The UN needs to be reshaped to act responsibly!

2021-06-01 09:34:21 ciwa

编者按:文章原载于APD NEWS,2021年5月22日



The United Nations has failed to prevent war and fulfill peacekeeping duties many times throughout its history. Millions of people around the world have been killed and displaced since the UN was founded in 1945.

Since the second half of the 20th century, there have been countless wars, some of them still ongoing, all under the watch of the United Nations.

The United Nations (UN) was set up in 1945 as an international umbrella organization with several objectives primarily including the prevention of war and maintaining peace in disputed areas.

However, the UN has failed several times across the world mostly because of the right to veto at the disposal of five countries.

In its 75th year, however, the UN is in a difficult moment as the world faces climate crisis, a global pandemic, great power competition, trade wars, economic depression and a wider breakdown in international co-operation.

We see this recently in the UN’s inability to deal with crises from the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, to civil conflict in Syria, and the failure of the Security Council to adopt a COVID-19 resolution calling for ceasefires in conflict zones and a co-operative international response to the pandemic.

The UN administration is not primarily to blame for these failures; rather, the problem is the great powers who serve their own interests whether right or wrong and refuse to co-operate; where states fail to agree, the UN is powerless to act.

However, peacekeeping is seen as both one of the UN's successes and failures while other success stories include law of the sea negotiated between 1973 and 1982, decolonization, human rights and free trade.

Here are some of the most damning indictments of the UN’s ineffectiveness:

Ever since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, Palestinians have been fighting against what a UN investigator once described as Israel’s ethnic cleansing.

While the disputed Kashmir region has become one of the greatest human rights crises in history, marked by wanton killings, rape, incarceration of leaders and activists, torture and disappearances of Kashmiris, despite several unimplemented UN resolutions over the issue.

The Cambodian civil war in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge regime took control of Cambodia turning it into a socialist country, by using the policy of ultra-Maoism. The Somali Rebellion in 1991 and the worst ethnic genocides since World War II, the civil war between the Rwandan Armed Forces and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) that began in 1990 and lasted until 1994. Also the invasion of Iraq, refugee crises and conflicts without end also add to the UN failures.

The UN is increasingly out of step with the reality of geopolitics today.

The permanent members of the Security Council reflect the division of power internationally at the end of World War II. The continuing exclusion of Germany, Japan, and rising powers such as Indonesia, reflects the failure to reflect the changing balance of power.

Also, bodies such as the IMF and the World Bank, which are part of the UN system, continue to be dominated by the West.

Western domination of UN institutions undermines their credibility. However, a more fundamental problem is that institutions designed in 1945 are a poor fit with the systemic global challenges – of which climate change is foremost – that we face today.

Though, the United Nations has shaped so much of global co-operation and regulation that we wouldn’t recognize our world today without the UN’s pervasive role in it. So many small details of our lives – such as postage and copyright laws – are subject to international co-operation nurtured by the UN.

However, UN failure to enforce its decision and implement its resolutions seems the world body has lost its credibility; therefore, more powerful and influential body is required to make this world a better place to live.

The issues like Kashmir / Palestine / Climate change and Poverty will continue to haunt us and if a strong mechanism is not evolved to put an end to dichotomy of things and to uphold the rule of law.

Therefore, it is need of the hour to equip and empower the UN and also reshape it as per the latest demands to enforce international laws and fulfill its responsibilities sans any fear or favor.

The writer, Mr. I. Hussain Janjua is a senior media professional and analyst having experience of research & broadcast journalism in different organisations. He is a non-resident fellow of Chengdu Institute of World Affairs (CIWA). (Email:; twitter: @ihussainjanjua)