Statement by the Permanent Representative on the Report of the Security Council to the General Assembly (31 August 2020)

Mr. President,

Let me begin by thanking Ambassador Dian Djani, President of the Security Council for presenting the Council’s annual report to the General Assembly as contained in the document A/74/2.

Mr. President,

The United Nations Charter provides, in Article 15 that “the General Assembly shall receive and consider annual and special reports from the Security Council; these reports shall include an account of the measures that the Security Council has decided upon or taken to maintain international peace and security”. Article 24 further provides that in carrying out its “duties” for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council “acts on their (the Member States) behalf”.

While the Report provides a useful compendium of the Council’s deliberations, it does not illuminate on the “measures” that the Council decided upon or took to maintain international peace and security”. Nor does the skeletal information provided, enable the General Assembly to “consider” these “measures” and the ways in which they were taken.

Since the Council acts “on behalf” of the UN Membership, represented in the General Assembly, it follows that its reports to the Assembly must provide full information on the Council’s proceedings and decision-making processes.

Mr. President,

The deficiency in information is further compounded by the lack of transparent measures and accountability in the Council’s work. The report validates a number of concerns of Member States regarding the Council’s practice and its working methods.

Mr. President,

The Security Council’s work on Counter-Terrorism needs urgent reform. The Council has focused on combating Al-Qaeda and ISIS and their associates. Meanwhile, terrorism has proliferated across the world. The Council has ignored terrorism by extremist and fascist organizations, including the Hundutva groups terrorizing Muslims. It has allowed the label of terrorism to compromise the legitimate struggles of peoples under colonial and alien domination for self-determination. It has ignored state terrorism which is used for oppressing and brutalizing peoples under occupation.

The working of the non-UN entities in the development of “soft laws” which are imposed through Chapter VII resolutions of the Security Council risks further eroding the Council’s credibility and legitimacy.

Importantly, through its various Presidential Notes, in particular Note 507 of 30 August 2019, the Council has resolved to implement a set of reform measures. These are still awaited.

Mr. President,

A comprehensive reform of the Security Council is essential to provide it greater legitimacy and credibility. This must go beyond improvements in its operating processes. Openness, transparency and inclusiveness should be introduced in the working modalities of the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies, especially the “Sanctions Committees” and those dealing with generic issues, such as terrorism and non-proliferation, which are of direct concern to the general UN membership.

The key to enhancing the Council’s credibility and legitimacy is to induct greater democracy in its structure and processes. Expanding the number of non-permanent members in the Council’s membership is vital to enhancing its representativeness and reducing the dominance of its permanent members, enhancing transparency in its processes and equality in its discussions. On the other hand, adding new permanent members will further paralyze the Council and erode the principles of sovereign equality and equity between UN Member States.

Mr. President,

The Council has also been found wanting in the implementation of its own resolutions and decisions. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is a case in point. The Security Council, through its resolutions, has affirmed that the “final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations’.

Yet, for over seventy years, India has illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir in blatant violation of the resolutions of the Security Council; it is perpetrating a reign of terror in a territory occupied with 900,000 troops; it has imposed a complete siege on 8 million Kashmiris in the valley and it is perpetrating massive violations of human rights against them and against its own minority communities. In the wake of its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, the BJP-RSS government is putting in place what they have themselves called the ‘Final Solution’ for Jammu and Kashmir – demographic flooding of occupied Kashmir by settler communities to completely disempower and disenfranchise the Kashmiri people and to obliterate their Muslim identity and that of the occupied territory.

During the last one year, the Council has met thrice to consider the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Paragraph 72 of the Council’s report recognizes the Council meeting that took place on 16 August 2019. These meetings have confirmed the illegal Indian actions of 5 August 2019, reaffirmed the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and underscored the imperative for a final settlement of the dispute in accordance with Security Council resolutions.

The international community cannot succeed in its efforts to strengthen conflict prevention and promote pacific dispute settlement if the Security Council’s own resolutions are held in abeyance willfully. What is at stake is both the Council’s credibility as well as the objective of durable peace in our region. I hope that the Council will not fail these tests.

I thank you.