António Guterres enters the campaign. Four years after his arrival as Secretary-General of the United Nations, his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, announced that the man would be ready to run for a second term. It would start, if this is the case, on 1is January 2022. Much appreciated by the five permanent members of the Security Council, his desire to repeat the experiment for another five years would have met no opposition. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, even has it “Warmly congratulated” for his decision, speaking of his first term as a real “Success”.
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However, a little less than a year before the fateful date, the record of the man at the helm of the largest of international organizations is dividing.
A general secretary
In many ways, António Guterres stands out from his predecessors, notably by his desire to be on all fronts. ” Ban Ki-moon had focused his engagement primarily on environmental issues. Kofi Annan on the reform of the United Nations, in particular of the Security Council, its effectiveness and the question of the protection of human rights. Guterres has been in all fields, in all directions with immigration, human rights, the environment and health. », Underlines Guillaume Devin, professor of political science at Sciences-Po Paris and specialist in multilateralism.
A desire to touch everything which, according to the latter, would be accompanied by a commitment ” stronger », « more proactive », « more offensive “And” more visible Of the former Portuguese Prime Minister, who had no choice but to free himself from the tutelage of the most powerful states. “ The United States was clearly in the background, Russia in a deadlock position and China had a very national and relatively one-sided agenda.. But if António Guterres had his hands free, not being followed or controlled by a particular power, he also worked in a very unfavorable environment “. Which would have contributed to not giving any echo to its actions, the latter only very rarely benefiting from the support of ” heavyweights of multilateralism ».
A mixed report in the defense of human rights
While António Guterres is praised by a large number of states, his image is subject to criticism from diplomats and human rights NGOs. They judge it too much “Chilly” on the defense of human rights. A sad observation shared by Célhia De Lavarene, journalist who also participated in seven UN missions: “ From the start it went badly, when most United Nations officials were delighted and put a lot of hope in him. When he was at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) he fought like crazy, and everyone thought he would continue to fight. He could have chosen to express himself a little more, to attract attention, it is above all his role “. A role inscribed in the 99e article of the United Nations Charter. It authorizes him, even if he does not oblige him, to draw the attention of the Security Council to any matter which, in his opinion, could endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.
In four years, his ability to resolve conflicts during his mandate has not lived up to expectations in the case of the Rohingyas in Burma, the wars in Syria and Yemen or the persecution of the Uyghurs.
The first concerned defended himself on this subject, ensuring to address the issue of human rights much more than some of these so-called democratic counterparts. An opinion shared by Guillaume Devin. It would not be fair to say that the organs of the United Nations would have remained “Inert”. However, he regrets that his role as “Secretary, more than general” and the lack of state support for its action.