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India slams 'hidden veto' on UN terror tag

16 April 2016

India has sought transparency in the United Nations procedures to designate a group or an individual as terrorist. The demand comes days after China blocked its bid to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a terrorist.

The existing rules allow Security Council members to oppose any move in the sanctions committees in a clandestine manner and without offering any explanation. The sanctions committees can take decisions only unanimously, and this means any of the 15 members can veto a move.

For instance, China put a 'technical hold' on action against Azhar, and India came to know of this only informally from members of the council.

This amounts to allowing a ''hidden veto'' for every member of the council, Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the UN, said at an open debate.

The Security Council has Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic State Sanctions Committees that can mandate international sanctions, which will require countries to freeze the targeted group's or individual's assets, ban designated individuals from travelling and prevent the supply of weapons, technology and other aid.

Earlier too, China delayed moves against Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Jamaat-Ud-Dawa and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

''The procedures of unanimity and anonymity of the Al-Qaeda, Taliban & IS Sanctions Committees need to be revisited each of the 15 members now has a veto and none, except these 15 members, is told of who is it that has wielded the veto in a specific instance. Counter-terror mechanisms, such as the Sanctions Committees, need to build trust, not engender impunity, by the use of this 'hidden' veto,'' Akbaruddin said.

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