UN Defends Itself Against Modi’s Warning of “Irrelevance”

Ban Ki-moon will speak about specific measures taken by UN to handle violent extremism at Geneva Conference.

Published
World
2 min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Brussels that UN may become irrelevant in near future if things remain same. (Photo: Reuters)

Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s warning that the world body is at risk of becoming “irrelevant” because of its failure to deal with terrorism, a spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mounted a defence asserting that the world body was taking a “responsible attitude” to deal with it.

The UN encourages international solidarity against terrorism in all its aspects, whether it is terrorist bombings or terrorist financing. We certainly are trying to take a responsible attitude in terms of dealing with terrorism and the spectre of terrorism worldwide.
Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for UN Security General

Haq was replying at the daily briefing to a reporter’s question about Modi’s criticism about UN’s ineffective response to the problem of global terrorism.

In a speech to the Indian diaspora in Brussels last Wednesday, Modi ridiculed the UN’s inability to even define terrorism

I don’t know when this will happen but the way situations are changing, it won’t be too late when this organisation will become irrelevant.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister

Haq referred to the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism that the UN is holding on Thursday and Friday in cooperation with the Swiss government and said that the Secretary-General will be speaking at it in terms of the specific measures that UN has taken in terms of handling violent extremism and its spread throughout the world.

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon will speak on specific measures taken by UN to handle violent extremism at Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism on Thursday. (Photo: Reuters)
United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon will speak on specific measures taken by UN to handle violent extremism at Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism on Thursday. (Photo: Reuters)

He did not address the failure to define terrorism, which was the core of Modi’s criticism, or the inability to deal with terrorist masterminds.

The UN has not been able to take action against terrorists because of a virtual veto power by China, a permanent member of the Security Council. In March, Beijing came to the aid of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar who masterminded the attack on the Pathankot air force base and prevented a sanctions committee from taking action against him.

Also in June 2015, China prevented action against Pakistan for setting free Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the Lashkar-e-Taiba mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 people were killed.

Speaking at Brussels, Modi had criticised UN for not being able to define terrorists and terrorist nations.

Modi was referring to the 20-year deadlock over the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism because of differences over defining terrorism. Some countries want exemption made for groups they consider to be “national liberation movements” instead of terrorist organisations, and terrorists they consider to be “freedom fighters.”

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