Essay: The United Nations and Human Rights

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  • Subject area(s): Human rights essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published on: December 7, 2019
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  • The United Nations and Human Rights
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One criticism against the United Nations  structure is that it does not always engage in constructive  discussion of Human  Rights issues in the real sense of it, but a forum for politically  selective finger pointing and criticism. The states with problematic  human rights records in the actual sense of it makes up the Security Council and this is  viewed  largely  as a way  to defend themselves. it is believed that the foundation of the United Nations was rooted in some selfish elitist scheme to be able to control and act as untouchable overlord rather than International body of peace. The politics involved  in the activities of the United Nations is too much and  favours the powerful countries against the smaller ones . that is the reason why Unites States can on its own invade Afghanistan when it was crystal clear that Afghanistan had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks on the United States. The unilateral decision of the United States to unilaterally (although with the quiet support of the United Nations) invade Afghanistan  affirms the wide belief that the United Nations is a collection of Countries run by Kings, dictators and moneyed/resources’ interests.   Another major  setback  is the fact that reports of Rapporteurs are not to get to the General Assembly or Council until after  months  or even years  after investigation would have been held.  The Human Rights Commission (now Human Right council) is also sometimes biased. With what befell Afghanistan and the extra judicial invasion of Libya, it might be safe to say that the United Nations and the Security Council are Concocted tyrants, the bulk of them right here in our own paradise of arrogant, selfish, power lust, domineering set of acclaimed word leaders.  In 2002, Professor Anne Bayefsky wrote “that the United Nations members seek to avoid directly critisising  states with human rights problems by frequently focusing on Israel”.

The politics  of the United Nations as a whole has a lot of influence in the structure or approach to Human Rights issues and world politics at large, with Human Righs abuses the major theme of the United Nations.  Recent events in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere  once again demonstrates that we must all give all we have so as to forge a balanced and credible global body to expose human right abuses  without politicizing  the exercise, the Libyan and Afghanistan debacle has shown clearly how an acclaimed helping hand can overrun an entire nation.  To have a better world, the Human Right Council that has come to replace the Human Right Commission must be accountable to all countries  not only  a few and also be broadly  representative. Imagine an ostensibly global human rights body that was only accountable to and representations of a handful of countries.

The United Nations blue print is working perfectly for those who created it for themselves, but it doesn’t work for smaller and less economically buoyant nations and that is why consolidation for power has perpetually increased everywhere, how on earth will friendship with powerful nations prevent the invasion of the United Nation’s forces to bail out Syria.  Because of alliances with powerful forces of the world, the United Nations cannot credibly  or effectively  speak out against or even influence Human Rights situations in much  of the world. In the  midst of the Arab  spring, the Human Rights Council backed by  the UN General Assembly’s  universal membership voted unanimously to suspended Libya’s membership. The Council also condemned Syria’s human right  violations by a  strong majority  vote, forced it to withdraw its bid for a seat  and appointed  an investigation into human rights violations, the Council’s actions were seen as legitimate  because they  were supported by a global representative body. All these although applauded were followed by extra judicial invasion and illegal silence of the United Nations. For the wide acceptance of the United Nations, there must be transparency; there should be regular interactions between the leadership of Intergovernmental organisations with civil societies and the media, and there is need for creation of well assessable data base to make available works and call for opinions before taking actions. There is need for the United Nations to work for people and not governments, a people centered institution would have acted on Syria and wouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan to please the government of America. Radical new forms of representation should be explored. It has been suggested that the United Nations should do more to promote itself and allow people see beyond the power struggles of the Security Council. There should also be a balance of power and more regional representation at the Security Council. The current picture on Human Rights is worrisome, there seems to be an erosion of commitment, the United Nations should show equal commitment to the enforcement of rights and not appear like a witch hunt tool in the hands of the United Nations.

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