Coups ‘back in fashion, UN leader warns, speaking against ‘rule of lawlessness’
The growing number of global calamities and humanitarian crises prompted U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to warn that the “rule of lawlessness” was taking hold in “every region of the world.”
In a Thursday address to U.N. Security Council members – which Russia sits on as a permanent member – Guterres reminded the body that it has “vital role in upholding” the rule of law.
“From the smallest village to the global stage, the rule of law is all that stands between peace and stability, and a brutal struggle for power and resources,” he said. “But the international situation shows that we still have far to go.
“We are at grave risk of the Rule of Lawlessness,” Guterres warned.
The U.N. chief listed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent brutal war that has lasted nearly 11 months as his first example of “States [that] continue to flout international law with impunity.”
The war has sparked the greatest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II and has had global repercussions as energy and food shortages are felt worldwide.
He called the war a “human rights catastrophe” and said that not only has it “traumatized a generation of children” and contributed to worldwide shortages, but it has violated international laws and U.N. charters that Russia is responsible for upholding alongside its fellow council members.
However, Russia was not the only state on Guterres’ chopping block.
“2022 was a deadly year for both Palestinians and Israelis,” he said.
Guterres condemned “unlawful killings and acts by extremists,” but also noted that Israel is “driving anger and despair” by expanding settlements that violate UN charter agreements defined by pre-1967 boundaries.
He also said he was “very concerned” by unilateral initiatives introduced in recent days by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new administration, which again threatens a two-state solution and further violate international law.
“Unconstitutional changes in government – coups d’état – are regrettably back in fashion,” the U.N. chief said.
Guterres pointed to coups in Africa’s Sahel region, overtly oppressive policies by the Taliban on women, a breakdown in the rule of law in Myanmar following a military coup in 2021 and North Korea’s blatant violation of international law in its missile and nuclear development.
The U.N. leader called on all 193 member nations to uphold “the vision and the values” as defined under U.N. charter policies created in the aftermath of WWII and defined under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“When the rule of law is weak, impunity prevails, organized crime flourishes, and there is a high risk of violent conflict,” he said, urging all nations to work towards democratic policy and adhering to the rule of law as defined by international charters.