The Role Of The Un In The Contemporary World International Law Essay

Despite the United Nations many failures and successes it still continues to be the world’s best peacekeeping component and therefore the best hope the worlds got. The above statement creates lots of debate in the modern world however even with the UN’s many fails, it still provides many successes and therefore is the best hope the worlds got. Apart from peacekeeping the UN runs many other agencies and funds that aim to improve peace, development, the environment and health among many other things. The international organization known as the UN was founded in 1945 after the already existent League of Nations had failed to live up to its aims as it did not prevent the Second World War. In 1945, 51 countries signed the UN’s peace charter in dedicating to maintain international peace and security. Today the United Nations has 192 member states and many peacekeeping operations.

The United Nations aims to maintain international peace and security, promoting social progress, provide better living standards and basic human rights to all and to co-ordinate efforts for a safer world for our present and future generations. Evidently the League of Nations did not prevent war after World War One as the UN was a result of World War Two, another main factor that the UN wishes to maintain under control. The UN has a system that is based on five principal organs; it was previously six however the Trusteeship Council is currently suspended since 1994 as it had prepared the 11 countries to govern for themselves. Therefore the five councils are the General Assembly, The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Security Council, The Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice.

The General Assembly is the main reasoning assembly. It is composed of all the member states and it is the only time and place when all the members of the UN have an equal vote and when any nation may voice their opinion. All member states have the opportunity to address the assembly. The assembly is run by the Secretary-General (currently Ban Ki-Moon) who is also seen as the “leader” of the UN. Current issues are discussed such as peace and security actions, elections of members to organs such as heads and semi-permanent members for the Security Council and funding matters. Many positive actions take place due to the UN however as the assembly’s resolutions are non binding they cannot force any actions on a state as the members are under no legal obligation. This leaves the UN with little power regarding the co-operation of member states; this problem also persists in the Security Council when the permanent members use their “veto” power.

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The Security Council could be seen as the most powerful part of the UN as any organ can make recommendations however the Security Council has the power to make binding decisions. All member states are bound by the UN charter to obey the Council however it is often that the council cannot come to an agreement due to the “veto” power. The Security Council has 15 members, which five are permanent. These five states are the allied states of World War Two who were seen as “winning” the war. They include Russia, America, UK, France and China. The other ten members are non permanent and change every two years. The council decides on certain resolutions for peace and security. The five permanent members have a veto power that they may use at any time, and as often as they like if they do not agree with a certain decision e.g. intervening between conflicting countries. Therefore many decisions and resolutions have been rejected as it only takes one permanent member to disagree.

This is a huge negative regarding the UN as it has caused many problems e.g. during the Cold War between Russia and the USA the UN could never intervene and come to a decision as either one of the countries would reject a resolutions if they found it would put their country in danger. This explains why the council often cannot come to an agreement. Once the council has agreed and approved for action it first explores actions to settle the dispute peacefully under the terms of the charter, often the UN sends peacekeeping troops to the province where armed conflict would have been caused. The UN does not have army troops therefore they rely on voluntary admission from member states.

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An example where the UN was not successful was the intervention in the Rwandan Civil War in 1994. The Security Council voted to pull the peacekeepers out of the war, except for the UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda) its objectives were to supervise and assist the utilization of the Arusha Accords; protocols that were signed to end the Rwandan Civil War. Before the withdrawal of the UN ten Belgian peacekeepers were held hostage and killed. The decisions of the UN could be blamed for the Security Councils indecisive approach.

The Economic and Security Council (ECOSOC) stands for the basics of the UN’s aims to improve the standards of living and promote international economic and social development, mainly focussing on the world’s poverty stricken groups. The council meets every year and since 1998 twice a year to also discuss the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The council’s main activities oversee the activities of a large number of institutions that are known as the UN system, the system includes specialized agencies, programmes and funds. The UN founders decided that they should lighten the suffering of the worlds poorest as the UN believes “that prosperous people do not go to war”. This is achieved by the specialised agencies and programmes such as UNICEF and WHO.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund was created to provide help for all the suffering children due to World War Two. UNICEF is still active today and cares for children throughout the world by providing health care, food, education and water regardless of their age, gender, religion or race. Unlike non-government organizations UNICEF is an inter-governmental organization and is obliged to governments. These organizations have lots of supervision and rely on contributions from anonymous donors, government and fundraisers. The use of well known sports teams has become a popular way of promoting UNICEF as the teams donate money to the organization and then promote the fund. The fund received criticism from the Vatican and Catholic groups when they used some finances to condone the sterilization and abortion in women. Despite the criticism and difficulties UNICEF, together with WHO, endures, many of their projects have been successful in improving the standards of living especially after war destruction and natural disasters.

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The World Health Organization is a specialized agency that obtained its approval and resources from its predecessor, the Health Organization which had been an agency of the League of Nations. It aims to improve the standard of health throughout the world and tries to assist countries in providing better health services and ending disease spreading from country to country. WHO have also attempted to control the outbreaks and spreading of infectious diseases such as malaria, swine flu, TB and HIV/AIDS. While the organization has had many successes in treating patients around the world there has been controversy with the Catholic church again as they do not believe in the use of contraceptives however WHO responded by stating that “it was irresponsible to make statements against the practise of safe sex as there is a global pandemic which has affected many people around the world.”

The Security Council may not have lived up to its aims regarding the Rwandan genocide however ECOSOC managed to assist refugees as WHO and UNICEF provided the bare necessities such as food, shelter and health.

These are perfect examples of the UN’s fails and successes as the Security Council cannot make decisions based on peacekeeping however once the damage has been done seeing as the Security Council couldn’t stop it, the ECOSOC council manages to restore some failures by providing health etc. and did what it could to enable them to return home.

The main problem within the UN lies in the five permanent members of the Security Council. The ability to “veto” a decision does not make the organization democratic. Therefore the UN needs to plan ways to reform the Security Council.

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