Annan seeks UN Security Council expansion
* UN chief wants SC members increased to 24, HR body scrapped
UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the United Nations on Sunday to expand the Security Council from 15 to 24 members and scrap the Commission on Human Rights as part of a package of sweeping reforms at the world body.
Annan said the council’s expansion was crucial to making the United Nations “more broadly representative of the international community as a whole and the geopolitical realities of today.”
The secretary general urged member states to agree to green light his proposal prior to a summit of world leaders, scheduled for September 2005 at the United Nations in New York.
Annan, in a report to be delivered today (Monday) to the 191-nation UN General Assembly, also waded into the debate over the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, calling on the Security Council to set out rules for when it should authorise the use of military force.
However, in the use of force as well as in reform of the Security Council, Annan did not set out his own recommendations, leaving these questions to UN members.
Annan’s plan aims to preserve the United Nations as the focus of global multilateral action and also to respond to growing criticism of the United Nations, fuelled by allegations of sex abuses by peacekeepers and mismanagement of the $67-billion oil-for-food plan for Iraq.
The United Nations has come under increased scrutiny since the US decision to invade Iraq without Security Council approval. Several conservative US lawmakers have called for Annan to resign and a number of congressional committees and a UN-appointed panel are investigating the oil-for-food plan.
US President George W Bush recently nominated John Bolton, an outspoken critic of both multilateral action and the United Nations, as his pick for US ambassador to the body. Annan’s report said the UN Human Rights Commission, accused by critics of increasingly defending despots rather than cracking down on them due to the way its members are chosen, should be replaced with a new Human Rights Council, whose members would be elected by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly.
He also proposed creation of a peace-building commission to help the international community rebuild nations shattered by war, and of a democracy fund to promote that form of government around the world.
The UN further should embrace a “responsibility to protect” that would authorise international action including the use of force when nations are unwilling or unable to protect their own citizens, Annan said. “In a world of interconnected threats and challenges, it is in each country’s self-interest that all of them are addressed effectively,” the report said. “Hence, the cause of larger freedom can only be advanced by broad, deep and sustained global cooperation among states.”
“Such cooperation is possible if every country’s policies take into account not only the needs of its own citizens but also the needs of others. This kind of cooperation not only advances everyone’s interests but also recognizes our common humanity,” Annan’s report said. agencies