Namibia's Voting Patterns in the U.N. System
Goal: Recently, Namibia's formal votes in the U.N. have generated interest in the U.S. We analyze multiple dyadic vote indices for Namibia and select countries in the UN General Assembly (1990-2014) and individual votes in the Human Rights Council (2014-2016), the Third Committee of the GA (2004-2016), and Security Council (1999-2000) to identify voting patterns and assess whether Namibia adheres to its stated ‘neutral’ policy of abstaining on country-specific resolutions. Data demonstrate that in the UNGA, Namibia has voted further away from U.S. interests while maintaining its alliances in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and African Group; it votes lock step with China and has demonstrated closer ties with Russia over time. However, these patterns are not observed in the Human Rights Council where Namibia frequently abstains on country-specific resolutions when their UNGA allies vote against the U.S., U.K., and other members of the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG). However, Namibia departs from its stated policy of abstaining on country-specific resolutions on all resolutions regarding Palestine and sporadically for those regarding DPRK, DRC, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Syria in the Human Rights Council and Third Committee. Namibia abstained only once and cast a single ‘no’ vote during its term on the Security Council in 1999-2000. This signals that at times, Namibia is willing to align itself with non-WEOG interests by casting an affirmative vote rather than abstaining on country-specific resolutions. Thus, while Namibia’s recent abstentions may seem counter to American interests, we suspect it may be a move to appease their non-Western GA allies while also maintaining a semblance of neutrality in an appeal to U.S. and WEOG interests; notable exceptions are for resolutions highly salient to the U.S. and WEOG (i.e., Palestine and Syria).
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