New York: The human rights calamity unfolding in Syria’s eastern Aleppo city demands bold new initiatives, including proposals to “limit the use of the veto” by the permanent members of the Security Council, the top United Nations human rights official declared on Tuesday.
“Since the launch of the new offensive on opposition-held neighbourhoods of eastern Aleppo by the Syrian Government and its allies, pictures of suffering and death have filled our screens. Faced with such a ghastly avalanche of violence and destruction, extraordinary steps must be taken,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, noting that since 21 September, hundreds of civilians have been killed, including at least 100 children.
“I firmly believe that the time has come for strong leadership and bold actions, and that the UN Security Council should, without any further delay, adopt criteria to restrain members from using the veto when there are serious concerns that war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide may have been committed,” the High Commissioner said in the statement, which was released by his Office (OHCHR).
The UN Security Council has 15 members. The five permanent members ¬– China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, widely known as the ‘P-5’– all have the special power bestowed under the UN Charter to cast a ‘negative vote’ or veto, by which a Council decision or resolution would not be approved. The 10 elected, or non-permanent members, whose seats are distributed on a regional basis, do not retain this privilege.
Image Courtesy: Photo: UNICEF/Khuder Al-Issa
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