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The Restructuring Of The United Nations

1306 words - 6 pages

In recent years there have been many calls for reform of the United Nations from many critics including the current UN secretary Kofi Annan. Unfortunately, there is little consensus on how to go about reforming it. Some want the United Nations to play a greater or more effective role in world affairs; others want its role reduced to humanitarian work. Despite the original intention of the United Nations as a "global association of governments" (UN Official Web Site) recent failure in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions show that the UN does need to reform in order to remain a useful IGO.After the Second World War the United Nations was formed with the pursuit of human rights as a central ...view middle of the document...

One recent example is the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 where 937,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by two extremist Hutu militant groups (Warcrimes). The United Nations refused to authorize its peacekeeping operation in Rwanda at the time to bring the killing to a halt. Despite numerous pre- and present-conflict warnings the UN peacekeepers on the ground were forbidden from engaging the militias or even discharging their weapons, unless fired upon. In the weeks prior to the attacks the UN ignored reports of Hutu militias amassing weapons and rejected plans for a pre-emptive strike (Doyle). This failure to act became the focus of bitter recriminations towards the United Nations and countries such as France and the United States The genocide was brought to an end only when the Tutsi-dominated rebel movement known as the Rwandese Patriotic Front overthrew the Hutu government and seized power.It would seem that the Rwandan Genocide would have been just an isolated incident where miscommunication allowed for a breakdown in the chain of command. Sadly, there are many other examples of the failures of the United Nations that have occurred just in recent years. In 1998 the United Nations failed to effectively intervene during the Second Congo War, which claimed nearly five million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Warcrimes). There was also a lack of organization in delivering and distributing humanitarian aid to the citizens of Congo during the war. This situation was very similar to the 1993 civil war in Somalia where humanitarian aid did not make it to the starving people but was seized by the warlords leading to widespread famine killing thousands (Warcrimes).Looking at the evidence it seems almost laughable that some believe that the United Nations is not in need of changes to improve its ability to be an effective peacekeeper and humanitarian organization. Thankfully, an official reform program was initiated by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan shortly after starting his first term on January 1, 1997. Reforms mentioned include changing the permanent membership of the Security Council; making the bureaucracy more transparent, accountable and efficient; making the UN more democratic; and imposing an international tariff on arms manufacturers worldwide (Reforming the UN). Recently, Kofi Annan outlined his top priorities for 2006 saying he was determined to follow through on his wide-ranging agenda of reform and renewal of the world body. Some of these reforms include: speeding up the deliberative process of the General Assembly, creating a cabinet for the Secretary-General to make more informed decisions, and most importantly, restructure the representatives of the Security Council to illustrate the realities of...

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