Thursday, November 15, 2007

Too bad UN members don't practise what they preach

by Steven Edwards from The National Post (Canada)

Belarus, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Sudan see no irony in the democratization of the world body's most powerful arm, the Security Council. Their abysmal records hint at how much free speech they tolerate from people at home. That the 15-member council needs an overhaul is not in dispute. It's the only UN organ with the power to discipline recalcitrant countries by imposing sanctions or even authorizing military force. But it is dominated by a cabal of five permanent veto-bearing members -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. Winning election to one of the 10 non-permanent seats is the only way any state outside the Permanent Five (P-5 in UN shorthand) can get a voice on the council. Canada says enlargement would ensure better global representation, but opposes creating new permanent members ... Saudi Arabia's Saud Aljabri said the council needed "further democratic representation and diversity." If only they would practise what they preach. There is only a semblance of organized political opposition in Saudi Arabia, which is infamous for its many laws discriminating against women.

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