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India slams use of ‘hidden veto’ in sanctioning terrorists

India slams use of ‘hidden veto’ in sanctioning terrorists
India on Friday slammed the use of the “hidden veto” and demanded accountability, saying the UN’s general members are “never ever” informed of the reason for not acceding to requests for sanctioning terrorists. This comes days after China blocked India’s bid to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin strongly criticised the “anonymity” surrounding the functioning of the UN Security Council’s al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, saying that the general UN membership is kept in the dark on how the council’s 15 members decide on requests made by other nations to sanction terrorists.

“The procedures of unanimity and anonymity of the al-Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS Sanctions Committees need to be revisited. Currently, they result in a lack of accountability,” Akbaruddin told the UN Security Council in an open debate on ‘Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts’ here.

Against the backdrop of China last month again blocking India’s bid to ban the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack, Azhar, in the UN Sanctions Committee, Akbaruddin said each of the 15 members in the committee now have a veto.

Without naming China, he said none except these 15 members are told of who is it that has wielded the veto in a specific instance. 

“The general membership of the UN is never ever formally informed of how and why requests for listing terrorists are not acceded to. Counter-terror mechanisms such as the Sanctions Committees that act on behalf of the international community need to build trust not engender impunity by the use of this form of a ‘hidden veto’,” Akbaruddin said.

He said the sanctions committees needed to foster tangible support for greater responsiveness to member states’ requests for preventive listings to counter terror. “They also need to follow up complaints against violations by listed individuals and entities more vigorously,” he said.

Akbaruddin remarks come against the backdrop of China once again blocking a bid by India to ban Azhar, following January’s terror attack on the Pathankot airbase.

China had at the last moment stopped the UN sanctions committee from designating Azhar as a terrorist, maintaining that the case “did not meet Security Council’s requirements”.

It was not the first time that China has blocked India’s bid to get Pakistan-based terror groups and leaders proscribed by the UN.

The UN had banned the JeM in 2001, but India’s efforts for slapping sanctions on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai attack also did not fructify as veto-wielding China did not let the request go through apparently at Pakistan’s behest.

When asked earlier this month as to why China had put a hold on the listing request by India against Azhar, Chinese envoy and President of the Security Council for the month Liu Jieyi had said that any listing would have to meet the requirements, stressing that it was the Council members’ responsibility to ensure that the criteria were followed.

Akbaruddin said the UN is uniquely placed to provide the platform necessary for real cooperation and coordination in the common fight against terrorism but the Security Council alone cannot sufficiently respond to tackling terrorism. “This cooperation needs to encompass norm-setting, rule-making as well as practical and specific ways to counter terrorism,” he said.
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