India has strongly criticised the lack of transparency in the functioning of the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee which took over a decade to blacklist Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. India’s criticism of the UN’s top organ came a month after getting Azhar blacklisted as a global terrorist by the the world body. Referring to the subterranean world of subsidiary bodies in the Security Council, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador, K Nagaraj Naidu said over the years “we have seen several such bodies being created and tasked with crucial responsibilities such as taking decisions on listing and delisting individuals and entities from the various sanctions regimes of the Council.”
Naidu, speaking in the UN Security Council Thursday at an open debate on the ‘Working Methods’ of the Council, said that not only do these subsidiary bodies have varied and custom-made working methods, but they also follow obscure practices which do not find any legal basis in the Charter or any of the Council’s resolutions. “These committees undertake their work outside of the norms of transparency and there is hardly any effort to make the broader UN membership or the international community aware of their various decisions,” he said. Naidu cited the practice wherein member states get to know of these committees decisions of listing of individuals and entities but decisions on rejecting these listing requests submitted by member states are neither made public, nor are conveyed to the larger membership.
“Further, just like the efforts of member states to designate terrorist leaders go unnoticed by the membership, efforts of terrorist leaders trying to get themselves delisted are also going unnoticed,” he said. India in May finally succeeded in its efforts to get Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the Council’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, capping 10-year long efforts by New Delhi and its allies the US, UK and France to ban the Pakistan-based mastermind of several terrorist attacks against India, including the Pulwama terror attack targeting Indian security forces in February this year. Naidu stressed that as an organ of the United Nations tasked with the maintenance of international peace and security on behalf of all member states, the work of the Security Council, and the way it chooses to organise that work, is a matter of interest for all affected by its outcomes.
“The edifice of the working methods of the Council is erected on the nebulous expanse of rules of procedure that remain provisional even 70 years after adoption…For a body with responsibilities as significant as the Security Council, the procedure is as political as its politics,” he said. He voiced concern that the working methods of the Council have in several cases regressed and its record has been lagging behind when the powerful UN body should instead have changed with evolving norms to match the emerging global challenges in peace and security.
On the aspect of the Council’s engagement with the General Assembly, Naidu said a meaningful way this engagement was meant to be was through a discussion on the Report of the Security Council in the General Assembly. “While there have been long-standing demands for such reports to be more substantive and analytical, more often these reports are filled with the usual factual markers of how many times the Council met and how many debates it had,” he said. Naidu said that the manner in which these reports are tabled causes delays in how and when these reports are discussed in the General Assembly. This results in the membership losing an important opportunity of engagement with the Council.
“This engagement between the two bodies needs to be restored and strengthened,” Naidu said. Referring to the issue of the Council’s peacekeeping related work, Naidu said while it is common understanding that views and concerns of troop- and police-contributing countries is crucial for better implementation of Peacekeeping mandates, “what is even more significant is that this understanding needs to be translated into action.”