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united nations

  1. 1. 21 March 2006 War, Peace and the United Nations Thomas Abraham
  2. 2.  The United Nations was created at the end of the Second World War, replacing the League of Nations  US President Franklin D Roosevelt was a driving force behind the creation of the United Nations  The name “United Nations” was used by Roosevelt to describe the alliance fighting the Axis powers in World War 2
  3. 3. The four policemen  World peace was to be maintained by what Roosevelt described as the “four policemen”-the US, UK, USSR and China, acting together to prevent conflict  These four policemen, along with France, became the five permanent members of the UN Security Council  The USSR initially opposed China’s inclusion as one of the “policemen”, but Roosevelt insisted. Churchill was not happy about it either.
  4. 4. Three of the “policemen” at Yalta in 1945
  5. 5. Cairo 1943
  6. 6. The birth of the United Nations  26 June 1945, representatives of 50 countries sign the charter of the United Nations at a conference in San Francisco  UN officially comes into existence on 24 October 1945
  7. 7. The preamble to the Charter WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED  to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and  to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and  to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and  to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
  8. 8. The UN Charter outlawed war except in self defence  All members were to settle their disputes peacefully  Members were to refrain from the threat of force, or the use of force against other member states  The Security Council, not individual countries, was to decide whether military force is to be used.  Countries were supposed to keep a certain proportion of their armed forces for use by the United Nations
  9. 9. The structure of the UN  Security Council: responsible for peace, has 15 members  General Assembly: main deliberative forum of the UN has 191 members  The UN Secretariat headed by the Secretary General  International Court of Justice based in The Hague, Holland
  10. 10.  Economic and Social Council- deals with issues of economic development  Specialised agencies such as the World Health Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Labour Organization
  11. 11. The Security Council  The Security Council has five permanent members: US, UK, France, Russia and China.  10 other countries elected for two year terms  Not all members are equal: permanent members have the power of veto  Charter gives the Security Council “primary responsibility for international peace and security”
  12. 12. What does the Security Council do to maintain peace?  If the Security Council decides there is a threat to international peace it normally begins by calling for negotiations to resolve the problem  The UN Secretary General or his representative talks to the countries involved and urges them to settle the problem
  13. 13. If that does not work  Can impose diplomatic and economic sanctions  Air and sea blockades  If there is still no progress the Security Council can authorize military action
  14. 14. What did the United Nations do when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990?  On August 2, the day of the invasion, the Security Council passes the following resolution calling for Iraq to withdraw unconditionally from Kuwait
  15. 15. 21 April 2006 Resolution 660 (1990) 2 August 1990 The Security Council, Alarmed by the invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 by the military forces of Iraq Determining that there exists a breach of international peace and security as regards the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait Acting under Articles 39 and 40 of the Charter of the United Nations, 1. Condemns The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait 2. Demands that Iraq withdraw immediately and unconditionally all its forces to the positions in which they were located on 1 August 1990 3. Calls upon Iraq and Kuwait to begin immediately intensive negotiations for the resolution of their differences and supports all efforts in this regard, and especially those of the League of Arab states 4. Decides to meet again as necessary to consider further steps to ensure compliance with the present resolution
  16. 16.  When that did not work, the Security Council passed another resolution four days later imposing economic sanctions
  17. 17. Resolution 661 (1990) Of 6 August 1990 3. Decides that all States shall prevent: a) The import into their territories of all commodities and products originating in Iraq or Kuwait exported from the date of the present resolution; b) Any activities by their nationals or in their territories which would promote or are calculated to promote the export or trans-shipment of any commodities or products from Iraq or Kuwait ; and any dealings by their nationals or their flag vessels or in their territories in any commodities or products originating in Iraq or Kuwait and exported there from from the date of the present resolution, including in particular any transfer of funds to Iraq or Kuwait for the purposes of such activities or dealings c) The sale or supply by their nationals or from their territories or from their flag vessels or any commodities or products, including weapons or any other military equipment, whether or not originating in their territories but not including supplies intended strictly for medical purposes, and in humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs, to any person or anybody in Iraq or Kuwait
  18. 18. Resolution 660 (contd) 4. Decides that all States shall not make available to the Government of Iraq, or to any commercial, industrial or public utility undertaking in Iraq or Kuwait, any funds or any other financial or economic resources and shall prevent their nationals and any persons within their territories from removing from their territories or otherwise making available to that government or to any such undertaking any such funds or resources and from remitting any other funds to persons or bodies within Iraq or Kuwait except payments exclusively for strictly medical or humanitarian purposes, and in humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs.
