What is the UN?• The united nations is an international organization established on 24th October 1945 to help stabilize relationships between countries after the world war. Its purpose is to maintain peace and security; to develop friendly relationships between countries, to help solve global problems and to promote human rights. The organisation supports countries in a number of ways, from clearing landmines, helping relief efforts in the aftermath of disasters and intervening as peacekeepers in conflict situations. There are currently 16 UN peacekeeping missions going on worldwide, involving a total of 114000 people.
How do countries become members?• They have to accept the UN charter, which sets out both the right and obligations of member countries. In 1945, this charter was signed by 51 countries. There are now 192 members – almost every country in the world. The only non members of the UN are the Vatican city ( or holy see), which is an official observer state; Palestine, also an observer with a special “non- member entity” status presented by the PLO; Taiwan, which the UN considers as part of China; Western Sahara, a ‘non self-governing territory’ whose status as a sovereign state is in dispute between mexic and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic republic; the cook islands and the Niue, which are represented in the UN by New Zealand.
Who are these people?Former secretary general Kofi Annan Current secretary general Ban Ki Moon
• To quote from the letter: Charting a New Horizon for UN Peacekeeping, " we know that if we fail to continuously attend to peacekeeping, international peace and security will suffer. Where peace operations fail, thousands may die and hundreds of thousands may be displaced, inter-state tensions may increase and conflicts may reignite. But where peacekeeping succeeds, we can create the conditions for lasting stability and strengthen the foundations of our shared security."
• Following the extensive destruction and horror associated with the First World War, the proposed formation of a league of nations (LON) was a significant feature of the peacemaking process at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Many statesmen around the world, most notably president Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America, had expressed interest in establishing an international inter- government organization for the maintenance of world peace and security.
• However, around two decades after being established the League faded away after being powerless to stop Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia ( now ethiopia) and Japan’s invasion of Manchuria. Benito Mussolini, Italy’s prime minister, quipped that “the league is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out.” The UN was established after World War 2 as a successor to the league.
• The general assembly consists of six main committees. Resolutions passed in these committees provide important directions and priorities that will direct the work of bodies established by the Assembly to study and report on specific issues:• First committee: Disarmament and International Security (DISEC)• Second committee: Economical and Financial (ECOFIN)• Third Committee: Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (SOCHUM)• Fourth Committee: Special Political and Decolonization ( SPECPOL)• Fifth committee: Administrative and Budgetary• Sixth committee: Legal
• Decisions on important questions, such as those on disarmament, international peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require two thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority; during plenary sessions, resolutions may be adopted by acclamation, without objection or without a vote.
Task• So far, we have only been told how the UN came about, and perhaps for some of those who joined MUNs, observed how restrictive the UN is like. We have not been really told about the flaws of the UN, and so now with the remaining time do come up with examples of how the UN has failed and present!
What happened?• In April 1992, the government of the Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Over the next several years, Bosnian Serb forces, with the backing of the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army, targeted both Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and Croatian civilians for atrocious crimes resulting in the deaths of some 100,000 people (80 percent Bosniak) by 1995. It was the worst act of genocide since the Nazi regimes destruction of some 6 million European Jews during World War II.
Stay away if you cannotstomach photos of deadbodies and people close tothe stage of death bystarvation.
Cannot confirm if this image is that of the Bosnian Muslims, but they were living inconditions worse than this.
Bodies being dug up and given a proper burial place.
Thoughts?• Guiding questions:• What could have been the reason for the UN not intervening?• What did this incident reflect of UN led interventions?• If I were to take the NATO intervention in Libya and compare it to the time taken by UN to reach a decision on Libya, what is the difference between these two bodies? (Clue: UN is ultimately a bureaucratic and peace keeping force.)• What is lacking in the UN in general?