Former UN secretary-general visits Bucha, responds to criticism of organization

17 August, 01:12 PM
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Bolivian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon saw traces of Russian war crimes in Kyiv oblast (Photo:The Elders / Twitter)

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Bolivian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon saw traces of Russian war crimes in Kyiv oblast (Photo:The Elders / Twitter)

Former UN Secretary General (2007-2016) Ban Ki-moon, together with the former president of Bolivia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, have visited Bucha in Kyiv Oblast, where the Russian military committed atrocities against civilians, Ukrainian broadcaster Suspilne reported on Aug 16.

The ex-president of Bolivia said they had been shocked by what they saw in Bucha and that they wholeheartedly support the victims of the war. Santos said that such brutal aggression against civilians had not been seen since the Second World War, and said Russian crimes had to be condemned at all levels.

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Ban said the veto power of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council was behind the organization’s failure to react more strongly.

“I perfectly understand the frustration on the part of people around the world, not to mention countries, when one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council commits this aggression,” Ban said. “The international mechanism failed to somehow react to this because of the veto power…”

“Carrying out a certain reform requires the agreement of all permanent member countries, but this does not mean that the UN isn't doing anything,” he added. “The UN has made a really powerful contribution to ensure the protection of people's rights, as well as to promote powerful change."

Ban said UN member countries have been discussing the reform of the Security Council for the past 20 years, but have not been able to move forward due to the unwillingness of the council’s permanent members to restrict their right of veto.

According to the press service of Ukraine’s Office of the President, during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ban expressed hope that the UN system "will find an answer to the terrible situation with the violation of rights and killings of people in Ukraine". Current UN Secretary General António Guterres will visit Ukraine on Aug. 18 for the second time since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and will take part in negotiations with Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Lviv.

During a speech in front of the UN Security Council on April 5, 2022, Zelenskyy suggested that the organization should “either show that it’s possible to reform and actually work for the sake of peace, or dissolve itself.”

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