University of Oxford

The United Nations

Introduction:

The united nation denoted as UN was founded in the year 1945, its formation replaced the then organisation known as the League of Nations, and during its formation there were 50nations that signed the UN charter today the organisation has 192 nations who are its members. It was formed for the purposes of facilitating the cooperation of the international laws, for human right issues, improving international securities and economic development.

Its main aims therefore is to protect human right, maintaining security and peace, improving the living standards of nations, international law initiatives and the promotion of international interdependence among nations.

Its headquarters are in New York, this organisation however has administrative bodies that include the ICJ which stands for international court of justice, WHO and UNICEF, the organisation is governed by the secretary general and its current secretary general is Ki Moon who is from South Korea.

The organisation is funded by contributions by its members. The highest contributor towards the UN budget is the United States while other major contributors include Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Canada all who are members of the UN.

The united nations has been involved in various activities that help the citizens of member countries that are faced with need, these activities involve peace keeping missions, giving of food and drinks to refugees of war and starving citizens as a result of famine, the promotion of economic growth and the improvement of their living standards of citizens of member countries.

This paper discusses the various positive and negative sides of the United Nations, the positive are general and the negative critics are from various countries that have experienced failure by the United Nations, finally the conclusion summarises the main points and also states whether the United Nations is a failure or a success.

Success of the United Nations:

Peace keeping:

The United Nations is involved in peace keeping missions whereby it sends personnel to areas where conflict exists in an aim to enforce peace in these regions. Because the United Nations has no military men the member countries voluntarily provide them for a peace keeping mission. Some of these areas where the UN has succeeded in peace keeping include peace keeping mission in Congo, Korea and many other regions. Therefore for their efforts in peace keeping the United Nations can be seen to have succeeded in these area and promotion of peace among member countries.

International security;

The united nations have also fought for disarmament of nations who may have nuclear weapons, they also fight for the ban of nuclear test by nations, and as a result of these efforts the UN promotes international security.

Human rights:

As a result of the world war two genocide the formation of this organisation led to the pursue of human rights, the organisation therefore fights for human rights and this is evident from missions aimed at providing food and drinks to war refugees and also nations faced with famine. They do this these on humanitarian grounds and they have succeeded in over 24 countries since its formation.

Promotion of economic growth and living standards;

The United Nations has actively been involved in promotion of economic growth and raising living standards, this is actively seen in the 1996 oil for food strategy which allowed the oil rich countries to exchange oil and in turn get food, medicine and other products from member countries, this worked in Iraq which is an oil rich country and in turn it received food and medicine from the other countries in return.

Other organisations governed by the United Nations:

The united nations also governs bodies that have established helpful programmes to needy nations, these organisation include WHO, UNESCO, FOA, UNIDO, WIPO among other, all these organisations have their own purpose and aim at providing help to needy people from member countries.

Failure by the United Nations:

The united nations have been as a failure in many areas, it is blamed for example to have failed to stop the 1998 Rwanda genocide which as a result saw the killing of approximately one million people, the reason why they are blamed for this is because the security council failed to approve military actions in Rwanda peace keeping.

The United Nations is also blamed for failing to give and deliver food to starving individuals in Somalia in the year 1993, the UN troops failed to give food to starving individuals in the country and instead the food was seized by war lords.

In Palestine there exist a photo that shows how a UN ambulance carrying armed Palestinian forces in the year 1994, another issue is that there exist complains that the UN military men result to sexual abuse and these complaints are evident in Congo, Haiti and Sudan.

The United Nations has been as a failure by the developing countries in that it failed to stop the united states from going into war in Iraq, the united nations pleaded with the united states but their efforts failed, many developing countries see this as result of the united states as the major contributor to the funding of the united nations.

For the above reason the UN has failed to formulate laws that are followed by countries, they must enforce these laws and should adopt sanctions to countries that defy these laws they set, it has to have power over its member countries and non of the countries should defy the laws set. An example is when Iraq defied many laws in the past that were set by the United Nations to stop nuclear weapons and the test of these weapons and Iraq defied the organisation.

In 1998 the United Nations is also blamed for failing to intervene in the second war in Congo when they failed to effectively stop the war and also the provision of humanitarian aid, as a result of these nearly five million people in Congo perished as a result.

In Srebrenica in the year 1995 the United Nations is also said to have failed when they failed to authorise the use of force, Srebrenica was termed as a safe place but the Dutch peace keepers were authorised not to use forces.

The UN is also said to have failed to implement their policies in the disarmament of Lebanese military groups, these groups include Hezbollah and Fatah, their failure to implement their policy and react to their obligations has led to the people loose their hope and expectations about the united nations.

Conclusion:

The united nations has helped in the maintenance of peace in the nations faced with conflicts, despite the various problems and critics faced by the organisations it is better to still have the organisation than not to have, the reason being they have succeeded in various missions aimed at providing help to needy groups. They have participated in peace keeping, provision of food and drinks to starving citizens who are faced by war or famine.

The United Nations therefore cannot be seen as a failure despite various critics, there is need to support this organisation and help strengthen it in order for it to be in a position to run effectively and efficiently. However there is need to make adjustments to decision making whereby the organisation should never stand back to areas that are affected by war or famine, they should react immediately to avoid death and genocides that have resulted in the past.

References:

United Nations website (2007) history and aims of the United Nations, retrieved on 22nd October

Thomas Weiss (2006) Handbook on the United Nations, Oxford University Press, Oxford

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