By James Atem Kuir
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Saturday renewed calls for reformation and revitalization of the UN system to allow for permanent representation of the African continent at theWest dominated United Nations Security Council.
The leader of Africa’s second-most populous country made the calls during the opening of the 35th summit of the heads of state and government of the African Union (AU) which took place in Addis Ababa on Saturday and Sunday.
Mr Abiy lamented that Africa, home to more than 1.3 billion people, has remained a junior partner without a meaningful voice in the global body, more than 70 years after its creation.
“Africa’s voice on the world stage needs to be heard loud and clear. Africa must also be represented on important international bodies.
“Today, more than seven decades after the creation of the United Nations, Africa remains a junior partner without meaningful input or role in the system of international governance. This is particularly true of the United Nations where Africa lacks representation on the Security Council and is underrepresented in a variety of ways,” he said.
The Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is tasked with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are the US, China, Russia, France and Britain who have the power veto any ‘substantive resolution. The council’s 10 other seats rotate among nonpermanent members who serve two-year terms.
He demanded that Africa be given two permanent five non-permanent seats at the Security Council to ensure fair representation of the continent and avoid domination of the system by a few countries.
“It is the right time to reform and revitalize the United Nations system to reflect current global realities and ensure that it is a more representative and equitable body. Only fair representation and transparency in those institutions can usher in a just era in multilateralism.
“Consistent with our Ezulwini Consensus of 2005, we should collectively insist that Africa’s reasonable request for no less than two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats in the UN Security Council be adopted,” he added.
The Ethiopian leader who has repeatedly blamed western media for the escalation of violence between his administration and the Tigrayan rebels in the north of the country slammed the international media for always ‘demeaning and dehumanizing African and called for the establishment of a continental media house to provide authoritative news.
“Equally important is Africa’s media representation on the international stage.
“Africa is often portrayed in the international media negatively. The endless representation as a continent troubled by civil wars, hunger, corruption, greed, disease and poverty is demeaning and dehumanizing and likely driven by a calculated strategy and agenda.
“The stereotypical and negative media representations of Africa not only disinform the rest of the world about our continent, but it also shapes the way we see ourselves as Africans,” he explained.
“Telling our own stories and sharing our own narratives must be our top priority.
“In this regard, I would like to propose to this august body the establishment of an African Union Continental Media House.
“This media house could be organized to provide authoritative news and information on our continent, fight disinformation, promote our collective agenda and offer opportunities for Pan African voices to be heard,” he asserted.
Abiy Ahmed joined some African leaders including Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and President Cyril Ramaphosa ofSouth African who previously made similar calls for permanent representation of the continent at the UN organ.