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United Nations



Straw Poll Puts Portuguese Ex-Premier at Front of U.N. Leadership Race 

Antonio Guterres clear front-runner, with Slovenian and Bulgarian also on short list; Final pick expected in October


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Dysfunction at the United Nations: The Saudis aren’t the only ones to blame


Hypocrisy abounds at the UN

One must think of the UN as being a bit like a condominium association. We’re all thrown together randomly, each with our unique quirks and habits. Some condo owners do their best to contribute: they join the board, attend meetings, make reasonable recommendations and listen to the opinions of others. Other condo owners only seem interested in gaming the system: they use the visitor parking spaces, they default on their association fees, they spurn the meetings, but then they criticize every decision that is taken. Over time, we grow fond of some neighbours, and wary of others.

But in the UN, who is who? As Canadians, we rightly ridicule the election of Saudi Arabia to a commission for women. But somehow we find it perfectly natural that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council also happen to be the five largest international arms exporters. Can’t the Saudis and other nations legitimately ridicule the West for this hypocrisy, given that the Security Council’s mandate is to maintain peace?

In June 2016, Israel was elected to chair the UN’s Legal Committee, a body mandated to develop and codify international law. Yet Israel is repeatedly censured for ongoing violations of international law, as recently demonstrated by the Security Council’s December vote condemning Israel’s illegal settlements. In fact, Israel is a repeat offender in terms of international law and human rights, as a 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice demonstrated. Not surprisingly, this particular UN decision was considered shocking in many Middle Eastern countries at the time.

Yet neither Michelle Rempel nor any of the Liberals protested that decision. Clearly Canadians’ outrage on these issues is selective.