Date: Wed Apr 27 2011 - 14:46:03 EDT
UN system needs a major overhaul
Wed, 2011-04-27 04:16 — editor
- News Analysis<http://www.asiantribune.com/category/categories/news-analysis>
Yasser Arafat once attended to address the General Assembly of the United
Nations with an olive branch in his hand. I was puzzled as a school boy as
to what an olive branch got to do with the UN. The school master showed us
an emblem of the UNO and said the UN emblem shows the world being held in
the olive branches of peace.
Every year on 24th October we celebrated the United Nations day and children
were taught that the UN will one day be a world government dispensing
justice to every state big or small powerful or not and world peace would be
achieved through the UN mechanism. After six decades of its existence, the
word has come to a point to question the legitimacy of its existence in
terms of its performances and achievements.
The United Nations organization that was found on 24 October 1945 with a
membership of 51 nations is currently a congregation of 192 sovereign
nations. UN’s stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in international
law, international security economic development and social progress human
rights and achievement of world peace. UN’s aims also expect the member
state to respect each other’s sovereignty.
The UNO was formed in succession to the League of Nations that came in to
being following the horrors of the First World War. The league of nation was
virtually defunct by 1939 as it could not live up to its expectations. The
idea for really functional and meaningful world body was mooted as the
League of Nations could not deliver anything and it died a natural death
with the outbreak of world war in 1939.
It seems the present UN system is in line with its predecessor or even worse
than it heading for the grave, because it has miserably failed to achieve
the objectives expected of it. All signs are that UN can no longer exist in
its present form. The present UN cannot and will not work towards achieving
world peace as it is being used persistently for the benefit of a few
according to the whims and fancies of two or three powerful states.
If one surveys the history of the UNO, particularly in relation to the
handling of conflicts across the globe during the last 65 years, there are
no justifiable reasons to allow it to persist anymore. The UN as a world
body has failed its employees who are incompetent and corrupt and are not
honorable men and women. The incumbent Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who
hold the post since 1st January 2007 is the 9th person to hold that post.
His predecessor Kofi Annan (01/01/1977-31/12/2006) was accused of a series
of scandals. His involvement in the oil-for-food programme is considered to
be the worse corruption scandal that marred the reputation and integrity of
The Oil-for-Food Programme was instituted to relieve the extended suffering
of civilians as the result of the comprehensive sanctions on Iraq from the
UN, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Shortly before US
and British forces invaded Iraq, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan suspended
the programme and evacuated more than 300 workers monitoring the
distribution of supplies.
The programme was formally terminated on 21 November 2003 and its major
functions were turned over to the Coalition Provisional Authority. In
addition to criticism of the basic approach, the programme suffered from
widespread corruption and abuse.
Throughout its existence, the programme was dogged by accusations that some
of its profits were unlawfully diverted to the government of Iraq and to UN
officials. Kofi Annan’s son was a key figure who was known to be a direct
beneficiary out of the programme. According to an interim report released on
February 3, 2005 by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker's
commission, much of the food aid supplied under the programme "was unfit for
The report concluded that Sevan an UN offical in charge of the programme had
accepted nearly $150,000 in bribes over the course of the programme, and in
2005 he was suspended from his position at the United Nations as a result of
the investigation of fraud in the programme.
The scandal engulfing the United Nations Procurement Department and the
Oil-for-Food Programme allegedly involved Al-Qaeda finance operations. Fox
News broke the story that Alexander Yakovlev, an official in the UN
Procurement Department, was involved; he later resigned and pled guilty to
corruption charges. One link was to Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, a man designated
as a terrorist financier by the US and the UN. The UN has named Nasreddin as
a man "belonging to or affiliated with Al Qaeda.
Prior to the invasion in March 2003, the governments of the United States
and the United Kingdom asserted that the possibility of Iraq employing
weapons of mass destruction threatened their security and that of their
coalition allies. The invasion of Iraq led to an occupation and the eventual
capture of President Saddam, who was later tried in an Iraqi court and
executed at the behest of US and its allies.
