Monday, 16 June 2008

The situation in Zimbabwe proves UN fecklessness

The UN's "Nothing to see here, move along" attitude to Zimbabwe (not to mention other countries like Sudan) demonstrate, at best, what a feckless institution it is and, at worst, how corrupt and morally bankrupt it is.

The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations reads:
  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples...
A couple of Articles of the Charter read:
Article 4
1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.

Article 6
A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.
Here are the opening Articles of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 1
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.

Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3
Everyone has the right to live, have liberty, and security of person.

Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
So how is it that Zimbabwe is still a member state of the United Nations?

Is this what the UN means by "...the right to live, have liberty, and security of person"?

Is this what the UN means by " reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person"?

Is this what the UN means by " promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom"?
The Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, sounding ever more pugnacious, said Saturday that he was prepared to go to war if he lost a runoff election to the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on June 27.

Speaking at the burial of a former army general, Mr. Mugabe, who at 84 has held power for 28 years, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “These pathetic puppets taking over our country? Let’s see. That’s not going to happen.”

...The opposition party’s secretary general, Tendai Biti, was arrested Thursday at the airport in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, as he returned to the country after a self-imposed absence of two months. His lawyers had not been allowed to see him or been informed of his whereabouts until Saturday, when he was brought handcuffed to court by armed police officers.

The session was closed to the news media, but afterward one of Mr. Biti’s lawyers said his client was being accused of “treason and making malicious statements detrimental to the interests of the state,” charges that could bring the death penalty.
Inflation in Zimbabwe is now a mind boggling 100,000%. In Australia we get all jumpy when it hits 4%.

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now down to 37 for men and 34 for women. In 1985 it was 59. A 15% HIV infection rate does not explain such a human calamity.

So how does the UN deal with Zimbabwe?

From last week:
Western leaders expressed outrage yesterday as Robert Mugabe flew into Rome in defiance of an EU travel ban to attend a United Nations world food summit while millions of people are starving under his brutal rule in Zimbabwe...Mr Mugabe, 84, is subject to a travel ban to the European Union because of sanctions imposed after his rigged re-election in 2002 but Italian officials said that they had had no choice but to allow him to attend UN meetings in Rome, as he did in 2002 and 2005...Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of southern Africa, is facing acute food shortages and the UN has issued a warning that near-drought in parts of the country could damage the maize harvest. Agriculture has collapsed since Mr Mugabe embarked on “land reforms” involving the expropriation of thousands of white-owned farms, which critics say he has handed over to his associates. Mr Mugabe, who will address the summit, is expected to blame his country’s crisis on sanctions imposed by the US and the EU.
From 2007:
Zimbabwe has been elected to head the UN's commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) despite strong objections from Western diplomats.

They had said Zimbabwe was unsuitable because of its human rights record and economic problems. It is suffering food shortages and rampant inflation.

But Zimbabwe has dismissed such criticism, calling it an insult.

The country was chosen by other African nations. The CSD post rotates every year between the world's regions.
A complete disaster is happening but as late as June 13, 2008, the UN was still to take any action against Zimbabwe at all:
The U.S. called on the United Nations Security Council to start an immediate discussion of the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

``We believe the time has come for the United Nations Security Council to take up immediately the issue to prevent further deterioration of the region's humanitarian and security situation,'' White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement issued yesterday in Rome where President George W. Bush was visiting.
It is long past the time when a new organisation made up only of democratic states be created. An alternative is to remove UN voting power from non-democratic members of the UN but, as that would require a vote by the UN General Assembly, it is an impossible outcome.

(Nothing Follows)


Ellen K said...

What do you expect from an international self-appointed governing body which would destabilize the UK, by forcing removal of the monarchy at the suggestion of two of the worst human rights offenders, Saudi Arabia and Cuba? They have no moral compass. They are using their position as a bully pulpit. And while they never miss a chance to vilify the United States, they sure don't mind those dollars used to support more than half of their operations. What a bunch of hypocrites.

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