United Nation’s Reforms

The Bush administration involved Iraq after bypassing UN, violating international law and misleading the world opinion and her own people. This created a feeling of injustice and terror in the world. This was a great blow to UN’s credibility. The situation was worsening by the stance taken by Bush, regarding UN. In September 2002, when George.W.Bush addressed UN General Assembly, he said that “The UN must either support in campaign against Iraq or be doomed to irrelevance.”

This flamed the situation and posed great threat to the survival of world body, i.e United Nation. It created resentment among people across the globe. The people were of the view that UN should function actively, effectively and smoothly. The only way forward was introducing reforms in characteristics of UN. This was immediate rationale which forced Secretary General of UN Mr. Kofi.A.Annan to nominate a panel of 16 distinguished members from all parts of the world and from different fields of expertise headed by former Thai Prime Minister Amand Panyarachun Chairs. This was asked to submit reforms proposals which may help UN to restore it’s credibility, respect and say in the world matters.

This was positive initiative taken by Mr. Kofia.A.Annan which annoyed America. However, few days back, this committee completed its task. It recommended two models for reforming the security council, the principal UN decision-making body among other suggestions. Precisely, it recommended to add new permanent members as per region or having semi-permanent members. So far these suggestions got a lackluster response. This pannel remained unable to suggest any consolidated and viable change in the power structure of UN. As well as, it has not forwarded any mechanism to incorporate these suggested reforms. This is most decisive issue which remained untouched and unanswered.

This situation demands detailed and meticulous study of whole scenario. The problem, UN is facing today are not new one; these are existing in its genetic structure. The Security Council, the powerhouse of UN, is an executive club of it. There are five permanent members seated with and meticulous study of the whole scenariobullish power of Veto and they can block everything and anything in SC and ten- nonpermanent members who are unable to make any impact on its decisions. SC is most objected organ of UN, and rightly so, because it is against the basic charter and essence of UN. The UN is talking about equality before law, democracy, and freedom but in SC, presence of five permanent members armed with “Veto” is most undemocratic institution on the face of the earth. This is promoting discriminative policies in the world and vanished the theory that every body is equal before law. UN is preaching something else and practicing something else.For this vary reason, UNSC must be reformed so that it can become a credible institution, world across. It is also imperative for improving its efficiency and functioning as a whole.

The very important question in view for reforms is that what kind of modifications should be made. Here, I would discuss few options for it. Various states and people are demanding for the expansion of Security Council and adding more permanent members to it on the several reasons like on the basis of region, population, economic power or religion. The expansion of Security Council in a way will make no difference. It will add few more to this elite club. In this regard, General Pervaiz took a right stance while addressing the General Assembly two years back. He said, “The security council must be made more representatives by increasing the number of non-permanent member. New permanent members will only expand inequality”.

The five permanent members put unnecessary hurdles against the smooth proceedings of Security Council by blocking resolutions and bringing their own respective hidden interests and tussle in Security Council. Empowering International Court of Justice should put this unnecessary use of Veto under check. Every resolution, which is blocked in Security Council by any Veto power, that should, evaluated in the International Court of Justice. If it is judged that blockage of that resolution was biased and unjust that should be declared as approved and state, which used Veto without any legitimate reason that should be warned for acting in same manner. This mechanism can prove a good check on the biased use of Veto and P-5 would be forced to behave in responsible way. But it depends upon the UN that how much it can empower to International Court of Justice. So the use of Veto should be made limited and specially defined. For this Security Council will have to sacrifice its powers for the best of mankind.

In this regard, Malaysian Leader Dr.Mathair, who was then chairman of OIC, floated one suggestion to have check on the unbridled use of Veto. He suggested that in a revamped Security Council, permanent members should be able to use their Veto only if they have the support of three non-permanent members. It is minimum what super power can do for developing states.However,this suggestion can be studied and modified.

Second possible option can be to absolutely change the power structure of UNO and empower the General Assembly, which is world parliament as in it; every member state has representation and equal status. The General Assembly in current proposition is powerless organ of UN. The Veto power of few selected members should be eliminated in order to promote peace, security and cooperation among member states and construct a judicious world system. So that all matter can be resolve on merit of the issue. All disputes and issues should be presented before General Assembly where a resolution should be adopted with defined majority. It will enhance interaction, harmony and cooperation among world states. This would be most democratic formation of UNO.

The primacy of General Assembly as the decision-making organ of UN will make it credible and confidence of the member states will restore on it. It will also help to evolve a follow-up system to resolute an issue without taking decades.

we may put it that “most viable proposal would be to remove the power of the Veto so that decisions can be taken on the basis of a majority. A more powerful proposition would be to abolish permanent membership altogether and establish a Council elected by the rest of the General Assembly itself.” This proposal may sound admirably democratic, but will certainly be opposed by the big five.

How can reforms be made? It is a question, which must be taken into account before thinking of any kind of reforms. What will make super powers to surrender their power? One answer is that they should do it voluntarily for the sake of mankind. It will be remarkable move and developing world would be grateful to them. But it may be an idealistic approach and ideals are rarely achievable. The present attitude of world powers has proved that they will not be ready to break this “manipulation of power”. Dr.Mahtair showed same apprehension about UN reforms while addressing UN General Assembly in Septembr 2002. He said, “While the world wants to see the UN reformed and an end to the Veto powers of the five, unfortunately the very structure of the UN does not allow any reforms to take place because any reforms could be voted by five”.

Keeping in view these ground realities we should analyze the ways to achieve reforms for UN, which can avert confrontation between permanent five and rest of the world. Any reforms will require amendment of UN charter. The charter provides for its own amendment in article 108 and 109. In 1963, by bringing amendment, four more non-permanent members were added to the Security Council. This achievement was largely due to the combined lobbying and voting power of the expanded African/Asian and Latin American group is General Assembly. In the current scenario, lobbying for reforms among member states is most suitable and effective way. We can see that when talks about WTO collapsed at Cancun and G-22 is formed, that is showing a clear impact on the policies and attitudes. So the developing states should make a dialogue with permanent members and make them understand that these reforms would enhance the legitimacy of UN. Developing countries with permanent members of Security Council is a desirable way to amend the charter.

Their question arises that if world powers refused to anticipate reforms and insisted on status quo. The situation would be entirely horrible but issue of reforms should be resolved for once and all. Then, the only possible solution left to force reforms is for third world countries to threat a collective withdrawal from UN. This may lead to the collapse of the UN but sometimes; some things need to be destroyed in order to rebuild them properly. The UNSC is the place where much of the world’s fate is decided today by the great powers. A dramatic decision on the part of poor nations is required to bring about a more judicious, democratic and egalitarian world order. Anything less would leave the world at the mercy of most powerful nations.

Dag Hammarskjvid, ex-secretary general of UN, once said “the UN was not created to get us to heaven but to save us from hell”. This is what, a third world state wanted from UN. UN is “mankind’s last best hope”, despite its successive failures in recent years. States still appeared to regard the UN as the only possible final arbiter for international disputes. But bringing “surgical reforms” can only restore its full authority.

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hamza rao said...

Thank you so much for this very useful website.There are still some students who would find it interesting.

Adnan Bukhari said...

A great analysis is provided but missed the utility, and background of the UNSC making. However, it is well argued against UNSC that is stigma on the whole working of UNO.

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waryam warraich said...

reforms for SC are mentioned only......i think other UN bodies too require reforms...ICJ has no power to bind states to follow her decisions...etc

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