Tuesday, December 1, 2015
United Nations Organisation
The structure of the United Nations Organization
There are six organs of UN:
· The general assembly
· The security council
· The secretariat
· The international court of justice
· The trusteeship council
· The economic and social council
a) The general assembly:-
a. Meeting of the representatives from all the member nations;
b. Each member can send up to five representatives;
c. Only one vote per nation;
d. Meets once per year; special sessions can be called at the time of crisis;
i. Discuss and make decisions about international problems;
ii. the work of the many other UN bodie;
f. decisions do not need a unanimous vote as they did in the league assembly;
g. simple majority is enough;
h. special majority in –
i. admitting a new member;
ii. expelling existing members;
iii. actions to be taken to maintain peace;
i. all speeches debates translated into six UN official languages-english, French, Russian, chinese, Spanish and Arabic.
b) The security council:-
a. Sits in permanent session and its function is to deal with crises as they arise; if necessary, by calling on members to take economic or military action against an aggressor
b. Began with 5( permanent – China, france, USA, USSR and Britain)+ 6 ( non permanent for 2 years).
c. 1965, non permanent members were increased to 10..
d. Decisions need at least nine of the 15 members to vote in favour; but must include all 5 permanent members; this means that any one of the permanent members can veto a decision and prevent any action being taken;
e. Absent is not taken as veto;
f. In order to secure some action in the case of veto, general assembly during the Korean war introduced ‘Uniting for peace’ resolution- if security counsil’s proposals are vetoed , the assembly could meet within 24 hours and decide what action to take, even military intervention if necessary.
c) The secretariat:-
a. Office staff of the UN;
b. Headed by the secretary –general; appointed for 5 years by the assembly on the recommendation of the security council;
c. To ensure impartiality he is not from the major powers;
d. He acts as the main spokesperson for the UN ; always at the forefront of international affair; trying to sort out the world’s problems.
d) The international court of justice:-
a. At the Hague
b. Fifteen judges of different nations for 9 years term; elected by GA and SC jointly.
i. Frontier dispute between Holland and Belgium
ii. Disagreement between Britain and Norway over fishing limits.
i. Britain accused Albania to attack greek islands, demanded compensation; the court upheld it; Albania refused to pay, claiming that the court had no right to judge the case.
ii. Though the SC is responsible to implement the court decisions, It has never done so.
e) The trusteeship council:-
a. Job is to govern the territories which were given to the victorious powers during the war and prepare them for independence
b. By 1970 except Namibia most of the mandates had gained their independence.
c. South Africa refused to give the Namibia independence as the white ruling minority did not want to loose the grip on the territory.
d. UN and repeatedly condemned the actions of South Africa;
e. At last in 1990 the pressure of black African nationalism and world opinion forced south Africa to release its grip on Namibia.
f) The economic and social council ( ECOSOC ):-
a. 27 members elected by the general assembly; 1/3rd retiring a year
b. Organizes projects concerned with health, education and other social and economic problems.
c. Appointed four regional commissions ( Europe, latin America, Africa, asia and far east), and commissions on different issues.
d. By 1980 more than 90% of the UN’s annual expenditure was devoted to ECOSOC activities.
How different is the UN from the League of nations
a) The UN has been more successful
a.UN spends much more time and resources on economic and social matter and its scope is much wider than that of the league.
b. UN is committed to safeguarding individual human rights; league did not get involved in.
c. Changes in the procedures of the general assembly and the security council; increased power and prestige of the secretary – general have enabled the UN to take more decisive action than the league ever achieved.
d. Wider membership- between 1963 and 1968 no fewer than 43 new members joined the UN, mainly the emerging states of Africa and asia; by 1993- 183 members.
b) Some of the weaknesses of the league remain:-
a.Like league any one member can use its veto over the decision and UN has no permanent army of his own and has to use forces belonging to its member states.
How successful has the UN been as a peacekeeping organization
UN has been more successful than the League in its peacekeeping efforts, especially in crisis which did not directly involve the interests of the great powers.
1) West new guinea, 1946:
a.UN helped to arrange independence from Holland for the dutch East indies, which became Indonesia
b. But fighting broke out when both countries claimed their right over west new guinea.
c. U thant , SG appealed to both sides to re-open negotiations; it was agreed that the territory should become part of Indonasia; transfer was organied and policed by a UN force.
