UN has acted illegally on Myanmar: Thabo Mbeki | india | Hindustan Times
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UN has acted illegally on Myanmar: Thabo Mbeki

The S African president has criticised the UNSC for pushing through a resolution to force Myanmar to undertake democratic reforms.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2007 13:19 IST

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has criticised the UN Security Council for pushing through a resolution to force Myanmar to undertake democratic reforms.

In an interview to the South African public broadcaster, SABC, Mbeki accused the United Nations Security Council of breaching international law and of violating its specific mandate under the UN Charter.

"You can't just willfully put on the agenda of the Security Council any matter that you choose, and at the same time say we ... demand that everybody must respect international law and the first body that breaks international law is the Security Council.

It is wrong," Mbeki said, adding that South Africa was completely justified in voting against the resolution.

"I am sure we will continue to insist ... that the Security Council functions in a manner within a framework that is defined by international law. It can't be the first one to break the law and put any matter on the agenda that it wishes," he added further.

China and Russia vetoed last month against a draft Security Council resolution urging Myanmar's rulers to free all political detainees and end sexual violence by the military.

South Africa also opposed the text, maintaining the council's mandate was limited to matters that threaten world peace.

Mbeki said that had the resolution gone ahead, it would have blocked intervention by the correct forum to deal with such matters: the UN's Human Rights Council.

"You might be satisfied that you passed some resolution, quite illegally ... but you actually block the possibility of this institution of the UN to intervene. The principal task of Security Council is international peace and security.

"The challenges that we have to respond to as a member are really quite considerable," The News quoted him, as saying.

He also called for a specific process or system to be put in place to discuss the council's restructuring.

The United Nations has estimated there are 1,100 political prisoners in Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military since 1962 and was formerly known as Burma.