New UN Secretary General asked to avoid double standards

A seven-member cross-regional group at the United Nations has urged the newly appointed UN Secretary General, Antonio Manuel de Guterres, to be independent and avoid double standards when dealing with all the Member States.

Made up of Ghana, Columbia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico and Norway, the group, described as staunch supporters of the UN, encouraged the Secretary General designate to be the number one diplomat, by using all diplomatic tools available in executing the task ahead.

This was during an interaction the Permanent Representatives of the seven countries had with Mr. Guterres at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Ambassador Martha Ama Pobee, Ghana’s PR encouraged Mr. Guterres, a former Prime Minister of Portugal, to be persistent, courageous and determined to “never give up trying to find solutions for peace.”

Again the group which was formed more than a year ago, tasked the 67- year old Secretary General designate to be the chief global activist to reduce poverty and safeguard the environment.

“Reaching both the Sustainable Development Goals and implementing the Paris agreement will be challenging. But it is doable. You should be both the champion and cheerleader of these agreements- and push member states to live up to their commitments.” she stated.

Furthermore, the group, asked a former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to be the advocate for the world’s 65million displaced people, stressing that “You must defend the rights of all refugees and displaced peoples. You must lead international efforts to tackle humanitarian crises better”.

Apart from integrating human rights into all UN activities, the group recommended that the UN should place even stronger emphasis on human rights, including in its peace and development operations. You should expand and more systematically apply the Human Rights Up Front initiative.

Ambassador Pobee, while congratulating the Secretary General designate on his appointment, assured him of the group’s preparedness for continuous dialogue in the years ahead.

The UN General Assembly on October 13 this year formally appointed Mr.Guterres to succeed the current SG, Mr. Ban Ki-moon when his term ends on December 31, this year.

Mr. Guterres begins work as the ninth Secretary General from January 1, next year to December 31, 2021.

Source: Government of Ghana.