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UNSC undermines the authority of General Assembly

United Nations

United Nations: India has criticised the UN Security Council for undermining the authority of the General Assembly, saying the 15-member body should “stop its frequent attempts” to redefine its competence through interpretations of threats to international peace and security.

“Over the years, it has been amply demonstrated that the prerogatives and authority of the General Assembly have been undermined by the Security Council,” said Devesh Uttam, First Secretary at the Indian Mission to the UN.

“The Council should stop its frequent attempts to redefine its scope of competence through wider and permissive interpretations of what constitutes a threat to international peace and security and including issues that clearly fall within the purview of the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council,” he said at a thematic meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the ‘Role and Authority of the General Assembly’ here yesterday.

Uttam said India believes the 193-member General Assembly can be revitalised only when its position as the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the UN is respected in letter and spirit and it is relevant to contemporary realities.

“The Assembly should take the lead in setting the global agenda and restoring the centrality of the United Nations in formulating multilateral approaches to resolve transnational issues.

“In particular, revitalisation must restore the primacy of the UN in development matters,” he said.

He also stressed the need to establish a relationship of respect for respective mandates between the General Assembly and the Security Council in the spirit of the UN Charter.

“The Assembly will not be empowered merely by strengthening procedures. More important is the presence of political will to take concrete measures to reinforce the role and authority of the Assembly,” he added.

Uttam pointed out that the primacy of the Assembly flows from the universality of its membership as well as the diligent application of the principle of sovereign equality of all its members.

“Ownership of the Assembly’s decisions and activities is reflected in the degree of participation by member-states,” he said adding that it is important for the member-states to engage in substantive deliberations in the Assembly’s six main committees.

He said this could result in setting new norms instead of spending considerable time and resources on procedural issues.

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