Ethiopia Wins Seat on UN Security Council

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Ethiopia has won a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Ethiopia won an overwhelming 185 votes from 193 members of the General Assembly. The East African country will now serve a two-year term on the UN’s most important body, starting January 2017.

 

Ethiopia returns to the UN

Ethiopia’s return to the UN Security Council will see it take a seat for the first time in 26 years. The East African nation has represented Africa at the council twice since 1945 – the last time during 1989/90.

 

In many ways, Ethiopia’s election at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday was little more than a formality. After running unopposed regionally, Ethiopia gained the backing of African nations, following withdrawals from Kenya and the Seychelles.

As a founding member of the United Nations, Ethiopia had a good case from the start. It’s also the world’s largest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. The county’s contingent of 8,000 troops includes the highest number of female peacekeepers worldwide.

 

Critics point to government

While Ethiopia’s active role in peacekeeping missions clearly helped secure a non-permanent seat, critics point to its conduct on home soil. Activists and human rights campaigners regularly accuse the country of being an authoritarian state. This year has been marred by student protests, which have turned increasingly violent, resulting in security forces firing upon unarmed crowds.

Meanwhile, journalists continue to be arrested and charged with anti-terrorism laws for reporting on topics the state doesn’t allow – recent protests included.

In its promotional literature for the candidacy, Ethiopia said it “wanted to expand the role of regional security deals.” Which left some asking why it fails to respect the UN Boundary Commission’s ruling on its own border with Eritrea. Earlier this month, fresh attacks along the border prompted new fears that conflict could escalate between the rival countries.

 

Featured image:

By Patrick Gruban – originally posted to Flickr as UN Security Council, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4806913

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.