UN security council failing Syria

New York: The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has admitted that the organisation is failing Syria because of big power divisions which have prevented action to end a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and driven the biggest refugee exodus in a generation, the media reported on Monday.

Ban told The Guardian that Russia and China should “look beyond national interest” and stop blocking security council action on the conflict in Syria as the flow of refugees to Europe reaches unprecedented levels.

“We need some solidarity, unity of purpose, particularly among the permanent members of the security council,” he said, adding “When they are divided, it is extremely difficult for the UN to deliver. That’s why I’ve been urging the members of the security council to look beyond national interest. We have to look for the global interest.

“When the security council members are united we have seen very speedy and tremendous impact in addressing the issues, as we have seen in the case of chemical weapon investigation in Syria.”

Ban said the Syrian people “have a fundamental right to justice”.

He has previously spoken of his “shame” and “anger” at the international community’s “impotence to stop the war” in Syria, and said the UN’s credibility had suffered as a result.

There are various estimates of the death toll in Syria, extending to more than 300,000, while about half the pre-war population of 22 million has been uprooted.

The UN high commissioner for refugees has described the exodus of people fleeing the fighting as the largest refugee crisis in a generation.

About 4 million people have crossed into neighbouring countries with almost half of those going to Turkey. Tens of thousands have made the difficult and often dangerous journey to Europe.

Ban however, acknowledged the growing demands within the UN for the security council to be reformed.

“A lot of interesting ideas have been proposed by the member states and there is widespread feeling and opinion among member states that considering such dramatic changes in political and security field in the world, the security council should change also, in a more democratic, transparent and accountable way,” he added.