H.E. Ms. Isatou Njie Saidy

General Assembly Seventy-first session 10th plenary meeting
General Debate

Gambia’s VP addresses UN General Assembly; says Security Council composition undemocratic

Gambia’s Vice President Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy Wednesday told the United Nations General Assembly that the body needs broader reform particularly it’s Security Council saying the current composition of the Council with only five Permanent Members holding veto powers is surely undemocratic and system akin to minority rule.

Vice President Njie-Saidy on behalf of President Yahya Jammeh was addressing the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session currently underway in New York.

She called for a United Nations Security Council and broader UN reform to enable the organization confront with new emerging challenges of development and world peace.

“A situation in which only five member states dictate the political and economic agenda and landscape of the world and can overwrite international consensus by veto is indeed undemocratic” she said while highlighting the urgency for Africa be considered with veto powers.

She tabled the case for Africa to be given its rightful place in the world saying the continent has the highest representation in the General Assembly yet with over 1.2 billion people, it is denied right to have a seat in the United Nations Security Council. She called for the expansion of the Security Council to facilitate the allocation of Africa with two Permanent Membership seats with veto powers and two other non-permanent seats at the council.

“Africa is ready to take its rightful place. A well constructed and well inclusive United Nations is what the world needs and Africa is ready to take its rightful place to play its part. This is why we attach great importance to the election of the next United Nations Secretary General. The UN chief must be the voice of the voiceless and chief advocate of the people of the world. It should serve the purpose of all and not the servant of the 5 nations alone” the Gambia’s Vice President said.

She also referred to the grave challenges posed by global terrorism and called for collective action among all countries to defeat this dangerous threat to world peace, security and stability.

“We are gravely concerned that certain rogue politicians and nefarious intellectuals are using the ‘terrorist card’ to revive and propagate the notion of a class of civilization in which Islam is at war with the West,” she said.

“Their lambasting Islam is completely unacceptable and will only serve to further polarize the world. There is no war between Islam and the world and we reject any campaign to connect a nexus between Islam and terrorism,” she stressed.

Further, drawing the attention of the world leaders present to conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and other regions of the world, the Vice Present underscored, in particular, that in spite of the dangerous situation in Syria, geo-political interests continue to override humanitarian considerations.

Turning to the global economic situation and its implications for sustainable peace, the Gambian Vice President underlined that a world marked by disparity and divided into zones of affluence and poverty cannot enjoy durable peace and security. She further underscored that the future of The Gambia, and that of wider Africa, is directly linked to the future of its women and its youth and highlighted that the sheer number of youth migrating for what they perceive are better opportunities are depleting towns and villages back home.

“Against this disturbing phenomenon, therefore, international cooperation that can create jobs for the youth should no longer be a slogan but a calculated strategy to keep them at home in gainful employment that will enhance their wellbeing and help in the development of their countries,” the Vice-President emphasized.

She also noted the importance of the Paris Agreement on climate change as well as underlined the need of proper reparations for historic slavery that massive populations of African origin suffered and the discrimination and violence they had to face.

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