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My Take: Another example of why the United Nations isn’t working

My Take: Another example of why the United Nations isn’t working

There are many examples of the ineffectiveness of the United Nations. Incidents like the genocide in Rwanda in recent years where the UN was an embarrassing failure along with this current war in Ukraine stand out and beg the question; ‘Is its existence even viable when it continually fails to uphold its mandate?’  If you look at almost all of the challenges that the UN has been faced with during its history, it would appear that it inevitably falls short every time.  It seems that it excels at making rules and regulations but is unable to enforce compliance, which falls in line with the old cliché “all talk and no action’.

Following Zelensky’s plea to the United Nations that requested Russia be removed from the Security Council the only action that the general assembly could come up with was to remove Russia from the Human Rights Council, which is a subsidiary committee, effectively resulting in a meaningless gesture that does nothing to diminish the brutal aggression in Ukraine. When you look at the UN mandates it is obvious that they are like a ‘dog who barks but has no bite.’

The heart of the overall United Nation mandate is as follows:

The UN Charter mandates the UN and its member states to maintain international peace and security, uphold international law, achieve “higher standards of living” for their citizens, address “economic, social, health, and related problems”, and promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to racesexlanguage, or religion“. As a charter and constituent treaty, its rules and obligations are binding on all members and supersede those of other treaties.

Within the United Nations the UN Security Council holds the power and is described as follows:

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN) and is charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter. Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action. The UNSC is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.

The security council is comprised of 15 member states, 5 of which have special status as permanent members who are China. France, the Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States. The remaining 10 are elected by the General Assembly on a 3-year term basis. Each of the permanent members has a veto power on any proposals requiring a vote.

Therein lies the problem. Almost all violations of the UN charter invariably are linked to at least one of the 5 member nations. Thus, the United Nations is rarely if ever able to act against illegal brutal conflicts like what is currently happening in Ukraine. They are crippled by their own organizational structure.  Also, with no means of actually enforcing their rules and laws their power is inconsequential.

With an annual budget of three billion dollars the United Nations is a huge complex organization which some people are questioning whether it is up to the challenges of todays’ world with so many new and different threats to mankind’s ability to live a peaceful existence on our planet.

Roy Merkley

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