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Human rights chief warns United Nations could ‘collapse’ without change

The outgoing United Nations human rights chief said the Security Council’s five permanent members wield too much power at the United Nations.

world Updated: Aug 20, 2018 23:05 IST
United Nations,UN rights chief,UN permanent members
International flags fly outside the Secretariat building at the United Nations headquarters in New York. (Bloomberg)

The outgoing United Nations (UN) human rights chief said the Security Council’s five permanent members wield too much power at the United Nations, warning the world body could “collapse” if that doesn’t change.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein decried the sense among some UN member states that the “pentarchy” of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States “is running too much of the business.”

Zeid, a Jordanian prince who did not seek a new four-year term as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke Monday to journalists before his tenure ends August 31. Former Chilean President Michele Bachelet is set to take up the job.

Zeid’s comments exemplified his call for reforms at a world body whose shortcomings have been exposed over issues like Syria’s devastating 7-1/2-year war and rising nationalism.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 23:05 IST