The UN Human Rights Council voted yesterday on a resolution expressing concern about the violence in Sudan. What are the resolutions passed by the UN for and what do they really imply?
The Human Rights Council (OHCHR), a body emanating from the United Nations (UN), met urgently on Thursday. A resolution was adopted, in which the OHCHR "expresses its deep concern at the escalation of violence in Sudan and calls on the parties to immediately cease the violence".
Concretely, this text "calls on all parties to immediately end the violence, without preconditions, to quickly ensure full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, to restore essential basic infrastructure, to find a negotiated and peaceful solution to the conflict on the basis of inclusive dialogue, and to renew the commitment of all parties to the people of Sudan to return to a transition to a civilian-led government".
Simple points of view?
Beautiful words which, internally, have been debated. Several delegations have indeed, before the vote on the text, considered that the draft resolution "will not contribute to the resolution of the conflict, in particular because it does not take any account of the regional initiatives in progress": 15 delegations voted against the text, including Algeria, Gambia, Morocco, Eritrea and Senegal, 14 abstained.
But in fact, what does this resolution really change? Resolutions have rarely changed the course of history. We remember, in 2015, a resolution adopted unanimously by the 15 members of the UN Security Council, which established a roadmap for a political solution in Syria. This had not been followed by any effects.
It must be said that the resolutions are simple "formal expressions of the opinion or the will of the organs of the United Nations", recalls the UN. These texts concern “generally substantive issues” and therefore reflect simple points of view. Within the organs of the United Nations, there are resolutions but also decisions. However, according to the United Nations, "with the exception of decisions concerning payments to the regular and peacekeeping budgets of the United Nations, resolutions or decisions of the General Assembly are not binding on Member States". .
Political and psychological pressure
In other words, beyond words, a resolution would be useless? The case of Israel effectively shows that it is possible to violate UN resolutions without being worried. Since 1967, the Jewish state has indeed violated more than thirty UN Security Council resolutions. But in reality, a distinction must be made between resolutions passed unanimously and those on which the Member States disagree. “Unanimity symbolizes consensus and this gives greater political weight to a resolution,” summarizes Alexandra Novosseloff, doctor of political science and UN specialist.
If they are not binding, political resolutions can therefore have an impact, sometimes slight: “With its resolutions, the UN points the finger at the policy of a State. This inevitably has a political or even psychological impact”, continues the specialist who believes however that we will “rather measure the effectiveness of the resolutions in decades” than in days. In history, certain resolutions have had an impact: in South Africa, at the time of apartheid, for example.