African Parliamentary Alliance for UN Reforms
 
The Rationale

The Rationale

The time has finally come for Africans all over Africa and in the diaspora to reflect deeply on their history, as it relates to their present life conditions - who they are, where they have been, and most importantly, where they want to be.  

Twenty five score years ago, millions of Africans were forced into anchored ships destined for Europe and America. The transatlantic slave trade created the conditions for the subsequent colonial conquest of Africa, the justification of the ideology of racism and the unequal relationship that still exists between Africa and the world's neo-colonial powers. 

When much of the world was under colonial rule, the winners of World War II, collectively known as the Permanent Five (P-5) – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - crafted the Charter of the United Nations (UN) in their national interests, divided the Permanent Seats and associated Veto Power amongst them-selves, while ensuring their decisions bind on all UN member states indefinitely. 

To achieve their objective, P-5 members established as one of the principal organs of the UN, a Trusteeship Council. 

The Trusteeship Council which was assigned under the UN Charter to supervise the administration of Trust Territories was the main colonisation machinery in Africa. 

Under the watchful eye of the UN Trusteeship Council, Africa was drenched in the blood of revolutionary heroes who had a common political agenda based on national dignity. The elimination of African patriots by colonial masters and their agents crippled the African continent, with the effects still visible. 

With an unprecedented surge in independence movements, which led to the dismantlement of colonial systems worldwide, decolonisation prompted colonial powers to formally suspend the operations of the UN Trusteeship Council, strategically shifting their neo-colonial agenda to the UN Security Council (UNSC). 

Although UNSC reflects a world that no longer exists, it is the UN’s most powerful body. With primary responsibility under the UN Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security, it is made up of the five Permanent Members (P-5) and ten rotating non-permanent members who rubber stamp and legitimise the decisions and actions of the P-5 - even if they disagree.  

Though geopolitical realities have changed drastically since the birth of the UN seventy plus years ago, UNSC remains a legalised caste system and the most significant legacy of colonialism and institutionalised discrimination - with Africa without a permanent UNSC representation despite having the largest UN membership. 

This status quo, subject to data and statistics is a travesty of justice and democratic values both in the light of the primary responsibility of UNSC in the maintenance of international peace and security and in the enormity of the issues on its agenda relating to the African Continent. 

African leaders meeting in Swaziland in 2005 made no mistake in adopting the Ezulwini Consensus as the antidote for the historical injustice meted out to the African continent. In consonance with the Ezulwini Consensus, a Committee of Ten Heads of State (C-10) was established by the African Union (AU) with mandate to advocate and canvass the Common African position on Security Council reforms. 

Despite more than ten years of intense efforts by the C-10 for Africa to be represented and to participate meaningfully in a world order that’s capable of maintaining global peace and security, P-5 members continue to embark on delay tactics, cover up for each other, address only their strategic interest - political motives, and are determine to maintain the status quo. 

In spite of growing and concerted calls for peace especially in Africa and the Middle East, war is big money for the P-5. It is because of this uncomfortable fact, at least in part, that the defence budgets of these world neo-colonial powers have grown increasingly swollen, prompting a mega market for arms manufacturing, and thus, arms exports. 

Missiles, bombs and many other weapons of death, are consistently changing hands on an international scale, finding their way to insurrectionists and jihadists, making them more potent and better equipped. This explains why we are in a time of unprecedented terrorism in the world, with more people displaced by unspeakable violence than at any time since World War II. 

According to a recent study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), most of the weaponry flooding in international markets, as unfortunate as it may be, is being made by world (neo-colonial) powers. Coupled with huge defence contracts, it only makes sense that neo-colonial powers are constantly offloading their older weapons to make room for newer ones. These arms are the main ingredients for persistent internal tensions and violent conflicts.   

Despite renewed commitments to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world, many of these nations are consigning their nuclear arsenals for modernization, and funds meant for natural disaster relief, education and health care is being diverted to nuclear weapon programmes with capacity to destroy all complex life forms on earth. 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came as a great beacon light of hope to all peoples, all nations, and as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. 

When the architects of the International Bill of Human Rights wrote the magnificent Universal Declaration, they were issuing a promissory document to which every nation was to fall heir. 

In fact, all UN member states pledged in good faith to uphold the momentous decree as a promise that all nations, large as well as small, would be guaranteed sovereign equality and mutual respect.

It is obvious today that by embodying as it does the post-war oligopoly in its permanent membership and associated Veto Powers; Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China have defaulted on that promissory document - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, insofar as the rest of the world is concern.   

Instead of honouring their sacred obligation, China, the United States, Britain, France and Russia (P-5) effectively hinder the international community’s ability to address burning issues that affect the lives of billions around the world. In fact, cooperation within the Security Council is only found on issues with no major power competition for P-5 members. 

It takes only one of these P-5 members with the power of veto to block motions and prevent multilateralism that is based on democratically-evolved global consensus to proactively end genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity. 

This is why the Security Council (the world’s highest security institution) suffers from gridlock, political sclerosis and lacks a proactive strategy for conflict prevention.

By serving the interest of the elitist veto club, the Security Council has failed to build a world where all can live in security and dignity, proud of who they are and wherever they are. 

This shameful situation has led to an unending cycle of global terrorism, violent conflicts that have outraged the conscience of mankind and the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

When the United Nations Refugee Agency was created 66 years ago, it was intended to help refugees like those in Dadaab, Kenya – the world’s largest refugee camp, return to their homes after conflict. It wasn’t created to feed, year after year, people who may never go home, whose children will be born stateless, and whose countries may never see peace.  

Like UNSC, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has lost its credibility and is not the court African leaders signed up for.  AU Member States signed up for a court that was going to hold people accountable for their war crimes - regardless of where they were from. Not a proxy instrument for powerful non-member states; who see no need to subject themselves to its discipline, to persecute African leaders and effect regime change on the continent. By urging a meeting that is constituted by an Act of the African Union to be a platform for the arrest of an African leader, the ICC allowed itself to be influenced by neo-colonial powers to harm the unity within the AU.  

Since its establishment in 2002, all situations and cases under investigation or prosecution by the ICC are in Africa. While the Office of the Prosecutor of ICC has received information on alleged abuses committed in territories or by nationals of States that are wealthy and powerful, it has decided not to open investigations into those situations or kept them under preliminary examination in order to make a determination on whether to proceed with an investigation. 

Taking cognizance of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors, APAUNR recognises that the peoples of Africa, who have been seared in the flames of withering injustice for far too long, has a collective responsibility to act, using all mechanisms at their disposal to support the African Union’s quest to reform the ICC and end the historical injustice that has eschewed the balance of the Security Council. 

With African leaders languishing on the corners of the Security Council - exiled from the decisions that affect their people, it is hard to conceive of a cause more just than advocating for UNSC reform. If we dismiss this urgency, we lose what is best about humanity. 

The battle lines might have shifted from the UN Trusteeship Council to the UN Security Council and the ICC, but the barriers to equality and the justness of the African cause remains the same.