2) Palestina, 1947:
a.Dispute between Jews and Arabs in Palestine.
b. UN decided to divide Palestine, setting up the Jewish state of Israel which was the UN’s most controversial decision, not accepted by majority of arabs.
c. UN was unable to prevent series of wars between Israel and various arab states.
d. Though it did useful work arranging cease-fires and providing supervisory forces, UN relief and works agency cared for the arab refugees.
3) The Korean war (1950-53)
a.only occasion on which the UN was able to take decisive action in a crisis directly involving the interests of one of the superpowers.
b. Security council called on member states to send help to the south .
c. In fact it was very much an American operation .
d. It had important results for the future of UN;
i. ‘uniting for peace’ resolution was passed;
ii. A bitter attack by USSR on secretary- general Trygvie- lew for what they considered to be his biased role in the crisis.
4) The suez crisis
a.President Nasser nationalized the Suez canal in which british and French had large number of shares.
b. Both sent their troops to protect their interests; at the same time Israelis invaded from the east. The real aim of 3 are to bring down Nasser.
c. Security counsil’s condemnation resolution was vetoed by both Britain and france; general assembly by a majority condemned the invasions .
d. In view of the weight of opinion against them, aggressors agreed to withdraw their troops, provided the Un ensured a reasonable settlement.
e. UN force of 5000 made up of troops from ten different countries moved in.
f. The prestige of the UN was greatly enhanced.
5) The Hungarian rising (1956)
a.Took place at the same time as the suez crisis, and showed the UN at its most ineffective.
b. When the hunagarians tried to exert their independence from Russia control, soviet troops entered hungary to crush the revolt.
c. Hungarian government appealed to the UN, but the Russians vetoed a security council resolution calling for a withdrawal of their forces.
d. The general assembly passed the same resolution and set up a committee to investigate the problem; but the USSR refuse to cooperate with the committee.
6) The Belgian Congo civil war (1960-64)
a.When the Congo dissolved into chaos immediately after gaining independence, a UN force numbering over 20000 managed to restore some order.
b. A special UN Congo fund was set up to help with the recovery and development of the ravaged country.
c. But the financial cost was so high that the UN was brought close to bankruptcy, especially when Britain, France, Belgium refused to pay their contributions because they were unhappy with the way the UN handled the situation.
a.A former british colony got independence in 1960.
b. A civil war broken out in 1963 between majoritarian greeks and minority turks .
c. UNPKF arrived and an uneasy peace was restored, but it needed 3000 UN troops permanently stationed in Cyprus.
d. 1974- the greek Cypriots tried to unite the island with Greece;this prompted the Turkish Cypriots, helped by invading Turkish army troops, to seize the north of the island for their own territory and went on to expel all greeks who were unfortunate enough to be living in that area; again UN forces achieved a cease fire.
a.Lying between India and Pakistan was claimed by both. Already in 1948 the UN had negotiated a cease fire after fighting broke out.
b. Indians were occupying the southern part and Pakistan occupying north, and for next 16 years the Unpoliced the ceasefire between the two zones.
c. When Pakistani troops invaded the indian zone in 1965, a short war developed, but once again the UN successfully intervened and hostilities seized.
d. The original dispute still remained.
9) The Czechoslovak crisis
a.A repeat performance of the Hungarian rising .
b. Russian and other warsaw pact troops were sent in to enforce obedience to the USSR.
c. Security council tried to pass a motion condemning this action, but the Russians vetoed it.
d. There was nothing the UN could do in view of the USSR’s refusal to cooperate.
10) Recent successes and failures
a.the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon( UNIFIL ) has been operating in south Lebanon since 1978 in a frontier dispute between Lebanese Christians and Palestinians. UNIFIL has had some success, but the struggle is still going on.
b. The UN was successful in bringing an end to the long drawn-out war between Iran and Iraq.
c. UN action during the Gulf war was impressive
d. Problems in Cambodia dragged on for nearly twenty years, but eventually the UN was able to arrange a solution.
e. Mozambique, which gained independence from Portugal in1975, was torn by civil war for many years. The UN now became fully involved operating a programme of demobilizing and disarming the various armies, distributing humanitarian relief and preparing for elections, which took place successfully in 1994.
a. Somalia disintegrated into civil war in 1991; a power struggle developed between rival supporters of generals Aidid and Ali mohammed;
b.The situation was chaotic as food supplies and communications broke down and thousands of refugees were fleeing into Kenya.
c. UN troops mainly US arrived to safeguard the aid and to restore law and order by disarming the ‘warlords’.
d.Aided, was not prepare to be disarmed .
e.UN troops began to suffer casualties; americans withdrew their troops and UN troops followed it.
f. A similar situation developed in bosnia .
