Does the United Nations still have a role to play in global politics and ending humanitarian catastrophes and disasters? Or are they simply a for-profit organization that exists and preys on people’s pity for African plight? Considering their level of failure relative to their level of “fund raising” in the past two decades, I would say they UN functions as the latter.
To many outside the hegemony of the dominant Western global powers that call the tunes at the UN, the organisation is fast losing credibility and is increasingly becoming irrelevant. Others regard the UN as nothing more than a bloated, corrupt “not-for-profit” charity organization experiencing acute brand crisis. Its priorities seem to be the comforts of its “disaster tourists” whose approach to catastrophe and genocides has always been to express “deep concern.”
Being a “not-for-profit” organisation whose success relies heavily on constituent perception, the UN is facing a significant challenge on its brand relevance and consideration, particularly in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. It is no longer perceived as an effective global body whose legitimacy and authority are respected when its actions must go against the strategic interests of the most powerful states on its Security Council.
The United Nations has let down millions of the world’s weakest and most vulnerable people, especially in Africa. The U.N.’s failure to prevent the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Northern Uganda, 23 years with over 550,000 dead and counting; Rwanda, in 1994, over 800,000 dead; Democratic Republic of Congo, five million dead; Southern Sudan, over 200,000 dead; and, Darfur, 300,000 dead, are shameful episodes that have contributed to cyniscms about the capability and authority of the United Nations to preserve world peace and ensure human rights and global justice for all.
The United Nations has also been plagued with other troubles. It stood aside and watched as the United States, the UK and their coalition illegally invaded a sovereign state, Iraq, toppled the regime and hanged its leaders, on fictitious claims that the country was producing WMDs and was behind 9/11; a move that has proved a costly disaster both to the Iraqis and allied forces. The United Nations has also failed miserably to intervene in the Israel – Palestine onslaught.
It’s not even just the failure of the UN to find relevancy and effectiveness in humanitarian catastrophes, but:
The U.N. credibility crisis has also been compounded by a series of peacekeeping scandals, from Bosnia to Burundi to Sierra Leone. By far the worst instances of abuse have taken place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); it has the U.N.’s second largest peacekeeping mission, with over 16,000 peacekeepers.
In the DRC, the UN recently failed to ensure that civilians were protected from a botched “Operation Lightening Thunder” by the armies of Uganda, DRC and Southern Sudan – resulting in over 1,200 deaths. Again this was an operation planned, blessed and monitored by Washington, wherein Uganda sent its army in a failed bid to neutralize the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) under Joseph Kony.
Previously, acts of criminality have been perpetrated by U.N. peacekeepers and civilian personnel entrusted with protecting some of the weakest and most vulnerable women and children in the world.
The crimes involved rape and forced prostitution of women and young girls, including inside a refugee camp in the town of Bunia in north-eastern Congo. The alleged perpetrators include UN military and civilian personnel from Nepal, Morocco, Tunisia, Uruguay, South Africa, Pakistan, and France.
Read the whole thing at BSN.