Seminar on “Crisis Looming at the United Nations: Causes and Possible Solutions”

To commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations, the Institute of Objective Studies and the Association of Indian Africanists jointly organized a seminar on Crisis Looming at the United Nations: Causes and Possible Solutions, on the 7th of December 2005 at the India International Center. The participants of the seminar were Members of the Parliament, Leaders of Political Parties, Ambassadors and High Commissioners of various diplomatic missions, representatives of international agencies, civil societies, scholars, and media personalities. A whole range of problems, causes and the possible solutions were thoroughly discussed at the seminar. Some of the issues raised at the occasion include, the UN has failed to meet the expectations of billions of people in the world. The unnecessary intervention of select developed nations like USA has contributed to its failure to face up to the challenges confronting it throughout the globe. The participants strongly condemned such unlawful interference of the developed nations in the day-to-day affairs of the UN. The discussants agreed that some of the nations (e.g., Palestine, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, and Western Sahara) have been victimized by injustice and unfavourable verdict of UN. The participants were of the opinion that unless the Security Council is restructured in a more representative manner, it should be done away altogether by giving the mandate for the General Assembly.

Some of the participants were very critical of the UN’s role in promoting the interests of the US and other developed nations by undermining the universality of its establishment. For example, the Coordinator of the Seminar Dr. Uma Shankar Jha had made his point that the US President and the British Prime Minister need to be declared as war criminals along with the former President of Iraq for killing thousands of innocent civilians. The UN should also impose sanction against the US and Britain for illegally invading the sovereign nations. Similarly, a Member of Parliament from the Revolutionary Socialist Party, Shri Manoj Bhattacharya, remarked that the Headquarters of the UN should be shifted from New York to another place so that the unnecessary interference of the US can be minimized and the independent identity of the UN can be maintained. In another high profile remark, the former Union Agriculture Minister, Shri Chaturanan Mishra, expressed his unpleasant feeling for the US’s unbalanced solo power in dictating the affairs of UN agencies like WTO, IMF, and the World Bank, and in waging war against sovereign nations. What is more, one of the diplomats known as Ambassador Osama Musa of Palestine had fiercely criticized the UN for its role in dividing the Palestinian land by creating the State of Israel to capture more than 60 percent of its land and making Palestinians as refugees. The Namibian High Commissioner, Mr. Marten Kapewasha raised the issue of Western Sahara and the delaying tactics of the UN in providing the referendum. The American and Australian diplomats had also interacted actively during the discussion time of the seminar. In the end, the Chairman of the seminar, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam, noted that the US’s agenda seems to be challenging the civilizations of some nations, particularly Islamic nations. The Chairman warned the participants that such trends are leading to dangerous precedence, which could aggravate conflicts among various nations and nationalities.

To prevent such a devastating scenario, the participants decided that the UN should play unbiased and independent leading role to settle all international matters. For this to happen, a forum promoting people’s views regarding UN needs to be established in India and other countries.

There was a general consensus that the United Nations Organization was a forum of all the countries of the world, which was constituted to resolve the problems and differences among the countries in a peaceful manner and to protect the sovereignty and integrity of all the nation states in the world. But in the light of the functioning of this world body a common feeling has been developed that it is not running smoothly on the way of its cause. The reason is that the permanent members of the Security Council of the UN have an unjustified power of the Veto, which they have been using in a discriminatory manner and with one-sided interest.

After the cold war and the fall of the USSR, the USA is imposing its own ideas and agendas on the UNO and using it as a tool. But in Iraq matter the USA totally ignored the importance, gravity and dignity of UN and initiated military action against Iraq without the permission of UNO.  The Security Council passes the resolution in the interest of the big countries and the resolutions which do not suit the interest of big powers particularly the USA are not implemented. This situation of course is a crisis of the UN and is questioning its relevance.

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