UN Security Council 'unfit for purpose'


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has issued a damning critique of the UN Security Council in its annual report, describing it as “tired, out of step and increasingly unfit for purpose”.

The report, launched today, argues that inaction over crimes against humanity in Syria was proof that the council was hobbled by vested interests.

Permanent council members Russia, a key arms supplier to Syria, and China have vetoed tougher measures against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The UN says at least 9,000 have been killed in Assad’s crackdown on an uprising that began in March 2011.

Amnesty accused the Security Council of failing to fulfil its mandate to take “prompt and effective” action to preserve international peace and security.

Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty’s Ireland branch, said the events of the last year made it all too clear that many countries adopted the language of human rights only when it suited their purposes.

“Men, women and children have been imprisoned, tortured and killed while powerful nations on the UN Security Council put their political interests ahead of human rights and, more particularly, the victims,” he said.

Amnesty also called for an arms trade treaty aimed at preventing weapons reaching human rights violators. The treaty is due to be agreed at a UN meeting in July.

Amnesty noted the Security Council’s five permanent members – Britain, the US, China, Russia and France – account for some 70 per cent of the global arms trade.