They also stated: “We further urge the Government of Myanmar and the Security Council, through its peacebuilding and mediation role, to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, the roadmap to national reconciliation and non-discrimination, and to take the necessary steps for dialogue with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.”

The major international players also expressed dismay over the atrocities. At the Security Council at a meeting held on July 6, in response to the U.N. Statement, China, Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Spain, Venezuela, and Russia expressed different views and insisted that accountability for all terrorist crimes be left to Myanmar’s domestic judicial process.

On July 7, the Council came to agreement on adding one new Ambassador to the 20-member Council. You can find the countries in alphabetical order by country name:

These countries have led the campaign for an expansion of the Council’s membership to 15 members. They would have been able to carry on their efforts at the UN by increasing the Council’s membership or backing the Security Council resolution co-sponsored by them, calling for action in Myanmar. At the Council meeting on July 6, there was no success there. For now, China is unable to support its effort; Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Spain, Venezuela, and Russia are unable to support their effort; and the four European Council presidents are afraid of United States objections.

Taking some lessons from the Rohingya issue, “country team representatives” can play a more active role in this resolution. After each council meeting when they express deep regret and outrage at an atrocity, they should tell the relevant Security Council diplomat or ambassador: “We call on him to use his role to take the necessary steps to end these violations, to take necessary steps to address the atrocities, and to cooperate with U.N. mechanisms to fulfill U.N. obligations to redress the wrongs. We will do our best to advocate for that.”

[IDN-InDepthNews – 10 July 2019]

Photo: Former U.N. commander in Afghanistan Kai Eide on western strategy from Afghanistan to Myanmar. Credit: Shutterstock.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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