I.P.O. Information Service



United Nations Reform:

Remarks on Kofi Annan's proposals for a comprehensive convention on terrorism and enlargement of the Security Council

São Paulo/Vienna, 22 March 2005/P/RE/19123c-is


In an interview for the Brazilian Weekly VEJA, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, today welcomed the efforts of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan towards a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system.

Commenting on Mr. Annan's report entitled "In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all" (which was submitted yesterday to the General Assembly), Dr. Koechler stated that his proposal for the adoption of a comprehensive convention on terrorism falls short of expectations. By neglecting the need of including state terrorism into the definition of terrorism, the Secretary-General has missed an opportunity to highlight the universal nature of international law. Double standards in dealing with acts of terrorism can only be avoided if the same criteria are applied in regard to the behaviour of non-state actors as well as states. A definition which excludes the behaviour of states will only be a partial one; it does not fit into the project of a comprehensive convention of terrorism. Furthermore, a partial definition may undermine the support of the international public for the agenda of the United Nations Organization in the "global war on terror,"  the President of the I.P.O. explained.

Commenting on the Secretary-General's proposals for reforming the Security Council and "updating" the UN Charter, Dr. Koechler supported the idea that the Council must be "broadly representative of the realities of power in today's world." However, bringing into the decision-making process "countries more representative of the broader membership," particularly from the developing world, will in no way change the balance of power in the Council as long as the veto right will be exclusively reserved to the existing five permanent members, the victors of World War II. Unless the veto issue is addressed, any reform of the Security Council will be merely of cosmetic nature. Admitting large countries of the developing world such as Brazil or India as permanent members without veto right will not bring about the urgently needed democratization of the world organization. The President of the I.P.O. recalled, in that regard, the reform proposals launched at the session of the Executive Board of the I.P.O. in 1990 in New Delhi and by the subsequent Conference on a More Democratic United Nations organized by the I.P.O. in 1991 in Vienna (Austria).

  • "In larger freedom": Report by the Secretary-General of the United Nations

  • Second International Conference On A More Democratic United Nations

  • Hans Koechler: The United Nations and International Democracy. The Quest for UN Reform

  • Hans Koechler: The United Nations, the International Rule of Law and Terrorism

END/United Nations Reform: Remarks on Kofi Annan's proposals/2005-03-22/P/RE/19123c-is