Lula: Humanitarian plight stems from failure of int’l organizations

The president argued for adequate representation in Security Council

Published on 17/11/2023 - 15:18 By Andreia Verdélio - Brasília

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Friday (Nov. 17) that the current humanitarian tragedies are evidence of the failure of international organizations. The president once again advocated changes in global governance during his participation in the second online summit Voice of Global South, hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Since taking office, President Lula has argued in addresses at various international forums that the current governance model, created after the Second World War, no longer represents the geopolitics of the 21st century. In his view, there needs to be adequate representation of emerging countries in bodies such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Today, this council, which has the power to make major decisions for international peace, only includes the US, Russia, China, France, and the UK, which have the power to veto majority decisions. The rotating council currently includes Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

“The humanitarian tragedies we are witnessing show the failure of international institutions. By failing to reflect the current reality, they have lost effectiveness and credibility. In its mandate on the UN Security Council, Brazil has worked tirelessly for peace. But solutions are repeatedly frustrated by the right of veto,” President Lula declared.

Countries need to regain confidence in multilateralism, he argued. “We need to recover our best humanist traditions. Nothing justifies the fact that the main victims of conflicts are women and children. We need to restore the primacy of international law, including humanitarian law, which applies equally to all, free of double standards or unilateral measures,” he added in reference to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which has killed almost 5 thousand in the enclave.

The first Voice Global South summit took place in January this year. The initiative brought together 125 nations to exchange views on their priorities, challenges, and solutions, from the perspective of developing countries.


President Lula was the second head of state to speak, after the Prime Minister of India. Representatives from Bahrain, Egypt, Guyana, Jamaica, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Serbia, and Trinidad and Tobago spoke at today’s closing session.

Brazil’s presidency of the G20, which begins in December, will shed light on the needs of the countries of the global south, in particular the fight against hunger and tackling climate change, President Lula said. The sustainable development goals, he added, are the “most faithful summary” of the aspirations of the so-called third world—but only a fifth of the targets are progressing as expected.

In this connection, the Latin American leader proposes reducing inequalities as the overarching goal of the global agenda. “Otherwise, the gap between rich and poor countries will only widen. We will fail the millions of hungry people in the world, while billions of dollars are spent fighting wars. We will be the most affected by climate change, even though we have not historically been the most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. We will become victims of a new predatory race for natural resources, including critical minerals, with no opportunity to diversify our productive bases,” the president stated.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Aline Leal

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