Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea and world’s biggest cocoa producer, Ivory Coast, were the two African countries that on Friday won non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2018/2019.
Other countries that won seats at the UNSC were Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru and Poland. They will begin their two-year tenure on January 1, 2018.
The other serving non-permanent members are Ethiopia, Bolivia, Kazakstan and Sweden – all four began their two-year tenure on January 1, 2017.
Equatorial Guinea’s human rights record relative to the arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders over the years has left rights groups worried about what signal their election to the UNSC sends.
Ivory Coast on the other hand has been stable since incumbent Alassane Ouattara took over the reigns after Laurent Gbagbo was ousted but the West African giant recently suffered mutiny by former rebels who fought to bring Ouattara to power. The government eventually had to pay them monies to quell the mutiny which threatened to paralyze economic activity in the country.
The UN Security Council has five permanent members – United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China and France - and 10 non-permanent members. Only the permanent members can veto decisions of the council.
Ethiopia in June last year won a ‘non permanent’ seat on the United Nations Security Council, and officially commenced the two year tenure in January this year.
The council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. At the time of their election, Ethiopia replaced Angola, the last African representative on the Council.