Failure Of UN On Syria

Mideast-Jordan-Syria_Horo-e1363418109868-297x168Sir: Migrant crises in Europe today have brought to the fore the effectiveness or lack of it of the world body, UN and its agencies. A peep into history shows that United Nations (UN) came into being as a result of the failure of its predecessor ‘League of Nations’ to guarantee international peace and security.

The midwives of L.O.N were great idealists who looked at the world as an utopia – a world as it ought to be and not as it is (was) even then. This approach to the world peace and security during inter-war years proved not only ineffective, but a colossal failure, paving the way for the Second World War (WW II), 20 years later in 1939. At the end of WW2, UN was formed by the big powers that won the war and they also formed the nucleus of the Security Council by way of permanent membership in addition to 10 rotating members.

The UN charter is based on the principle that states are equal under international law; the states have full sovereignty over their own affairs; that states should have full independence and territorial integrity among others. But the body failed to enshrine into its charter, the condition upon which a member state could lose or have its sovereignty curtailed. It failed to get the member states to put in their constitution ‘written or unwritten, specific tenure of office of its leaders beyond which such leaders could be mustered out of office to save the citizenry.’ This lacuna in the UN charter, which of course, constitute its weakness invariably gives strength to despotic and tyrannical regimes across Africa and the Middle East such as Bashar al- Assad of Syria. Under the watch of UN, interests in Syria have been polarised in cold war period fashion, leaving the citizens worse for it.

Russia in its characteristic manner and Iran are backing Assad while Saudi Arabia and other Arab states are backing the rebels in Syria in a war that seems to have no end. The world and indeed Europe is once again saddled with one of the worst humanitarian crises after the WWII. It is increasingly manifesting that the UN, as is constituted cannot guarantee world peace and security. Time has come for the body to be totally overhauled and its agencies rejuvenated to meet the current challenges.

• Friday Ekpo, Lagos.

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