Saturday, July 21, 2012

The United Nations and the Veto.

In the wake of many humanitarian crises the world frequently turns to the United Nations to uphold international law that deems human suffering and oppression by governments as a crime. The United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Right's first article states:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

With such a declaration, one would assume that all the countries in the UN would have equal rights as well. Not so. In actuality the United Nation's Security Council has more power than all the other member countries. There are 5 permanent countries in the UN Security Council and 10 temporary members, whose membership lasts one year. The 5 permanent members are: The United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia. These 5 nations have unmatched power that allows them to control which resolutions can pass or not, regardless of a majority or unanimous vote from all other members. This power is known as the veto.

The veto power has long been criticized by the people who suffer because of it. The most recent case of the devastating effects of the veto power is in Syria. Several resolutions that would allow stronger and more specific sanctions on individuals in the Syrian regime, which would in turn strangle the murderous regime of Bashar Al-Assad and subsequently reduce (if not end) the heinous bloodshed of his people, have been vetoed by Russia and China (allies of Assad).

Without the veto power of the UN Security Council, the aforementioned resolutions would have passed and the death toll in Syria may not be where it is today. As such, it is time to seriously consider the validity and usefulness of the veto power.

Just think, if you were being ruthlessly attacked and tortured by your government would you want the allies of your government to have the ability to block any resolution that may save your life? I think not.

I say, Veto the Veto!

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