  19. 19.  When Iraq still did not budge, the Security Council on November 29 authorized the use of military force if Iraq did not withdraw by January 15 1991.
  20. 20. Resolution 687 (1990) 29 November 1990 The Security Council Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter 1. Demands that Iraq comply fully with resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent decisions relevant resolutions and decides while maintaining all its decisions to allow Iraq one final opportunity, as a pause of goodwill to do so 2. Authorizes Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait , unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the abovementioned resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area: 3. Requests all States to provide appropriate support for the actions undertaken in pursuance of paragraph 2 above 4.Requests the States concerned to keep the Security Council regularly informed on the progress of actions undertaken pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 3 above
  21. 21. The weakness of the UN system in enforcing peace  Veto power: the UN can only take serious action when all the “policemen” agree: “Decisions of the Security Council shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members”  When one or other great power has been involved, the UN has been powerless- ie Hungary in 1956 and Vietnam  The exception was Korea in 1950.
  22. 22. UN peacekeeping operations  At present, there are 40,000 UN peacekeepers serving all over the world.  13 UN peacekeeping missions all over the world  The first ever UN peacekeeping mission established in the Middle East in 1948 is still continuing
  23. 23.  The UN has no military force of its own, and is dependent on other countries to provide military forces  The UN Charter requires countries to maintain a certain part of their forces for the use of the UN. This has never been done  Instead of representing the world, the UN is often pushed into becoming an instrument of its most powerful members
  24. 24. The United Nations system was based on the belief that the great powers who won the Second World War would continue their war time alliance, and continue to work together to maintain world peace. That never happened.
  25. 25. Genocide in Rwanda:the UN’s greatest failure  During 100 days beginning on April 7 1994, at least 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis, were slaughtered by Hutu militiamen in Rwanda  At the time the United Nations had 2,000 peacekeepers, led by Canadian General Romeo Dallaire. Dallaire warned UN headquarters that a massacre was being planned. His warnings were ignored  When the massacre began, the UN Security council members decided to reduce the force to 270.
  26. 26.  France and Belgium sent in aircraft and troops, but only to evacuate their own nationals.  The United States did not want to get involved, and was reluctant to describe the killings as genocide. Instead, they were described as “acts of genocide”  This was actually the biggest genocide since the end of the second world war  Why did the world do nothing?
  27. 27.  After the killing of 18 US soldiers in Somalia, no western government wanted to get involved in another African conflict  Rwanda is of little strategic importance to the west  Can a similar genocide happen again? Probably. Likely places are in southern Sudan and the Congo.  Will the world do anything about it?
  28. 28. Another blow to the UN’s authority  The United States and Britain violated the UN charter by going to war in Iraq  The UN and the rest of the world could do nothing  But once Iraq was occupied, the US went back to the UN for help in reconstructing Iraq, conducting elections and so on.
  29. 29. Points to remember  The United Nations can only do what its members, particularly its most powerful members allow it it do.  When the UN is unable to act, it is usually because one or two of its powerful members do not want it to do so.  The UN is not perfect, but it is the only institution we have where countries can solve problems together.
  30. 30. The U.N’s strengths:  Picking up the pieces after a war ends and rebuilding societies -Cambodia -Iraq? -Afghanistan?
  31. 31. Social, economic, environmental issues  Some of the Millennium development goals: 1. Eradicate extreme poverty: By 2015, reduce by half the number of people whose income is less that $1 a day 2. By 2015, ensure that all children complete primary schooling 3. Halve by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitation 4. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies provide access to affordable drugs in developing countries
  32. 32. Other areas the UN is active in  Health, refugees, human rights, environmental issues, sustainable development, promoting economic development-all these issues require international cooperation. The UN is the only forum for such cooperation