UN General Assembly: Nine African countries lose voting rights over arrears

In a letter addressed to the General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, the United Nations (UN) Chief, Antonio Guterres has revealed a list which includes nine African countries that faces sanctions for violation of provisions in the Assembly’s charter.

According to the chief, these countries, including Iran are in breach of Article 19 of the Charter which states that, “a Member of the United Nations which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years.”

This same article however made certain exemptions by establishing that, “The General Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a Member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member.”

The countries include, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Libya, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Iran. Three out of the nine African countries have satisfied the latter section of Article 19 of the charter hence, a reduction in their respective sanctions. “The General Assembly decided that Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia shall be permitted to vote in the Assembly until the end of its 75th session” the UN said.

However, the UN Chief has revealed in his letter dated January 13, 2021, addressed to the General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir the various amounts that the defaulting countries are expected to pay to get their voting rights restored.

According to the list, Somalia was fined $1,443,640, Comoros $871,632, Sao Tome and Principe $829,888, Libya $705,391, Congo $90,844, Zimbabwe $81,770, Central African Republic $29,395, South Sudan $22,804, and Niger $6,733 with Iran topping the list with $16,251,298.

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