Successful UN military intervention , like korea and the gulf war , only happened when UN troops actively supported one side against the other.
What other work is the UN responsible for?
The majority of its work is concerned with its less spectacular aims of safeguarding human rights and encouraging economic, social, educational and cultural progress throughout the world.
a) The human rights commission
a.Works under the supervision of ECOSOC.
b. Tries to ensure that all governments treat their people in a civilized way .
c. A 30 point Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948.
d. The most important rights are:
i. A standard of living high enough to keep him and his family in good health;
ii. Be free from slavery, racial discrimination, arrest and imprisonment without trial and torture.
iii. Have a fair trial in public and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty;
iv. Move about freely in his country and be able to leave the country;
v. Get married , have children, work, own property and vote in elections;
vi. Have opinions and express them freely.
e. Later the commission produced a Declaration of Rights of the Child in 1959.
i. Adequate food and medical care;
ii. Free education;
iii. Adequate opportunity for relaxation and play
iv. Protection from racial, religious and other type of discrimination.
f. All the members are expected to produce a report on Human Rights for every 3 years.
g. Those who don’t produce the report, UN declare these countries as the most violators of the Human rights; the hope that pressure of world opinion will influence the governments concerned.
b) The International Labour Organization(ILO):-
Head quarters – Geneva
· Every person is entitled to a job;
· Equal opportunities for everybody
· Minimum standards of decent working conditions;
· Right to organize themselves into unions
· There should be full social security provision for all workers
a. Nobel prize for peace in 1969.
b. It sends out experts to demonstrate new equipment and techniques, sets up training centres in developing countries.
c) The world health organization:
a.It aims to bring the world to a point where all its peoples are not just free of disease, nut are at a high level of health.
b. WHO provides money to train doctors , nurses and other health workers for developing countries, keeps governments informed about new drugs, and provides free contraceptive pills for women in third world countries.
c. One of its successful achievement was complete elimination of smallpox in the 1980’s.
d) The food and Agriculture Organization(FAO):-
a.Aims to raise living standards by encouraging improvements in agricultural production.
b. FAO experts show people in poor countries how to increase food production by the use of fertilizers, new techniques and new machinery, and cash is provided to fund new projects.
e) The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
b. Encourage the spread of literacy;
c. Fosters international co-operation between scientists, scholars and artists in all fields.
d. Working on the theory that the best way to avoid war is by educating people’s minds in the pursuit of peace.
f) The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund ( UNICEF )
a.To help improve the health and living standards of children all over the world, especially in poorer countries.
b. Works closely with the WHO, setting up health centres, training health workers, and running health education and sanitation schemes.
c. UNICEF launched its ‘ child health revolution’ campaign which was designed to reduce the child death rate by simple methods such as encouraging breast feeding and immunizing babies against common diseases such as measles, diphtheria, polio and tetanus.
g) The United Nations Relief and Works Agency ( UNRWA )
a.To deal with the problem of Arab refugees from Palestine who were forced to leave their homes when Palestine was divided up to form the new state of Israel .
h) Financial and economic agencies
a.International monitory fund( IMF)
i. Designed to foster co-operation between nations to encourage the growth of trade and the full development of nation’s economic potential.
ii. It allows short-term loans to countries in financial difficulties, provided that their economic policies meet with the IMF’s approval and that they are prepared to change policies if the IMF thinks it necessary.
iii. There was a great resentment among the poorer nations about changing policies. EX:- Jamaica and Tanzania, were required to change their socialist policies before loans were allowed.
b. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( the world bank )
i. Provides loans for specific development projects, such as building dams to generate electricity, introducing new agricultural techniques and family planning campaign.
ii. Since USA, provides the largest share of the cash for the bank, controls its decision.
iii. When Poland, Czechoslovakia applied for loans, they were both refused because they were communist states. Both resigned from the Bank and IMF.
c. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade(GATT):-
i. 1947- member states of the UN agreed to reduce some of their tariffs in order to encourage international trade.
d. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
i. To encourage the development of industry in the third world cnd to pressurize rich countries to buy third world products.
