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Is the United Nations an Effective Organization?

Updated on April 15, 2020

United Nations

“The past decade has seen a backlash against human rights on every front” (Lederer). Andrew Gilmour is the former assistant secretary-general for human rights within the United Nation. He has now come forth to state his opposition to the organization. Gilmour claims that the UN has failed in upholding their values of peace and stability (Lederer). The United Nations has proven their ineffectiveness as an organization since 2010.

The United Nations is now a shadow of its former self. Though from 1970 to 2010, the United Nations has proved that it can be effective. In 1975 the United Nations held the first conference on women. The conference held a global plan of action “which offered a comprehensive set of guidelines for the advancement of women” (“World Conferences on Women”). In 1982, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed resolution 37/52 which allowed the secretary general to use trust fund money to promote the inclusion of disabled persons and to end their human rights abuses (“Universal Declaration of Human Rights”).

Since 2010 the United Nations has gone downhill, proving their inability to settle affairs. “Over the years, the role of the U.N. has expanded from an organization that focused on peace and security to one that includes a wide range of global concerns” (History.com Editors). In the present times the United Nations no longer uphold their values and do not focus on their core beliefs; they instead focus on global affairs that impede on national sovereignty.

Nowadays the United Nations refuse to stop the violators of human rights, instead permitting abusers of human rights to sit upon the very council designed to get rid of human rights violations. Members that sit on the Human Rights Council include “persistent rights violators China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia” (Fisher). The Chinese government has interned up to 1 million Muslims from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Egypt has arrested journalists and political opponents, and Saudi Arabia has refused personal freedoms of women while also preventing freedom of religion (Fisher). This only shows their bias and incompetence when solving global crises.

While the United Nations general purpose is to “maintain international peace and security” (United Nations) the U.N. has failed in that regard. In 2011 “A U.N. peacekeeping mission... was unsuccessful at protecting civilians from death, torture or rape in South Sudan” (History.com Editors). While The United Nations has sent out plenty of successful peacekeeping missions, they fail to learn from their mistakes. In one incident prior, the “U.N. peacekeepers were accused of rape or paying for sex in the Republic of Congo” (History.com Editors). This therefore proves their incapacity to handle these missions effectively.

The United Nations is no longer an effective organization. Prior to 2010 they were an efficacious and useful organization that carried out successful peacekeeping and human rights missions, but since then they do not recognize their atrocities. They allow human rights violators to sit on the Human Rights Council while doing nothing to stop human rights abuses. The UN also does not learn from their mistakes; their failures have alluded to their downfall and ineffectiveness as an organization. They ultimately do not uphold their values, instead they allow the system to be abused by those who are supposed to be punished by it.

Works Cited

Fisher, John. “Human Rights Council Membership Has Its Consequences.” Human Rights Watch, 17 Jan. 2019, www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/14/human-rights-council-membership-has-its-consequences.

History.com Editors. “United Nations.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 4 Apr. 2018, www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/united-nations.

Lederer, Edith M. “UN Official: Past Decade Has Seen Human Rights `Backlash'.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 27 Dec. 2019, apnews.com/1d7e80128857308743224aaaf28cd5f8.

“Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Resolution 37/52.” United Nations, United Nations, 3 Dec. 1982, undocs.org/A/RES/37/52.

“World Conferences on Women.” UN Women, www.unwomen.org/en/how-we-work/intergovernmental-support/world-conferences-on-women.

United Nations. “Charter of the United Nations” United Nations, 24 Oct. 1945, https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3930.html

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    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      12 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Right this moment, there are UN peace-keeping missions in: Western Sahara, Central African Republic, Mali, DR of the Congo, Darfur, Golan, Cyprus, Lebanon, Abey, Kosovo, South Sudan, India and Pakistan and lastly the Middle East.

      If any of these places fall apart, the humanitarian disaster and the masses of refugees that would result out of it, would be a tragedy. So, the UN is critical. Unless You are ready to deal with millions of refugees yourself.

      Sure the UN is often powerless. There are military alliances between specific nations and there are countries at the UN who hold Veto power. It is extremely difficult to get consensus but a little consenus is better than none.

      There are 95,423 soldiers from 121 countries contributing to Peace Keeping missions right now (data from UN website). Just the fact alone that there are soldiers from different countries working to keep peace around the world is in itself good news. It shows people from around the world trying to keep the entire planet safe. It is a monumental task, wih obviously huge challanges and many failures at times but just because we fail once in a while, that does not mean we give-up.

      Just think of geo-politics without the UN ... run some scenarios in your mind. What would happen in many parts of the world, without the UN peace keepers? I for one am thankful for them.

      Good article though; You made some valid points and this is an important topic of discussion.

      All the best!

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