UNGA’s First and Second Committee: New Zealand Notably Shocked Over Belgium’s Statement that ‘Secrecy Enables Honesty’

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The delegate of Belgium after an interview (Washington Post).

The delegate of Belgium after an interview (Washington Post).

The United Nations General Assembly debating the reforms for the Security Council was divided in its first and second committee. The United Nations Charter does not explicitly allude to the 5 permanent seats’ vetoing power over resolutions. Member States have been pushing for a fairer distribution of this power.

Somalia emphasized the necessity for more transparency regarding the P5 countries’ veto powers. Somalia recognized the Security Council’s historical interventions, nevertheless seeking a more equitable representation.

The delegate of the Federal Republic of Somalia told the Post that “China does not represent us”, referring to the over-representation of Western powers through Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

At the first committee session, the United Kingdom claimed that it earned the right to keep its veto because they used it well in the past. The Somalia expressed their discomfort with this statement, as it was unclear what that premise entailed. Britain has had a history of colonialism that must be taken into account.   

Yesterday, the delegate of Hungary affirmed that hidden vetoes enable bullying.

In a brief interview, Belgium said “secrecy allows for honesty”. The delegate believed that if everybody was granted vetoing authority, then there would be no freedom of speech. Belgium was concerned that with total transparency, the possibility of passing judgements over other Member States’ opinions would hinder the unrestrained negotiations.  

Though Belgium’s premises lead to the conclusion that decisions made in secrecy are optimal, they maintained that they were open to working with everyone.

The delegate of New Zealand was shocked over Belgium’s claims. New Zealand said, “Discussions and ultimately decisions of the UNSC affect every nation in the UN; […] the only binding decision making body of the UN is the UNSC. So it is ridiculous and unfair that a small clique (the UNSC) expects full privacy making decisions”.

Tina Le - The Washington Post