From the General Assembly podium today, Eritrea called for a fundamental overhaul of the United Nation, charging that it has failed in its prime goals of securing world peace and ending poverty due to cynical determination of the dominant Powers to maintain control.
“The United Nations, the organization that ostensibly represents the entire community of nations and the peoples of the world, remains stuck in the past,” Foreign Minister Osman Saleh said on the final day of the Assembly’s annual high-level meeting. “It remains thoroughly dominated by the few and has marginalized the overwhelming majority. Its institutions and structures are an anachronism in the modern world.
“More crucially, the United Nations has fallen far short of playing the primary role in the pursuit of the fundamental objectives for which it was established,” he added, citing the maintenance of global peace and security, ending poverty, ensuring sustainable development, advancing human rights, avoiding epidemics, respecting sovereignty and non-interference in the affairs of others, ensuring justice and equality and protecting the environment.
To restore the UN’s relevance and credibility as a truly representative institution of all nations and peoples, it is imperative to fundamentally restructure, democratize and rebuild the world Organization, but although UN reform has formally been on the agenda for nearly two decades, “we are no nearer to change because of the stubborn and cynical opposition of the dominant powers,” he said.
“Given the determination of these Powers to maintain their control of the UN and its unrepresentative and undemocratic character, the chances of genuine change in the coming few years are indeed slender,” he added.
“Undoubtedly, the world is facing a very grave and dangerous situation. To paraphrase the Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, this is a ‘terrible time for the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.’"
Echoing many of those same sentiments, the Permanent Representative of Benin, Jean-Francis Régis Zinsou, stressed the urgent need to strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations in conflict prevention. He said the facts demonstrate that peace, security, good governance at national and international levels…are the best guarantees of stability,” he said.
The Permanent Representative of Benin Jean-Francis Régis Zinsou addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
On regional matters, Mr. Zinsou considered it necessary, regarding the Sahel region in particular, “to improve the support mechanism by the United Nations to prevent further conflict and promote stability necessary for the development of States in the region.”
He also stressed the need to address the root causes of conflict “used on a global scale, as a pretext for extremism and terrorist organizations” and welcomed the mobilization of the international community and the firmness of the United Nations “regarding the activities of these armed groups.”
“The challenges currently facing the world require a united front, as well as the values of mutual respect, solidarity and inter-religious dialogue, and especially ongoing dialogue between Christian and Muslim leaders to create harmony and tolerance, essential to the development of peoples,” said Mr. Zinsou.
In this regard, he said that his Government had decided to support the initiative of the Pan-African Centre for Social Foresight, with headquarters in Benin, to hold in Cotonou, in March 2015, a symposium on Islamic-Christian dialogue. “This multi-faceted project promotes educating people for peace and development, as part of a harmonious coexistence of religions,” he said.