Thereupon violence against coalition forces broke out and among various
sectarian groups soon led to the Iraqi insurgency, strife between many Sunni
and Shia Iraqi groups, and the emergence of a new faction of al-Qaeda in
Iraq In 2008 There was no al-Qaeda threat during Saddam Hussin period. US
and its allies imported al-Qaeda to Iraq and destabilized that county so
that they could control the Iraqi oil resources under the pretext of
bringing democracy to Iraq.
What did the UN and Kofi Annan did to do the justice to Iraqi people.
Investigations proved the falsehood of the story of WMD in Iraq. Kofi Annan
only did the fishing in the troubled water. He never advised or sought
advice regarding an issue that was of overvelming importance to people of
iraq.US and the allies wanted a regime change in Iraq as Saddam Hussein was
in no way prepared to give to the US and its allies. Invasoin of Iraq,
killing of Saddam Hussein,long term occupation of that country plundering of
its resources, and above all causing continuous misery death and distruction
are not considered war crimes or even action contrary to the fundamentals of
UN charter. Kofi Annan and Ban Ki Moon meekly acted subservient to the
dictates of the US and its allies proving the uselessness of UNO.
There are allegations that war crimes were committed by the Sri Lankan
Military during the final phase of the war against Tamil terrorists in 2009.
Ban Ki Moon’s panel of self claimed experts is attempting to make a case
against the Sri Lankan authorities. Appointment of a panel by Ban ki Moon
give rise to several fundamental issues.
In the first place it should be asked how he got the authority to do so. He
claims he has the authority. He appointed this panel last year, following
request of pro-LTTE lobbies and countries of the West. They pressurized Moon
to set up a war probe mechanism into Sri Lanka. He did not have guts to
withstand pressure and subdued to them in total disregard of the precedent
governing matters of this nature. He has thereby weakened the UN and proved
himself a man unfit to hold his post.
The supreme body of the UN is its five members Security Council which has
not asked him to appoint a panel to seek advice for him. Seeking advice from
somebody is a private affair. He is doing this to address an issue
concerning a fully fledged member country. He selected the so called
advisers who are self claimed experts. As these appointments are private he
has no authority to pay them for their private work. No one knows the
methodology the panel employed to conduct investigations. Their report is
said to have been handed over to Moon. Now what is he going to do with this
report. Can he implement a report that is not asked for by the UN. Is he
going to quit the UN if the report back fires.
Befor preceding to appoint a panel he should have sought expert views as to
whether alleged war crimes have been in fact committed in Sri Lanka during
the period in question. The offence of war crime has a very broad meaning.
Every human rights violation is not a war crime. In the light of the Hague
Cinvension of 1907, a definition to war crime could be found. War crimes
under international Law were established by international treaties such as
the Nuremberg war crime trial of 1945 and Tokyo trial of 1946 in which
German and Japanese leaders were prosecuted for war crimes committed during
the 2nd World War.
There are certain pre-requisites to constitute an offence - a war crime. In
the first place the alleged crime has to be premeditated and systematically
perpetrated as done to promote the Nazi race theory in Nazi Germany.
Secondly, it has to be a crime against humanity. Thirdly it has to be a
crime against peace. The Nazi T-4 Euthanasia programme is a case in point
that killed 200,000 mentally or physically handicapped German children using
gas chambers. Also Nazi crime against Soviet POWs resulting about 3.5
million deaths of Soviet POWs is war crime.
At least 5 to 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the period
1945 to 1949. These killings were premeditated, systematic, against
humanity, peace and thus became war crimes.
In the more recent past and in our living memory, United States of America
perpetrated war crimes in the Vietnam War (1955-1973) by using chemical
weapons against humanity in the Vietnam war.
As Kennedy took over reigns of USA in 1960, In his inaugural address, he
made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any
hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the
survival and success of liberty and democracy. Use of chemical weapons was
ordered and US war planes started dropping Napalm bombs.
