August 14, 2019
The UN is an international organization founded with the aim to promote peace and stability in international platform along with providing cooperation in the area of economy and culture among the states. The UN was founded in 1945 after the Second World War. In the Charter of the United Nations signed in San Francisco ( The UN Charter 1945), the stress put on the importance of peace is obvious. The charter states the following: We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…” Briefly, it can be isad that, the main purpose of the UN is to make peace and keep peace in world politics.
However, in the contemporary world, the armed conflicts and other kind of tensions among the states show that the UN today is not fit for purpose anymore. Being founded as an institution to promote peace, the incapability of the UN to fight violence and wars reveals the fact that the institution is not fit for purpose to an important degree.
In Article 2 of the Charter there are certain basic obligations of members of the United Nations. These include the obligation to settle disputes by peaceful means to pave the way for securing international peace, the obligation to refrain from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, and the obligation to give support to the UN in any action taken under the terms of the Charter. Goodrich ( 1947, p. 11). In contrast to tthat, today some members of the UN do not setle disputes by peaceful means, they use force or threat of force.
As known, there has been a civil war in Syria since 2011. Hundreds of thousands of people died since 2011. And the UN failed to perform its role in preventing such a devastating war in Syria. It can be said that, after the Cold War, many crisis broke out in different regions of the world. But in most of the cases, UN’s role as a peace-maker was nowhere to be seen. In addition, the massacre that took place in Srebrenica in 1995 which caused the death of thousands of Muslims in the “safe zone” of the UN. This case also shows that the UN was not succesful to perform its function.
The UN failed to prevent war in other times as well which lead us to agree with the argument that the institution is not fit for purpose. The UN cannot prevent Israel form occupying Palestine. Israel keeps on making ethnic cleansing in the region. According to a view, the history of the UN over the past twelve years has been dominated by scandal, and failure. From the disaster of the UN peacekeeping missions in Rwanda and Bosnia to the UN’s slow response to the Sudan genocide, the UN’s recent track record has been spectacularly unimpressive. Gardiner ( 2007 , p.40). It is claimed that “The U.N. today is best described as a sickly patient awaiting a blood transfusion.” (Ibid)
On the other hand, The UN’s human rights failure has been accompanied by a series of peacekeeping scandals. It is known that the worst examples of abuse had taken place in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the U.N.’s second largest peacekeeping mission, with 16,000 peacekeepers. Gardiner ( 2007 , pp.42-43). This example clearly shows that the UN has not been fit for purpose in these years as well. In addition, in 1993, a tragedy broke out in Somalia. The UN forces were not good enough to prevent the death of people in the streets of Mogadishu. Jacobson (2012, p. 3).
Lastly, another example showing UN’s failure in performing its purpose is the US foreign policy. As known, USA is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. However, US sometimes adopts agressive policies and rhetoric towards other states. In other words, The US can sometimes be a serious threat for global peace and order. The pradoxical situation is that, the US takes such a position as an effective member of the UN. This clearly shows that today the UN is not fit for purpose, it is not good enough to protect peace and order. This is quite evident in the statement in Drahimi Report. The report says that the UN has repeatedly failed to meet the challenge.
Gardiner, N 2007 ‘The Decline and Fall of the United Nations: Why the U.N. has Failed and How it Needs to be Reformed’ Macalester International , Vol: 19, No: 9 pp. 35-60.
Goodrich, L M 1947, ‘From League of Nations to United Nations’, International Organization, Vol: 1 No: 1. pp. 3-21.
Jacobson, T, 2012, ‘U.N. Peacekeeping: Few Successes, Many Failures, Inherent Flaws’ Internatıonal Dıplomacy & Publıc Polıcy Center Report , Viewed 20 July 2019
The UN Charter 1945, Viewed 20 July 2019, <https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/ctc/uncharter.pdfAuthor : Begum Burak