The outgoing United Nations human rights chief has warned the world body’s five permanent Security Council member states wield too much power and it could lead to its “collapse”.
China, France, the UK, Russia and the United States are “running too much of the business” because they are able to veto resolutions put forward by other UN members, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told reporters on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.
“When they cooperate things can move; when they don’t everything becomes stuck and the organisation, in general, becomes so marginal to the resolution of these sorts of horrific conflicts that we see,” Hussein said.
“That has to change: [otherwise] in the end the organisation can collapse at great cost to the international community.”
The UN Security Council has 15 members, all with one vote. But only the five permanent members have the capacity to reject resolutions unilaterally.
Hussein announced in December he would step down from his post after his initial four-year term expires at the end of August. He cited concerns he might be required to “bend a knee in supplication” or “mute a statement of advocacy” were he to continue in his current role.