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Conflict Prevention Debate Has Right to Truth and Penholder Reforms, Rancor

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 21 -- The Conflict Prevention debate of the UN Security Council on August 21 ended with angry “right of reply” speeches by Azerbaijan and Armenia. In between, various non-Council members offered their diagnosis of Security Council failures.

  New Zealand, a candidate to join the Council next year, correctly noted that the drafting power of the “pen-holder” is concentrated in too few hands. (It's worse than that: often the former colonial power is allowed to draft all resolutions about “its" country.)

  At the beginning of the debate, outgoing High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay listed, as conflict in Africa, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. France holds the pen on CAR, DRC and Mali; Somalia and the Sudans are both shared by the UK and US.

  Ban Ki-moon began by praising the outgoing Pillay. He did not say, and it almost went unreported, that Pillay is only leaving now because Ban gave her only half of a second term.

  Ban spoke about his “Rights Up Front” initiative, which when launches was presented as a response to Ban's UN's failure in Sri Lanka in 2008 and 2009. But Ban doesn't make that link anymore. He had the vaunted “Article 99 of the UN Charter” power then, but didn't use it.

  Current Council member Chile said the resolution adopted after Ban's and Pillay's speeches should have included a reference to the “right to truth.” This brought to mind the UN's lack of truthfulness about bringing cholera to Haiti.

  Inner City Press can report that the August 20 meeting of a slew of Latin American Ambassadors with Ban was about the UN's mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH. We'll have more on this.

  Pillay also listed Iraq, Libya, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Afghanistan and Ukraine. Canada, however, left Ukraine out of its litany of conflicts. And despite rumblings of a draft statement for a ceasefire in Ukraine under the Council's silence procedure until 4 pm, by then under the rules enforced by the UK presidency of the Council for August, all of the speakers had finished.

(This involved the UK's genial deputy Peter Wilson gaveling and asking Zimbabwe's charge d'affaires to rapidly conclude her remarks, which she did, without complaining as Syria and to some degree Iraq did after the Council's session about ISIL and al Nusra).

  Then before 4 pm the UNTV camera at the Security Council stakeout was disassembled. No Council press statement on Ukraine, no prevention of conflict. Watch this site.


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