Defining the role of the United Nations By Muhammad Usman Ghani

Coming after the WW-II, the Allied powers (America, the Soviet Nations, Britain, France) were bent on establishing an organization which could ward off the jeopardy of warfare. So they came up with the idea of the United Nations Organization.
The UN Charter endorses four main objectives, which was maintaining worldwide peace and security, and developing relations among nations. Fostering cooperation between nations in earnest to resolve economic, social, cultural or humanitarian international problems providing a forum for bringing countries together to meet the UN’s ends.
On October 24, the UN had its 73 anniversary. Amidst this tenure, the UN has shown progress on many fronts, as it boasts power and ratification of 193 member countries compared to its predecessor the League of Nation. Most of the people in various regions of the globe are starving under the terrible cycle of hunger and shortage. The UN’s intervention in famine eradication in food starved countries is laudable. Since 1990, extreme poverty rates have decreased the half owing to the adequate services of the UN. The UN’s world food program and the Food and Agriculture Organization has functioned efficiently in the realm of famine eradication.
The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is another initiative by the United Nations. Established in 1949, the UNHCR has supported 17 million asylum-seekers and refugees. Two Nobel Peace Prizes in 1954, and 1981, give testimony to the triumph of the UNHCR.
Struggle against AIDS and HIV is the ultimate goal of the UN, as it is synonymous to the lifeline of the World Health Organization (WHO), Global Funds to fight AIDS, and UNAIDS in terms of providing financial assistance. Thanks to the courtesy of the UN that according to reports, in 2012 there was a marked reduction in the number of people who died from AIDS; it dropped from 2.3 million in 2005 to 1.6 million.
When it comes to development, the UN has played a subservient part in this field as well; since development strategies in the UN have been multidisciplinary, concentrated on human concerns and are linked to human rights. Over the years, the UN has set 50 goals related to development, of which the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction and other human advances are only the most recent.
Terrorism has claimed millions of lives and still poses as a great threat. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq are among a few nations, which have been affected badly on many fronts, owing to terrorist activities. The Yemen crisis, which has displaced millions of masses is far more complex than a Sunni-Shia conflict. As of March 26, 2018, almost 10,000 Yemenis had been wiped out by the strife, with more than 40,000 casualties overall. Nevertheless, the UN again does not know how to cope with this humanitarian crisis
However, if one probes the UN’s debacles in its functioning, one will find duds on many grounds. The most prominent debacle of the UN is the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, in which around 1 million people died at the hands of Hutu extremists. In 1994, the UN started an ‘Assistance Mission’ for Rwanda, which forecasted an approaching genocide, but its peacekeepers failed to block the mass massacre.
The UNO is still ashamed of its failure to prevent the 1994, genocide in Rwanda, the UN chief Ban Ki-moon stated.
The Israel-Palestine issue, which wreaked havoc in the middle-east; still looks to UN’s intervention to decipher the dispute, even so, owing to the hegemonic tread of the US over the UN, it has shackled the latter to resolve the issue. The death toll of the Palestinians only from 2000-2018, is 9733 compared to that of the Israelis, which is 1253. The Middle East region is renowned for its humongous oil and gasoline reserves, countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to name a few, they are one of the major exporters of gas and oil in the Earth. The US has always sought dominance in this region to extract petroleum and gas from the Middle East in a bid to feed energy to its industrial units. Israel is part of the Middle East and has been a comfort zone for the US to reach its ends in the Middle East; thus the US with its hegemonic posture on the UN has shielded Israel on several occasions. Therefore, this issue has called the UN’s efficiency into question.
Likewise, another major conflict that the UN has botched to sort is the Kashmir conflict. The smoldering paradise has been looking to the UN since 1947, get it out of the quagmire of oppression. However, the UN is helpless to mitigate the sufferings of oppressed Kashmiris.
Terrorism, the gravest threat to the world has claimed millions of lives and still poses as a great threat. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq are among a few nations, which have been affected badly on many fronts, owing to terrorist activities. The Yemen crisis, which has displaced millions of masses is far more complex than a Sunni-Shia conflict. As of March 26, 2018, almost 10,000 Yemenis had been wiped out by the strife, with more than 40,000 casualties overall. Nevertheless, the UN again does not know how to cope with this humanitarian crisis.
The foremost reason for the UN’s failure to do something here is that the US possesses hegemonic stance over the UN. Since, the US funds the UN much more than other countries. The UN has been a good platform for the US to work and encompass its substantial reservoir of ‘soft power’. In 2000, former Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jesse Helms said in a speech to the UN Security Council that no institution, be it the security council or the ICC, is competent enough to estimate foreign policy and national security decisions of the United States. Furthermore, member states don’t exhibit cooperation owing to their clash of interests, and the impasse among the great powers over the use of veto power in the security council cripple the efficiency of the UN. Along with it, the UN doesn’t have its own army, which could be used to enforce its laws and rules on other states.
To conclude, the UN has worked for the improvement of the world, and its debacles over many matters are due to its lack of hegemonic stance and its inability to function alone.
The writer is an electrical engineer who is also a CSS aspirant
Published in Daily Times, November 15th 2018.
Source: https://dailytimes.com.pk/322162/defining-the-role-of-the-united-nations/

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