Antigua PM takes UN Security Council to task at UNGA

Gaston Browne

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, on Friday called on the United Nations Security Council to live up to the ideals for which it had been established as he lamented the myriad of challenges confronting the global community, including climate change and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Browne, addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General assembly (UNGA) said that nearly eight decades after its formation and a promise of peace and security “our peoples would have been right to expect greater achievement of global peace and prosperous development”.

But he told the international community that this has not happened and instead 77 years have passed with the promise of the leaders of the world’s big powers of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war and promoting social progress and better standards of life, all but an illusion.

Browne said that the five victorious nations of the Second World War assigned to themselves, permanent membership of the UN Security Council,  assuming responsibility to implement the promises of the Charter not only in their own interests, but also on behalf of the many nations, “which did not choose them, and which had no option but to trust them..

“It is a disappointment, that small countries, such as mine, would be less than candid, less than honest, if we did not convey our sentiments to the permanent members of the Security Council. We are obliged to ask: What happened to the commitments, which were chiselled into the UN Charter, as binding obligations on all, but particularly those in the Security Council, who took to themselves the task of guardianship of peace and development?”

“There should be no doubt, in this Assembly, that trust in the Security Council has been diminished by the actions taken within its membership,” Browne said, noting that many small “defenceless nations now feel gravely unprotected by the weakening of the international legal order, which was our first, last and only define against aggression”.

He said even worse, the development prospects and the hard work of the small countries to rise up from poverty, are being retarded by the high prices and severe disruptions that began with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and that are being exacerbated by the war on Ukraine.

“Therefore…we call on the permanent members of the Security Council to recommit themselves to the role, which they assumed and pledged to safeguard. Peace must be restored for the world’s sake… and soon. It is the Permanent Members of the Security Council – all of them – which have that primary obligation.”