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UN: Veto resolution is a vital step towards accountability

Following the adoption at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) of a landmark resolution which requires the Assembly to meet every time a veto is used in the Security Council, Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

“This resolution, and the enormous support from member states, sends an unequivocal message – no longer can members of the Security Council evade accountability for abusing their veto power. No longer can they simply hold up their hand and block measures that could have saved lives without expecting any recriminations.”

“The UN Charter states clearly that the Security Council works on behalf of the entire UN membership. Now the membership will get to hold the Security Council to task when it fails in its mandate, as we have seen it do too many times in the past. “

“This initiative is not about sanctioning one country or situation. It is a way of addressing the acute failure of the Security Council to take effective action on various situations as result of the veto. Much more needs to be done to address the paralysis, but this resolution is a first step towards increasing the cost of using the veto – and it could not have come soon enough.”

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The resolution was adopted by consensus. Effective immediately, the President of the General Assembly will have ten working days after a veto is used to call a meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the issue at hand, and invite the veto wielding power to speak in front of the entire UN membership.