Open Debate of the Security Council
on the Working Methods of the Security Council
HE Mr Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
23 October 2014
Thank you for giving me the floor. On behalf of the Republic of Maldives, let me thank the Azerbaijan Presidency for convening this open debate on the working methods of this Council. Let me further thank Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina for her briefing in her capacity as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions. The Maldives thanks the Presidency for its note of the 28th of August 2013, and welcomes continued efforts at ensuring transparency and coherence within the Council’s working methods.
The Maldives has the honour of associating itself with statement made by Switzerland, in its capacity as Coordinator of ACT (Accountability, Coherence, and Transparency), a cross-regional group of 22 Member States. According to Article 24 of the UN Charter, the Council acts on behalf of all Member States. This universal representation needs to be reflected in fully transparent decisions and a process that leaves no room for secrecy. It is only right that all Member States have a clear understanding of the present work of the Council, deviating from past practice. Business as usual will leave us with the usual unsatisfying results.
There is a necessity for all Member State to be better informed with regards to the Council’s deliberations. As is with the case of the General Assembly, the Maldives believes that draft documents of the Security Council should be made available to all Member States in a more timely and appropriate manner. Further, in line with the UN Charter, we would welcome more frequent interactive dialogues and presentations of special reports.
While we welcome informational briefings at the beginning of each Presidency, the Maldives calls on Council members to critically and proactively reflect on the month’s work in the form of wrap-up sessions. Through honest reflection, we hope to see a more equal distribution of work between the permanent and non-permanent members of the Council. This prevailing disparity remains a fundamental flaw of this Council, which is constantly being illustrated. We have seen it when negotiations are limited to only permanent members, and we have seen it when briefings have been limited similarly as well. The decision of the Secretary-General to brief only the permanent members with regards to the situation in Syria recently, saw this failing extend to the secretariat and is deeply disappointing.
Only reform of the Council’s structure will truly make this body more representative, transparent, efficient and legitimate. In the meantime, we welcome the proposal made by France suggesting that the permanent members themselves could voluntarily forego their right to exercise veto in reaction to mass atrocity crimes. We believe that this pledge would contribute to a more effective crisis response and stronger implementation of the Council's own agenda, promoting the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security. We therefore call for an open and engaging dialogue between ACT and all Permanent Members of the Council and would encourage other permanent members to further explore the proposal made by France.
Views of Member States have to be taken into account in the decision-making process of the Security Council. The use of the veto right or the intention to do so should have to be explained, in particular with regard to its consistency with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and applicable international law. This would lead to a much higher transparency of the decision-making process and would make morally ambiguous and legally inadmissible arguments less likely.
The Maldives sincerely hopes that both permanent and non-permanent members commit - not only in word, but also in action - to practices that conform to higher standards of Accountability, Coherence and Transparency.