One of the main features of napalm is that it sticks to the naked skin, and
it leaves no real chance for removing the burning napalm from the skin of
the victim. Napalm is suitable for use against dug-in enemy personnel. The
burning incendiary composition flows into foxholes, trenches and bunkers,
and drainage and irrigation ditches and other improvised troop shelters.
People even in undamaged shelters can be killed by hyperthermia/heat stroke,
radiant heat, dehydration, suffocation, smoke exposure, or carbon monoxide
One firebomb released from a low-flying plane can damage an area of 2,500
square yards destroying everything within the catchment area.
Us war planes on 08/06/1972 dropped Napalm bombs on the village of Trang
Bang a far remote hamlet killing many. It was shocking scenery to witness
how women and children covered with burning injuries were running aimlessly
on road following the Napalm attack.
These bomb attacks provide ample evidence for the war crimes. But to date no
action has been taken against American perpetrators for these heinous crimes
In March 1968, the massacre known as My Lai massacre was perpetrated by US
army platoon led by Lt. William Calley killed and in some cases beat, raped
or tortured 347 to 504 unarmed civilians –primarily women children and old
men in the hamlet of My Lai and My Khe of Son My. The My Lai massacre was
described as an operation of the Phoenix programme where 26 US soldiers and
14 officers surrounded the village in a cordon off operation and villagers
were ordered to gather in to an open place and massacred.
These are clear cases of war crimes. In this case most of the charges were
eventually dropped and only Lt.Calley was convicted. UN or the then
Secretary General U Thant (30/11/1961 – 31/12/1971) did not appoint panels
to seek advice from his subordinates beside the fact that he was in charge
of UN at a time of cold war and the arm race was at its highest stage.
Ban Ki-Moon is surrounded by cronies who claim to be his top advisers. One
such person is his spokesperson Farhan Haq. This person is always available
to make statements to Sandeshya Sinhala service and is well known for
talking for out of turns.
Can Moon and his advisers draw analogies between the war crimes that were
committed in the Vietnam War and the combat operations carried out in Sri
Lanka against most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world? SL military
launched operations purely for the sake of protecting sovergnity and
territorial integrity of Sri Lankan state. It is an inherent right of any
sovereign country. Do they believe Sri Lanka has no rights to fight
terrorism and that Sri Lanka should carry out such operation only to the
extent of Moon’s masters wish, It seems Moon and the clan are unhappy to see
Sri Lanka is rid of terrorism.
A Swedish diplomat who quit her post being sick of Moon in July 2010 as
Undersecretary-General of the United Nations made an undiluted accusations
unprecedented in their severity against Moon "Your action is without
precedent," "Your actions are… reprehensible…and in my opinion seriously
embarrassing for yourself."
The senior Lady diplomat blasted corrupt Moon. She did not have any regard
what so ever for her boss and Captain of the world body and went on to say …
"I regret to say that the [UN] Secretariat now is in a process of decay. It
is not only falling apart.… It is drifting into irrelevance."
The manner in which the UN has handled conflicts across the globe in the
recent past is a clear index of insufficiency of protection to smaller
countries under the present UN system. The UN’s approach to the current
Libyan circus is the newest example to the extent of its failure. The UN is
breathing its last breath and cannot be saved from death.
The principle is not equality among states. Principle has always been the
might is right and not the right is might. From the day of birth, UN has
been functioning in an undemocratic way. US and its allies are the main
beneficiaries of the UN system and they decided which country should be
punished and which way the UN should take vis a vis any conflict anywhere in
the planet. Smaller countries are mere onlookers and they do not know what
passes in the various committee rooms or what deliberations are made.
UN has been riddled with corruptions. There is no transparency. Staff
consists of incompetent men and women. It has become a cat paw of the US and
its allies. It has failed to deliver and does not live up to the expectation
of the majority of nations. Idea has to be mooted to form a new United
Nations rid of all sorts of injustices ensuring the equality of all nations.
Russia China and India could take the leadership with the support of the
Non-Aligned Countries and this should be done as a matter of Urgency.
- Asian Tribune -
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