Failures of the UN Research Paper

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United Nations: Failures

The United Nations is the result of an international policy experiment that aimed at bringing together the countries of the world in an attempt to avoid conflagrations such as the First and Second World wars from taking place again in the modern history of human kind. The loss of lives in the wars that marked the 20th century determined world leaders and in particular the five great powers that emerged victorious after the Second World War to consider a new political structure that would determine a path of communication, of public diplomacy and ensure a system of constant contact based on international law. Almost seven decades later, no world conflagrations have taken place; yet, the UN is considered to have failed in its attempt to manage regional and local conflicts and avoiding the loss of human life. The late 20th century saw a series of significant failures from the part of the United Nations from the state of unrest in Cambodia in the 1970s, the inability to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and up to the failure to properly intervene in the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009. The United Nations has been sparked with criticism over its mandate, its capabilities, and eventually its actual raison d'etre. These examples are significant for pointing out the shortcomings of the organization whose actions heavily rely on the reactions and politics that are unfolding in the Security Council, the organ that decides the course of action and the mandate of different operations, from peacekeeping to peacemaking to relief aid.

It is cardinal to examine the intentions and purpose of the United Nations before pinpointing specific debacles during the turn of the millennium. In actuality, the UN legacy stretches all the way back to President Woodrow Wilson's presidency. An unprecedented attempt to unite an intercontinental peace force collectively, he insisted on an establishment of the League of Nations, which was the last of his Fourteen Points, a set of principles and doctrines he aspired to maintain towards the end of World War I (WWI). Although the nation states at the 1919 Treaty of Versailles came to accordance to accept the establishment of the League of Nations, the United Nations itself was not able to agree upon a decision. The amount of enmity and resistance to any violation of the previously established isolationist dogma from the Reservationists and Irreconcilables in the U.S. Congress, and eventually ended up declining its membership in the aforementioned organization led to this.

The principles and purpose of the UN charter include the maintaining global peace, advancement of friendly relations around countries on the support of standards of equal rights and accomplishment of universal cooperation, financially, culturally, and socially dependent upon members' sovereign equity. On whether the United Nations succeeded its standards, this is a matter of educational level headed discussion. This paper sees the UN body as an effort that had modified the wartime cooperation to a time of peace through which worldwide participation is usually realized. In any case, this study has focused on the failures of the United Nations.

Origin of tension

To understand the infamous Rwandan Genocide, one must scrutinize the roots stemming all the way back to the origin of ethnic tension. Even as early as 1918, which Belgium took control of Rwanda as its colony, there were distinct differences between separate ethnic groups in Rwanda, causing the Belgium government to categorize and organize a census in which every Rwandan citizen was issued an identity card classifying them as one of three ethnic groups: Hutu, Tutsi or Twa. When the Rwandans ultimately claimed independence from Belgium in 1962, there was a power vacuum followed by numerous ethnical tensions between the two main groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis.

The heightened aspersion led to an initial persecution of Tutsis by Hutus, forcing the majority of Tutsis to flee from Rwanda to other parts of Africa, mainly Burundi. In 1973, Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu leader expectedly rose into power, which catered an accumulated rise of continuous violent conflicts between the Tutsis, which were now the minority, and the Hutus, the majority. Even in the decade of the actual genocide, around 2,000 Tutsi exiles, often referred to as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) based in Uganda, were killed by the Hutu army, which only exacerbated relations

In 1991, there was an opportunity of reconciliation when a new constitution suggested a multi-party parliament in Rwanda. Two years later, the UN attempted this negotiation to ensure that members of diverse ethnic groups are able to hold federal positions simultaneously and secure a placid allocation of power. Created specifically for the purpose of implementing this governmental policy, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) monitored the previously established Arusha Peace Agreement in order to maintain a peaceful transition, and the Hutus and the RPF signed this accord on August 4, 1993

. However, the words written on the agreement were merely just words. President Juvenal Habyarimana referred to the agreement as "pieces of paper," accentuating the fact that he was not willing to comply with gravity because the agreement slightly favored the Tutsis by giving them essential governmental positions. Although the UNAMIR had laudable intentions, the operation only consisted of a group of around 2,500 UN soldiers who were bound to encounter difficulties of the ethnical tensions that were still extant. Their influence, in other words, was picayune.

