Saturday, 17 October 2009

Nigeria, Gabon in the UN Security Council

Nigeria and Gabon have both been elected to a United Nations Security Council non-permanent seat, following voting by the 192-member General Assembly.

Assembly President, Ali Treki, announced the results - 186 votes for Nigeria, 184 for Gabon, 183 for Bosnia, 182 for Brazil and 180 for Lebanon and declared the five countries elected to terms beginning 1st of January 2010.

In a press conference Nigerian Foreign minister
Ojo Maduekwe expressed gratitude for the "solidarity of the entire African bloc" and hailed the election, saying preventive diplomacy will be central to Nigeria's approach to issues.

Nigeria has served three terms in a U.N. Security Council non-permanent seat, most recently between 1994 and 1995. This will be Gabon's first time serving on the council. Professor Kabir Mato, head of the political science department at the University of Abuja said in an interview with VOA News, that Nigeria worked very hard to reach this point. "It is quite a strategic achievement, and if properly used, I do believe that Nigeria will be able to impact positively by pushing through some very cogent economic and political issues that will not only affect Nigeria as a country, but above all Africa and the rest of the third world in general," he said.

"It's going to be an even stronger Security Council, I think, next year," Britain's UN Ambassador John Sawers said in a statement. "We have two large countries in Brazil and Nigeria who carry the weight of being a regional power. We have two countries in Lebanon and Bosnia that have been through conflict and can bring their own national experiences to the Security Council," he added.

THISDAY reported that on the eve of Nigeria's election of Nigeria to the Council, Amnesty International released a 10-point agenda for the country to fulfil as a member of the Security Council. These included the following: complying with international and regional human rights obligations; preventing and prosecuting acts of extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture or other ill treatment; adopting a moratorium on improving access to justice and protecting human rights in the Niger delta. The Amnesty International statement went on:

“In 12 months Nigeria will celebrate 50 years of independence. Following successive military regimes, efforts have been made by the Nigerian government to improve the human rights situation in the country."

“The Constitution that came into force in 1999 recognizes the right to life; prohibits torture and other ill treatment, and guarantees a fair trial; however, economic, social and cultural rights fall under the directive principles and are not justifable. In addition, a wide range of human rights concern remain.”

Ten of the Security Council's 15 seats are filled by regional groups for two-years, and five non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly every year. To win, candidates must get a two-thirds majority vote of the assembly members which is done by secret ballot.
The five other Security Council seats are occupied by its permanent members: the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.

Africa the Good News

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