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The Veto


This is Security Council Report's Research Report on the Veto. To view the full report, please download the PDF.

In the lead up to the UN’s 70th anniversary on 24 October, three initiatives addressing one of the more challenging issues facing the organisation—how the Security Council can more effectively prevent and halt mass atrocities—have been garnering considerable attention. These include: a French initiative; the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group initiative; and a reform proposal by the Elders.

All three are being discussed in the context of heightened controversy regarding Security Council decision-making, including practices which have evolved around the veto and impact on the Council’s effectiveness. The goal of this report is to give an overview of the current discourse on the veto and place it in its historical context. In doing so, the report will:

  • provide some background on the history of the veto;
  • describe and analyse the three current initiatives on veto restraint in the case of atrocity crimes;
  • explore how the veto and the threat of its use impact Security Council decision-making; and
  • analyse how the permanent members of the Council and the wider membership view the initiatives on veto restraint.

Also included in this report are charts on the Permanent Members and the Use of the Veto. 

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