By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series
UNITED NATIONS, October 9 -- On October 9, the delayed Libya / High Seas resolution was approved in the UN Security Council, with Venezuela abstaining. Venezuela's Rafael Ramirez said military action is not the solution, and that the wider problem should be dealt with in the UN General Assembly. Here is the fast transcription of Venezuela's Explanation of Vote, by InnerCityPro.com:
"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is deeply concerned by the serious humanitarian emergency of the refugees and the internally displaced persons and migrants who are the result of the tragedy of war. The political destabilization of poverty and terrorism as well as the widespread violence that is wreaking violence in parts of Africa and the Middle East. People who are trying desperately at the risk of their own lives to reach safer destinations. Our people express the deepest solidarity with the thousands of human beings who have been stigmatized and vilified. We also vigorously condemn the existence of criminal organizations which profit from the trafficking of migrants and human beings, taking advantage of their despair to protect their physical integrity and flee extreme poverty. This terrible phenomenon has worsened in the last 2 years, insofar as the military economic and political situation continues to worsen in the Middle East and northern Africa, the result of foreign interference, military intervention, and war.
"Venezuela, like other Latin American countries, has traditionally welcomed thousands of refugees who have sought security, peace, and opportunities in our land. We are a zone of peace, deeply respectful and supportive of human rights.
"That is why we believe that the current humanitarian crisis and refugees who are desperately trying to cross the Mediteranean cannot simply be tackled by a military approach, with the justification of fighting against international organized crime. It’s not by raising walls, or taking military action, that this serious problem can be resolved. This humanitarian crisis cannot be summarized just by avoiding that refugees are contained by the thousands in the zone of despair through the use of military action. This is a humanitarian issue. We must ensure that hundreds of thousands of refugees and desperate migrants will not continue to flee from Africa and the Middle East.
"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has decided to abstain from the resolution on the illicit trafficking of migrants and human trafficking in the Mediterranean adopted by this Council. We believe that this serious problem is being tackled in an erroneous fashion and that, far from resolving the tragedy experienced by these human beings, what it does is deepen the problem in tackling it from a military approach, and not from a preventive approach. The mere possibility of applying Chapter 7 of the charter, which stems from the present resolution, that is, the use of force, to deal with the humanitarian situation of migrants, is a dangerous precedent, that the Security Council establishes through the back General Assembly of the UN. Thus Venezuela rejects the securitization of the question of migrants and refugees and asylum seekers as we have done on this occasion. The complexity of the nature of this problem requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond the merely military security approach, which some states are trying to approach. We should look at the root causes that prompt people to make dangerous journeys across, the reasons why part of this population has become victims of trafficking. The resolution that has been adopted authorizing the use of force in our opinion is a disproportionate action which sets a dangerous precedent for the future. We believe that the use of force is not the way to resolve this humanitarian tragedy. The aim of this resolution is simply to prevent these human beings from reaching a asafer destination. That is, we are imposing a policy of walls. In the final analysis, countries will be surrounded by walls, which will prevent them from seeing the poor people who are afflicted by wars and most of them are promoted and encouraged by the powers of these rich countries. These human rights of these citizens and their humanitarian situation need to prevail above material considerations or concept of security that endangers the lives of innocent people who are victims of this tragedy, regardless of the causes that motivated.
"The humanitarian tragedy of migrants which bear witnessing should be approached in a broader, more democratic approach in the general assembly of the UN, which has, as one of its main causes, the military intervention, war in Iraq and Syria, as well as the expansion of the phenomenon of terrorism and the actions of non-state actors and violent groups which have been equipped with training and financing of weapons to be used as an instrument of political destabilization with a view to overthrowing governments to respond to the geopolitical considerations of large power centers. Furthermore, the uncontrolled and growing flow of small arms and light weapons, terrorist groups, by the intervention in Libya, has exacerbated the political economic and social problems in countries of other parts of Africa, many of them subject to sanctions and blockades and economic sieges where poverty is a permanent problem. All of this has increased the exodus of these African people experiencing every type of tragedy in their journeys in e of a complex problem, the final part of a tragic story.
"We would have liked this organ to take part in a broader, more democratic discussion on the issue, so we could agree on actions in all areas to relieve the humanitarian situation. We would have liked the African Union to be involved as a key player in treating the situation, as well as other regional and sub-regional actors, from the areas affected by the conflict. What the Security Council must do is put an end to wars, to terrorism, as well as demanding the end of financing and provision of weapons to terrorist groups that have created so much harm to people in the middle east and Africa.
"Venezuela has offered to receive 20,000 migrants and refugees and we hope that countries with possibilities to open their arms and receive these human beings will do so, and will not raise walls, turning their backs in reality. No one wants to see any more tragic pictures of children drowned on the shores of a world which has denied them the right to live in peace. Thank you."
Inner City Press put Libya's letter to the Security Council online herehttps://www.scribd.com/doc/284109115/Libya-s-Letter-to-UNSC-Removing-Objections-to-High-Seas-Resolution
With the EU's Federica Mogherini in the UN for General Assembly week, Inner City Press tried and ultimately succeeded to ask her about EU NAVFOR MED Phase II, and how it would start without UN Security Council approval on which the Council's three African members have concerns.
On October 7, Inner City Press asked Angola's Permanent Representative Ismael Gaspar Martins if the three African members remained concerned. He paused and Inner City Press, Now that the Libyans have said they are OK with it...
Now on October 8, with the item already put on the Council's agenda for October 9, Inner City Press has obtained and now published Libya's Ibrahim Dabbashi's letter to the UN Security Council stating that the UK made changes, that is no longer objects, and annexing the draft resolution, here. https://www.scribd.com/doc/284109115/Libya-s-Letter-to-UNSC-Removing-Objections-to-High-Seas-Resolution
So it would seem the resolution should go though. Italy apparently didn't need Security Council approval to begin action, but it seems the UK and Germany did. All's well that ends well? Some ask, should Europe also automatically control UNHCR, for example through Danish former PM Helle Thorning Schmidt, who was promoting her candidacy during GA week using an “unused meeting room” in the suite of fellow Dane PGA Lykketoft? We'll have more on this.
Mogherini to her credit on September 29 took the question. First she said UN NAVFOR MED is being renamed “Sophia.” Then she said it it in international waters, in full compliance with international law. But can't the UK and Germany and others not participate until there is a Security Council approval or mandate? Time did not permit this question.