UN Security Council Votes In New Members, Causes Controversy


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The AP via the Washington Post reported today that Saudi Arabia, Chad, Nigeria, Lithuania, and Chile were voted onto the United Nations Security Council.

None of the countries were opposed on the floor because, for the first time in several years, none of the races were contested. In the first round of voting, Lithuania received 187 votes, Nigeria and Chile tied with 186, Chad had 184 and Saudi Arabia got 176. In order to get onto the Security Council, a two-thirds majority of those voting countries is needed.

The new member nations will be replacing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo, which will step down in January 2014; the nations will then serve through the end of 2015.

The UN's Security Council has five permanent members with veto power: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France. The other ten members are elected in two-year terms.

Although the votes were not openly contested, many officials are criticizing the strong support received by Saudi Arabia and Chad, which had the worst human rights records of the new Security Council member nations. Philippe Bolopion, the UN's director of the Human Rights Watch, said "The prestige of a seat at the world’s foremost diplomatic table should prompt the new members to get their house in order."

"Chad should put an end to the recruitment of child soldiers, which earned it a spot on the U.N. list of shame," Bolopion continued. "Saudi Arabia should end its crackdown on human rights activists and grant women their full rights." Bolopion also targeted Nigeria when he said the country wasn't doing enough to "end chronic abuse by security forces and better protect civilians in the north" from Boko Haram Islamist attacks.

None of the criticized countries have released statements addressing either their victories or the criticism at this time.

The UN is a massive bureaucracy; if you're interested in learning how it works from the inside, this YouTube video is a good place to start. Otherwise, the full Post story is available here.

[Image of the United Nations world HQ via this other Youtube video]