UNSC members must shun veto power in situations of genocide: Amnesty

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Drafting a scathing report on the global response to mass atrocities in 2014, rights group the Amnesty International has termed the governments’ ineffectiveness in protecting their civilians from militants as ‘shameful’.

Mentioning how the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, Nigeria, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sri Lanka had resulted in loss of scores of innocent lives, the Amnesty report has lambasted the United Nations and the world politicians for having failed to act.

The report highlighted how the UN had failed, “not just in terms of preventing mass atrocities”, but also in providing direct assistance to millions of refugees.

Terming the attitude of wealthy nations towards the refugees as “abhorrent”, the Amnesty said that “Governments who have been most eager to speak out loudly on the failures of other governments have shown themselves reluctant to step forward and provide the essential assistance that refugees require”.

In a crucial proposal, the Amnesty has also suggested that UN Security Council permanent members – the UK, China, France, Russia and the US – to refrain from using their veto powers in situations of vote on genocide or mass killings.

The failures, however, have not just been in terms of preventing mass atrocities. Writing an op-ed titled “Unshackle the United Nations” in the New York Times, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general, accused that the UNSC powers have allowed themselves to give more priority to their “narrow vested interests” rather than protecting civilians.