One of the priorities New Zealand signalled when running for a seat at the UN security council was reform by way of trying to restrict or eliminate the veto power held by permanent members.
Prime Minister Ardern is at the UN now and has given her first speech to the General Assembly at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. In her speech, she said that “we must pursue equal rights for all.” This is a noble goal and is part of the ideology that founded the United Nations and remains part of its purpose.
Rt Hon Ms Ardern has also signalled that she will be using her time at the UN to talk about reform of the security council veto – a tool she said has “made a mockery of what the UN stand for“.
There should be little doubt that the veto has been used by permanent members to shamefully excuse Syrian use of chemical weapons, for example. It should also come as no surprise that the veto is most often by the USA to block resolutions against Israel.
The reason the latter shouldn’t be surprising is because of the disproportionate number of resolutions against Israel at the UN and the Security Council is no different – the Security Council can’t even bring itself to be balanced and condemn an internationally designated terror group that is waging war against Israel.
With thirty-two Arab/Islamic nations at the UN not recognising Israel as a legitimate state and with many others joining the disproportionate criticism, it falls to the few democratic nations around the table to stand up to the bullies.
For this reason, it would make sense for New Zealand to voice displeasure about the lack of equal treatment of Israel at the UN. That would include not only acknowledging the disproportionate number of resolutions against Israel and maybe abstaining or voting against some of them to “walk the talk”, but also to acknowledge the role that UNWRA plays in perpetuating the conflict, especially since New Zealand contributes.
If New Zealand truly cares about “equal rights”, rather than focusing only on the veto powers perhaps we could address more egregious examples of unfairness that actually make the UN a joke.