About eight months later, at 8:30 PM on April 6, 1994, President Juvenal Habyarimana was assassinated when a mysterious missile shot a plane he was on returning from a summit in Tanzania. Although there are many conspiracies as to who shot the plane down, the veracity of the assassin remains ambiguous

. Some claim that the vindictive Tutsi rebels, or the TPR extremists, were the ones who planned it to retaliate against the Hutus for the injustices committed. On the other hand, others argue that there is a possibility that the Hutu extremists assassinated their own president as an excuse to commence an ethnic cleansing of the Tutsis. Either way, the end justified the means: this incident served as a catalyst for the Hutu extremists to carry out their planned out connivance -- the nefarious genocide.

The official massacre started the next day, when a plethora of Tutsi civilians was victimized. At around 2 am in the morning, the UN ordered Commander Romeo Dallaire, the head of the UNAMIR operation, to avoid armed conflict with the rebels. Five hours later, around 7 am, ten Belgium soldiers under Dallaire were ordered to protect Prime Minister Madame Agathe, a moderate Hutu, from the extremists who were targeting her. Unfortunately, they were outnumbered by the surrounding Hutu rebels and eventually perished. Throughout the day, Hutu extremists with machetes slaughtered innocent Tutsis not because they were guilty of any crimes, but because they were part of the Tutsis

. Hate speeches were ubiquitous throughout the country, with speakers yelling out orders to kill every single Tutsi and terminate their existence.

Shortly after the Rwandan Genocide, on another side of the world, the Bosnian War Massacre occurred. This occurred near the end of the Bosnian War, which lasted from 1992 to 1995 over ethnic divisions and factional tensions. In the country of Bosnia and Herzegovnia, there were three main ethnic groups: Muslim Bosniaks, Orthodox Serbians, and Catholic Croats. Eventually, the Serbs led an atrocious ethnic cleansing campaign against the Mulim Bosniaks. In 1993, the UN designated Srebrenica as a safe-zone for the Bosniaks to protect themselves from the belligerent Serbs.

This mission consisted of 6,000 Dutch soldiers and underwent demilitarization in order to promote peace. However, the Serbs surrounded the peace zone and consequently violated the UN peacekeeping regulations by invading Srebrenica. Under the eyes of the UN peacekeepers, the Serbs eventually led a massive murder of thousands of innocent Bosniaks. The UN was ill-prepared and lacked the essential ammunitions and supplies to support these peacekeepers. Since the UN catered this pernicious environment free of prohibition of genocide goes against its own principles, and is a failure of the organization

Immediately, countries that have citizens in Rwanda began to order an evacuation when they heard the news of peril. The Clinton administration specifically, on April 8, ordered the 257 U.S. citizens in Rwanda to evacuate to the U.S. embassy under safety. Independent from any UN command, the French, and Belgium governments also ordered their citizens out of Rwanda and sent troops to rescue them

. These rescues were extremely discriminating to Rwandans who wanted to escape the terror too. In fact, one female journalist from Belgian Television, Katelijne Hermans, claimed "[she] left thinking, 'for the white people, it's over,' but hell was about to start for the black people. [She] could not do anything about it." At this point, the UN did not take any immediate action to rescue the native people of Rwanda who were innocent and victimized. Under Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) established by the…

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As innocent lives were torn apart, there were individual efforts to take action for the protection. Monique Mujawamariya, a Rwandan human rights activist, personally visited Washington to contact Anthony Lake, a UN National Security Advisor, in order to request extra arms and military assistance to prevent the Hutu extremists from killing her people. However, Anthony Lake responded, "the U.S. has no friends, only interests, and the U.S. has no interest in Rwanda. We have no motivation." He also reminded her about the previous incident in Somalia, where UN troops were killed brutally. He said that he did not want the UN to "return with coffins again." However, the situation in Rwanda was incomparable to the situation in Somalia because there was a public genocide. Despite this urgency, the UN did not even recognize the situation as "genocide."

According to the analysis framework of the UN, the UN defined genocide in 1948 as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part1; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." Nonetheless, there was an increased indifference to the situation in Rwanda, and ambassadors of the UN refused to accept the situation as genocide. However, the massacre of Tutsis in particular by the Hutus is a sign of "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction." The mere fact that the UN eschewed the gravity of this genocide was a failure of the UN to exercise its intended practices as an international peacekeeping force.

The majority of the UN officials especially in the Security Council simply did not recognize this event as a significant factor or issue during their discussions. Even President Clinton of the United States himself stated in a speech regarding the country's intentions stated that issues ranging from "Rwanda to Georgia" will

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