The United Nations Organization is the most significant international organization that exists in the world. It was established in 1945 with the aim of maintaining peace in the international state system, developing cordial relations with other states, and promoting inter-state cooperation. The backdrop to such eminent objectives are the two consecutive World Wars that took place.
The failure of the League of Nations (which emerged as a consequence of the first World War) made it more evident to create a stronger and stable international organization. But we should not be totally satisfied with the mere existence of UNO as there are a set of problems associated with its role and implementation of some policy decisions.
The realist school of thought believes that the international state system is anarchic in nature and somehow, before the existence of a comprehensive organization like the UNO, it was anarchical in nature. To do away with this chaotic situation, there arises the need for setting up an organization or a world government; and this explanation can be another justification to the existence of UNO. But how far has the organization been successful in accomplishing its roles and responsibilities? Let us dive deeper into that.
A CHANGED WORLD AND THE RESPONSE
Since its inception to date, the United Nations Organization has witnessed a number of changes, which in turn have shaped its functioning. These include:
The number of members of UNGA was 51 in 1945 and now it is 193. This has been the result of rapid decolonization, especially after the second World War.
With the increase in per capita income and more exposure, the aspirations of a ‘good life’ have changed globally. This has led the UN to respond to the ever-growing needs of various nations.
With rapid globalization, especially since the 1990s, the world has changed and we feel more connected now. The issues related to trans boundary communication, terrorism, climate change, and other such global concerns have entered the albeit of UNO.
As a response to the changing world and its needs, the first and the most important thing that UNO did was ensure sustainable development. This ensured a balanced development for all the countries (though the rich and developed nations had already exploited the environment and still they do) and promoted a collective approach towards saving the environment.
CONCERNS OF HUMAN RIGHTS
With regards to the idea of human rights, the response offered by UNO has been mixed and I would call it unsatisfactory. The theoretical framework documented by the organization seems perfect, but its actual implementation has lacunae. It was only during the initial years that it responded to and supported the anti-apartheid movement. But later when the UNGA took a decision regarding mass atrocities, it could do nothing to prevent the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971, Cambodia (from 1975-1979) and Rwanda in 1994.
A very contemporary example can be of the annexation of the Taliban over the state of Afghanistan. Children and women of the country are being tortured in ways that we can’t even imagine but the organization has not been able to take up any necessary steps to stop such a violation of valuable human rights.
A very significant step towards the protection of human rights can be seen as the creation of UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) in the year 2006 that was created as a response to the heightened concerns regarding human rights from the international community. So, one thing is quite evident that theoretically a lot of steps are taken, but their practical execution is delayed.
INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY
International peace and security are listed as one of the essential objectives of the UNO, but it has not been fully actualized in a real sense. At times, UNO has failed to maintain peace amidst states and we have also realized that some states do not tend to take up the organization seriously. There have been various instances where UNO acted like a mere spectator and did not actually do something practical.
A positive step towards giving representation to all in the UNSC was its expansion, wherein there was a provision of having an additional four non-permanent members. This was a response to the entry of more and more developing nations into the UNO, but all the permanent members have agreed to the practice of pen-holder ships on certain issues on the UNSC agenda.
The UN peacekeeping also seems to be a total failure sometimes as it has not been able to prevent conflicts in Africa. A very recent instance of the state of Afghanistan shows a very clear picture that peacekeeping is not that relevant in today’s world as they do not respond well on time.
The biggest challenge to UNO has been the rise of terrorism and inefficient response from the organization makes the people and states feel uncomfortable about their safe existence. Again, one thing is very clear that UNO does a commendable job while theoretically formulating counter-terrorism resolutions, but their implementation takes a lot of time and that is alarming.
We need an international organization to regulate world affairs, but it has to act responsibly and strongly in times of need. There are absolutely no issues with the ideals of the UN Charter, but what needs to be questioned is their effective implementation. It is still not late; we must realize the importance of having a comparatively stronger and more effective international organization.
B.A. Honours Political Science third-year
I am keen on writing, reading and bringing a change in myself through the education I receive.