World war II was devastating, and many countries around the world were in ruins. People were seeking peace, assurance of human rights and friendship. The countries wanted an international organization with sanctions to maintain global peace and security. So, 51 countries gathered in San Francisco on the 27th of October 1945 to form the United Nations. Because of the special character of having all countries as equal members i.e. emphasizing on the sovereign equality of all member states, it reached worldwide.
Thus, the United Nations was composed of the Six organs having their respective functions which included but not limited to maintaining global peace and security with social justice. People around the globe have been brainwashed that they have worked laboriously to achieve their respective goals & the UN has guided us into a better future and prosperous tomorrow. But in Reality, The United Nations is a failure as the League of Nations. The United Nations is controlled by the victors of World War II, who have their permanent seats in the Security Council. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the most important organ out of six other organs. UNSC is responsible to maintain peace & security around the world while it can change the decisions made by the UN Charter. The Permanent members(P5) USA, UK, Russia, France and China have the Veto Power which can amend or take decisions of the UNSC. They have been using Veto Power to fulfil their political interests. Because of the political interest of the P5 nations, the UN has failed to act in several dreadful violence around the world. From the Israel-Palestine conflict to the Rwandan Genocide which killed about 80,000 people in 100 days, the UN could not act because of the Veto Power. There have been a lot of incidents where the UN has stayed silent on major issues and this article tends to pinpoint some of the context and instances where the UN has failed dreadfully and needs a serious makeover.
‘The World is bigger than five’ - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
There are 193 members in the United Nations but the P5 Countries control the Security Council, which creates the monopoly in the decisions made by the charter and the whole organization. This is totally against democratic means and values. Due to undemocratic practices the fairness, truthfulness and lawfulness have been affected in the decision-making process. The victors of the second world war are ruling the United Nations.
Out of 5 permanent members of the security council, 3 of them are from Europe. No countries from Africa and Latin America are included. Only China represents the Asian countries. At this point of time when future powers are rising the UN needs to reform and limit the veto power while adding at least two countries from Africa and the coffee club.
Silent in Major Issues
In recent years, The United Nations have stayed silent and neutral in various dreadful and undemocratic activities around the world. When the military took over the democracy of Myanmar in the span of a few days, the United Nations was silent. There is no UN presence in the Israel – Palestine debate which got worse last month. The UN has failed to solve the debate which is nearly a century-long now. These are the most recent examples where the UN has stayed silent and acted neutral. South-Sudanese conflict, Cambodian Genocide, Bosnian Genocide etc are older examples where the UN failed to act raising eyebrows of the member states on whether it is actually the organization that stands for World Peace.
From the Kyoto Protocol to the Paris Agreement there have been a lot of treaties and conventions among the nations to control abnormal climate change but none of them have come into action. The poor countries who have contributed less on carbon emission have to suffer the most because of the climate crisis. The big and powerful countries have not only polluted nature but have profited a lot from their industries. Countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Haiti etc are suffering more. Scientists believe there will be no Maldives and other small islands till 2050. The Paris Agreement is taken as a fraud because no countries have worked effectively on their commitment and the UN has failed to take precise measures to bring that into effect.
Covid-19 and Vaccine Management
From the emergence of Coronavirus in 2019, when China and the US were playing the blame game among each other for the outbreak of the virus, The United Nations failed to control the global pandemic. WHO only counted the death tolls and number of infections instead of helping the poor countries with medical equipment. Today, the UN has again failed to stop the politicization of the vaccine. Powerful countries are claiming that their vaccine is the best and most effective and the UN has failed to provide the vaccine to every corner of the world while rich countries are storing billions of doses for the future.
Many UN programs have not lived up to their expectations. Even the International Court of Justice faces problems in enforcement and partiality of judges. Therefore, until and unless a reformation is made in the Security Council the United Nations will never live up to its expectations and will be considered as a failure for the generations that are yet to come.
(Parajuli is BALLB, Nepal Law Campus)