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The UN Must Introduce Secret Balloting For Its Voting

2014 Feb 24

By Blind Spot

In any election where a “free vote” is expected to be exercised, certain norms of conduct are essential to be followed to make the election free and fair. For example, if a candidate or his agent were to “treat” (or bribe) a voter with some inducement or benefit, or threaten the voter with some dire consequences unless the voter supports the particular candidate, such behaviour would be evident that the voter has not been able to exercise his vote “freely”.

Similarly, if a country demands from another to vote in accordance with the former’s preference, and if not, the former country would withhold some defence or economic support or impose some sanction, it is definitely misusing its power to influence the outcome of the balloting.

Next month, the US and the UK are expected to move a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva which is to be voted on by the UNHRC members. In that context, it is now becoming increasingly evident that the US is cajoling, coaxing, inducing and threatening various UNHRC member countries to vote in favour of the US resolution.

Many diplomats in Sri Lanka, Geneva, New York and the respective capitals of their own countries, have confessed privately that they are being subject to intense pressure by the US to vote for its UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka. Some have even admitted that their countries have received veiled threats of menacing repercussions, if they were to side with Sri Lanka.

It is therefore the time that all countries of the UN start condemning this shameful conduct of the US, and highlight this type of bullying. Even more importantly, the world community must now develop new ways by which the sovereignty and free wills of countries could be restored and preserved, in global fora, which is presently, unfortunately fast becoming the private playground of the US.

As Kishore Mahbubani the former Singaporean Permanent Representative at the UN states in his book Can Asians Think?: “Americans tend to make a natural assumption that what is good for the United States is naturally good for the world …. But there is a great diversity of needs, interests and aspirations among six billion people. The great challenge that the world faces is that of harmonizing and balancing the needs and interests of six billion people on a shrinking planet.”

In the case of the UNHRC resolution that is to be introduced by the US and the UK against Sri Lanka, the US coercion is making a mockery of the UN, and is corrupting the sanctity of the rights of individual countries to make their own independent assessments on matters before them in accordance with their own values and judgment.

Any rational person would understand that whether Sri Lanka has violated any humanitarian law or committed any crimes against humanity, should be a matter of determination on a factual basis and not on a political basis. If however such a determination is being made on a political basis because a stronger power is coercing another country that would obviously not be a fair or reasonable determination. As any junior law student would confirm, such behaviour would be compelling grounds to set aside the determination, as well.

Worse still, when such blatantly unfair actions are carried out with impunity, all countries and people of the world lose faith in the UN as a whole. The majority of the people of the world are already suspicious of the hypocritical nature of the activities of the US and its allies.

They also know that these powers apply one yard stick for North America and Europe, and another for the rest of the world. As Kishore Mahbubani says: “The West in effect is using international institutions, military power and economic resources to run the world in ways that will maintain Western predominance, protect Westerninterests and promote Western political and economic values. This combination is a prescription for disaster.”

Nevertheless countries still have some regard, (although fast diminishing), for the UN because they believe that they could expect some semblance of fair play from the UN. If however, the UN is systematically corrupted in this fashion by the West, there would be no doubt that soon, all people will lose confidence in the UN and the other connected global agencies.

In that background, if the UN wishes to maintain its relevance and integrity, it is time for the UN to immediately safeguard the sanctity of balloting, and protect voting countries from the coercive tactics of the US and its allies. This could be done quickly and simply by arranging for countries to exercise their free vote via secret balloting, and they could perhaps begin with the balloting in the US resolution on Sri Lanka.

Mahbubani makes another interesting prophesy: “The current overwhelming power and geographic isolation of the United States are at best a temporary dam holding back the inevitable impact of globalization on American society. And when the dam is breached, Americans will regret the fact that they did not use the window of opportunity available to them (when they were clearly and overwhelmingly powerful relative to the rest of the world) to strengthen the UN to help deal with the small interdependent world emerging. Of course, many Americans firmly believe that they will be so powerful forever. History teaches us otherwise.”

True to such prophesy, cracks are now showing in the US armour. Over the past two years, several US dissidents have exposed the extent of the covert US machinations and intrigue. While those dissidents have been hounded across the world by the US forces in order to silence them, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have bravely served humanity by their whistle blowing.

As a result, notwithstanding all US efforts, these young men have emerged as true heroes who have successfully exposed the terrible deeds of the US in its effort to dominate the world. In that exercise, even close US allies have not been spared with the conversations of the German Chancellor and French President being also under US surveillance!

In the meantime, Sri Lanka should not feel ashamed if the US were to succeed in browbeating countries into balloting against Sri Lanka in Geneva in March. In fact, Sri Lanka could take solace that, in the face of the massive US attack, global powers like China and Russia have stood by Sri Lanka with their principled positions, without bowing to the US might.

Sri Lanka must also be pleased that she is on an unprecedented forward march, politically, economically, and socially. In that background, Sri Lanka should not be distracted by the current unprincipled attempts to derail its reconciliation and rebuilding efforts, and should now show the world that she could, not only deal with the brutal LTTE terrorism, but also with immoral diplomatic offensives!

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