France and the UN Reform [fr]
Within the UN, the Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. To that end, the Security Council can impose sanctions or authorize the use of force. Its decisions are legally binding and the UN member states at large are required to implement them.
The Security Council has five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members. A founding member of the United Nations (UN) since it was created in 1945; France holds a permanent seat at the Security Council where it plays a leading role on many issues.
If in recent years the successive crises have confirmed the centrality of the UN, they have also reinforced the need to make the organization more effective and more representative of the current balances in the world. That is why France pushes for the expansion of the Security Council by supporting the accession to a permanent seat of Germany, Brazil, India, Japan, an Arab country, as well as a greater presence of African countries.
France also promotes the framing of the use of veto by the five Security Council permanent members in case of mass atrocities.
At the United Nations Security Council, decisions are adopted with a majority of 9 votes out of the 15 votes of the Council’s members. Any decision is rejected if one of the five Security Council permanent members (China, France, Russia, The United Kingdom, and the United States of America) uses its veto power.
To avoid the paralysis of the Security Council, the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, proposed in 2013 that the permanent members voluntarily and collectively pledge not to use the veto in case of recognized mass atrocities.
This reform would not involve any amendment to the UN Charter. The United Nations Secretary General would therefore seize the Security Council in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, or large-scale war crimes.
At the UN, France launched intensive discussions with its partners, in particular with the other Security Council members.
In September 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, organized a ministerial meeting on the issue on the margins of the UN General Assembly with his Mexican counterpart José Antonio Meade Kuribreña. Many member states, including Security Council permanent members, UN officials, and representatives of the international civil society, participated.
A symposium in the presence of Laurent Fabius and José Antonio Meade Kuribreña was also organized at Sciences Po Paris on 21 January 2015.
During the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, France, Mexico and international civil society partners organized a meeting on the French-Mexican initiative on framing the use of veto in cases of mass atrocities. As of 21 October, 2015, the initiative is supported by 80 countries.