UN General Assembly holds unprecedented meeting on veto power and Security Council status resolution

NEW YORK — The United Nations General Assembly held an unprecedented meeting to discuss the use of the veto in the UN Security Council and the historic UNGA Resolution 76/262 adopted last year about the veto.

UNGA Res. 76/262 calls for a “code of conduct” for the use of the veto by the permanent members of the Security Council in situations involving mass atrocities. It encourages the voluntary restraint by the permanent members of the use of the veto in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.

The resolution recognizes that the failure to take timely and decisive action by the Security Council to prevent or end mass atrocities can result in enormous human suffering and further destabilize the situation in the affected country or region. The adoption of this resolution is a step towards increasing accountability and responsibility of the Security Council and its members in addressing such situations.

Commenting on the meeting, UN General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi expressed hope that the members of the UN Security Council would work together to find solutions and overcome their immediate interests to work responsibly for the benefit of peace around the world.

In this way, as the President of the General Assembly said in his statement, there will be no need to use the General Assembly Resolution 76/262 on the veto, describing the resolution as “an oxygen mask on the plane.” That is, it is good to have it, but it is better not to need to use it.

Kőrösi said that the General Assembly meeting is an unprecedented opportunity to discuss how the new resolution contributes to making these ideals a reality for all.