Verdict on the United Nations Organization:-
Still the world is full of economic and social problems and acts of aggression and wars continued.
The UN failures were caused to some extent by weaknesses in its system.
(a) The lack of a permanent UN army:-
a.It is difficult to the UN to prevail upon an aggressive powerful nation. If persuasion and pressure of world opinion fail, the UN has to rely on member nations to provide troops to enable it to enforce decisions.
b. Ex- USSR was able to ignore UN demands for the withdrawal of Russian troops from hungary and Afghanistan .
c. UN involvement in Somalia and bosnia showed the impossibility of the UN being able to stop a war when the warring parties were not ready to stop fighting.
(b) When should the UN become involved?
a.This is the problem involved during the course of war.
b. Sometimes it hangs back too long, so that the problem becomes more difficult to solve;
c. Sometimes it hesitates so long that it scarcely becomes involved at all, as happened in Vietnam war and war in angola.
d. This left some states to put more faith in their own regional organizations such as NATO for keeping the peace, and many agreements were worked out without involving the UN ; ex- the end of the Vietnam war , the Camp David peace between Israel and Egypt in 1979, and the settlement of the Rhodesia in the same year.
e. Part of the problem was that the security council was hampered by the veto which its permanent members could use.
f. Although the uniting for peace’ resolution could offset this to some extent, the veto could still cause long delays before decisive action was taken.
(c) The increased membership of the UN during the 1970’s
a.By 1970 members from the third world were in clear majority.
b. As these nations began to work more and more together western nations began to criticize the Third World bloc for being too ‘political’;
c. 1974, UNESCO passed resolutions condemning ‘ colonialism’ and ‘imperialism’.
d. When the western block introduced a general assembly motion condemning terrorism , it was defeated by the arab states and their supporters.
(d) There is a wastage of effort and resources among the agencies
a.Critics claim that the WHO and the FAO overlap too much.
b. The FAO wad criticized in 1984 for spending too much on administration.
c. GATT and UNCTAD even seem to be working against each other; GATT tries to eliminate tariffs and anything else which restricts trade, whereas UNCTAD tries to get preferential treatment for the products of third world countries.
(e) The UN has always been short of funds
a.Entirely dependent on contribution based on tis general wealth an dability to pay.
b. Many member states have refused to pay from time to time, either because of financial difficulties of their own , or as a mark of disapproval of UN policies.
c. The americans wanted the countries which gave most to have more say in how the money was spent, but most smaller members rejected this as undemocratic.
d. 1987, this demand got succeeded.
In spite of all these criticisms, it would be wrong to write the UN off as a failure .
· Provides assembly to 180 countries, can come together and talk to each other. Even the smallest nation has a chance to make itself heard in a world forum.
· It has been successful in bringing some wars to an end more quickly and prevented further conflict. A great deal of human suffering and bloodshed have been prevented by the actions of the UN peace keeping forces and refugee agencies.
· Done valuable work investigating and publicizing human rights violations under repressive regimes like the military governments of Chile and Zaire and influenced governments by bringing international pressure to bear on them.
· Stimulated international cooperation on economic, social and technical matters.
What about the future of the UN?
· many people thought that with the end of the cold war, most of the world’s problems would disappear; this did not happened; there seemed to be more conflicts than ever before; there was still a vitally important role for the UN to play as international peace keeper.
Ø UN should develop a better system of intelligence to enable it to prevent conflicts breaking out
Ø Peace keeping operations need to be speeded up- sometimes as long as four months can elapse between the security council deciding to send troops.
Ø All troops need to be trained to the same high standard; the creation a core military organization, overseeing and co-ordinating the training of UN peace keeping forces, would go a long way towards standardizing the levels of training and experience of the troops which the UN can call upon.
Ø UN could make more use of other , regional organizations such as NATO and the Arab league.
Ø The UN should monitor and restrict the flow of arms to potential trouble-spots ; UN should limit the international sale of arms, through the adoption of a unified code of conduct for the major arms exporter.
Ø The permanent membership of the security council should be widened; this would restore harmony and ensure wider co-operation and goodwill.