Every year, 24th October is observed as United Nations Day. This marks the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the UN Charter entered into force. In the past 77 years, the purpose of the UN has been to maintain international peace and security, promote social progress, improve living standards and support human rights. Has the UN succeeded in doing that? Has UN been able to achieve its purpose? The CSR Journal takes a look.
There is no doubt about this that the UN is way less than what it could be. The UN’s limitations have repeatedly grabbed eyeballs especially in the past few years, feels experts. To begin with, how the UN responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has raised questions, especially regarding its lack of punitive measures.
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed documents to make four eastern Ukraine regions namely Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson part of Russia in a grand ceremony hosted in Kremlin.
The United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia’s attempts to annex four regions of Ukraine.
“The General Assembly vote was triggered after Russia used its veto power to prevent action at the Security Council – the body in charge of maintaining international peace and security. As permanent members, China, the United States, France and the United Kingdom also hold vetoes on the council. There have been calls for Russia to be stripped of its veto power after the Ukraine invasion,” reads a BBC report.
The UN also did not condemn China for its cruelty against the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Province. The atrocities involve unfair detention of reportedly over a million civilians, torturing them and forcing them to work as labourers, which has been termed as ‘serious human rights violations’ by Former UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet. Despite this, China stands as one of the charter members of the United Nations and is one of five permanent members of its Security Council.
Earlier this month, “The UN Human Rights Council has voted not to debate the treatment of the Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang even after the UN’s human rights office concluded the scale of the alleged abuses there may amount to ‘crimes against humanity’,” reads a report by Al Jazeera online.
“That even a debate on the human rights situation is not allowed by few a countries which have economic ties with the Chinese regime clearly shows on the international stage that their moral obligation to defend human rights is for sale, therefore corrupting the UN itself. The UN needs urgent reform,” Alim Osman, president of the Uighur Association of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, told Al Jazeera.
The situation in Yemen stands as another prominent example of UN’s lack of adequate initiative in the last few years. Yemen’s children are starving and severely malnourished. Meanwhile, the war between the country’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition is reportedly threatening to escalate after several months of truce. This is ringing a warning bell for the people of Yemenis as well as international assistance groups, who are afraid that the situation is going to get even worse.
Is the United Nations failing? With war crimes going on unchecked leading to serious humanitarian crisis in several parts of the world, the role of the UN and its inability to maintain world peace, is leading to this obvious question.