Ethiopia won the only available seat for an African nation at the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, replacing Angola, whose two-year term will come to an end this this year.
The East African nation, which in recent months has had questionable human rights records during the Oromo protests and clashed with neighboring Eritrea over a border dispute, will start its tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN body in January 2017.
It was the only African nation that participated in the contest to replace exiting members of the UN body, Times Live reported.
“Ethiopia is an important player in terms of peace and security on the African continent. It has been for a number of years the largest troops contributor on peacekeeping in Africa,” Jakkie Cilliers, Head of African Futures and Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies, told Africanews.
“It hosts the African Union and in the horn of Africa, it is extremely significant in Somalia, in Sudan and elsewhere. Si I think that this reflects in a sense Ethiopia’s status as a, emerging peace and security power in Africa.”
Felix Horne, a horn of Africa researcher at Human Right Watch (HRW), questioned the decision to elect Ethiopia which “has a horrendous human rights record to the Security Council.
The rights group recently published a report on how the Ethiopian government mishandles a largely peaceful Oromo protest and said the country’s security forces killed about 400 people in the one month clash.
“Despite the dire human rights situation, Ethiopia is a now a member of both the Security Council and the Human Rights Council,” Horne said in an opinion piece published on the HRW website.
“Ethiopia should stop hiding its own human rights record from international scrutiny, and … cooperate fully with UN special mechanisms,” he added.
Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It calls disputing parties and attempts to settle their differences through peaceful means, recommending methods of adjustment or terms of settlement.
In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations. And, with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice.