Indonesia Current Affairs

5 countries elected as non-permanent members of UNSC

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected South Africa, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Germany and Belgium as non-permanent members of UN Security Council (UNSC). They will have two-year term beginning January 1, 2019.

These five non-permanent members were elected according to the following pattern

  • Two seats for Group of African states and Group of Asia-Pacific states,
  • One for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean states
  • Two seats for Western European and other states.

UN Security Council (UNSC)

UNSC is most powerful and one of the six principal organs United Nations. Under UN Charter it has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 members, including five permanent ones with the power of veto. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, UK and US. 10 non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms each. Its powers include establishment of peacekeeping operations, establishment of international sanctions, and authorization of military action through UNSC resolutions. It is only UN body with authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

Functions of UNSC

UNSC is responsible for determining existence of threat against peace and to respond to act of aggression. It is also responsible for finding peaceful means to settle conflict or dispute between states. In some cases, it resorts to sanctions or even authorise use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. It also recommends to UNGA appointment of UN Secretary General and admission of new members to the UN.

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India refuses to sign Bali Declaration over Rohingya issue

India has refused to be a part of Bali Declaration adopted at conclusion of World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development held in Bali, Indonesia to show of solidarity with Myanmar.

It was not adopted because it carried “inappropriate” reference to violence in Rakhine State from where 1,25,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh and was not in line with agreed global principles of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What Declaration Says?

It calls on all parties to contribute to restoration of stability and security, exercise maximum self-restraint from using violent means, respect human rights of all people in Rakhine State regardless of their faith and ethnicity and facilitate safe access for humanitarian assistance.

India’s Objection

India objected part of declaration highlighting deep concern on ongoing violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar. India reiterated its stance that purpose of convening Parliamentary forum was to arrive at mutual consensus for implementation of SDGs which required inclusive and broad-based development processes.

Therefore, proposed reference to violence in Rakhine in declaration was considered as inappropriate and not consensus-based. Moreover, country-specific amendment to declaration added at the eleventh hour by selective countries dilute the objective of these Forums which require unity and focussed efforts of all countries.

Rohingya

Rohingya is ethnic Muslim minority group, largely comprising Muslims living primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. They practice a Sufi-inflected variation of Sunni Islam. They differ from Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist groups religiously, ethnically and linguistically. They speak Bengali dialect, as opposed to commonly spoken Burmese language in Myanmar.

Myanmar considers Rohingya’s as illegal Bengali immigrants, despite fact that many they have resided in Rakhine province of Myanmar for centuries. The Myanmar government even refuses to grant them citizenship status, and as a result they do not have any legal documentation, effectively making them stateless. They are also restricted from freedom of movement, state education and civil service jobs. UN has often described Rohingyas as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

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