Veto Powers at UNSC
- September 26, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Veto Powers at UNSC
Subject : International Relations
Context: Very premature to comment on India getting UNSC Veto: Jaishankar.
- External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, said it would be premature to comment on positions countries, including India, are taking on the issue of whether any permanent membership for India to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) came with veto power.
- India has been campaigning hard, including this past week, for a permanent seat on the Council and currently all five permanent members (the P-5) of the world’s top security body have veto rights.
- While a number of countries have shown support for India’s membership, including the U.S. and Russia, the question remains open, if this comes with veto rights.
- The American and Russian UNGA addresses contained explicit references to the issue.
- However, after so many years of negotiations, there is no text on it. India is now advocating for text-based negotiations to ensure intergovernmental negotiation process is serious.
UN Security Council Voting System:
- The voting system in the UNSC is rigid. Every vote counts as the resolutions adopted by the UNSC are mandatory for all members of the UN.
- Chapter VII of UN charter ‘Actions with respect to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression’ and resolutions made under it are more significant as it involves war (in the case of Iraq).
Article 27 of the UN Charter states that:
- Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
- Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
- Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.
Right to Veto
- The creators of the United Nations Charter conceived that five countries — China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) [which was succeeded in 1990 by the Russian Federation], the United Kingdom and the United States —, because of their key roles in the establishment of the United Nations, would continue to play important roles in the maintenance of international peace and security.
- They were granted the special status of Permanent Member States at the Security Council, along with a special voting power known as the “right to veto”. It was agreed by the drafters that if any one of the five permanent members cast a negative vote in the 15-member Security Council, the resolution or decision would not be approved.
- All five permanent members have exercised the right of veto at one time or another. If a permanent member does not fully agree with a proposed resolution but does not wish to cast a veto, it may choose to abstain, thus allowing the resolution to be adopted if it obtains the required number of nine favourable votes.
- In decisions under Chapter VI (Pacific settlement of disputes), a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting. It means abstention by a permanent member would amount to veto.
- Now, it is agreed that if a permanent member does not fully agree with a proposed resolution, but does not wish to cast a veto, it may choose to abstain. Thus, resolution will be adopted if it obtains the required number of nine favorable votes.
- An additional provision is the explanation of vote before and after the vote. The former acts as ‘canvassing for votes of others’ and the latter amounts to ‘taking with the left hand what has been given with the right’ – E.g., India’s abstention on Russia’s invasion.
Intergovernmental Negotiations framework (IGN)
- The Intergovernmental Negotiations framework (IGN) is a group of nation-states working within the United Nations to further reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), 15-member top organ of the world body.
- Composition: The IGN is composed of several different international organizations, namely:
(1) The African Union
(2) The G4 nations (India, Brazil, Japan and Germany)
(3) The Uniting for Consensus Group (UfC)
(4) The L.69 Group of Developing Countries
(5) The Arab League
(6) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
- Each group represents a different set of positions vis-a-vis reforming the United Nations Security Council.
- In 2016, an “oral decision” was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly which approved of a declaration known as the “elements of convergence” which outlined the status of the consensus reached by the members of the IGN at that time.