ONU

In the summer of 2004, I traveled to Sudan with Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the United Nations. Mr. Annan, who died Saturday at age 80, was hoping to put an end to the genocidal violence that the Sudanese president, Omar Bashir, had launched against the people of Darfur. I watched Mr. Annan sit quietly in a blazing hot shed while a local government official blamed the violence on the Darfuris themselves, handing the secretary general a list of alleged rebel atrocities and complaining bitterly about the role of the United Nations in taking their side. Only when he had finished did Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Srebrenica es recordado como un enclave en Bosnia-Herzegovina donde, a partir del 11 de julio de 1995, se cometió el mayor genocidio acontecido en Europa después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando en un par de días fuerzas serbias masacraron a cerca de 8.000 musulmanes bosnios.

A pesar de haber transcurrido 23 años de estos hechos, solo se habla de los principales criminales responsables, Slobodan Milosevic, el general Ratko Mladic y Radovan Karadzic, pero poco o nada de la enorme responsabilidad de la comunidad internacional en este abominable crimen cometido en la Europa de Maastricht .

Indiferencia , prejuicios anti musulmanes y hasta complicidades de algunos de los principales países, y hasta del entonces secretario general de las Naciones Unidas Boutros Ghali, se sumaron para no detener semejante tragedia.…  Seguir leyendo »

July 2016 – Malakal, South Sudan – A U.N. peacekeeper stands guard as civilians enter the Protection of Civilians (POC) site outside the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Malakal, South Sudan on Wednesday, July 13, 2016.(Jane Hahn for Washington Post)

Syria’s seven years of conflict have had devastating consequences, with hundreds of thousands of people dead and over 4 million refugees. Would the story be different if the United Nations Security Council had managed to come to an agreement and deployed a peacekeeping operation (PKO) early in the conflict?

Would a PKO have been able to resolve this conflict? Despite popular conceptions to the contrary (see also here and here), a large body of research has shown that PKOs are surprisingly effective at keeping the peace.

How PKOs contribute to peace

Here are four ways PKOs contribute to peace. This intervention reduces the amount of violence during conflict, reduces the duration of conflict, increases the duration of peace following conflict — and limits the risk that conflict in one country spreads to neighboring countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.N. peacekeepers from Rwanda serve at a U.N. base in Malakal, South Sudan, in 2016. (Jane Hahn for The Washington Post)

Over the past 20 years, U.N. peacekeeping deployments have increased by more than 600 percent. Currently, the United Nations manages 14 peacekeeping operations worldwide, staffed by more than 95,000 military personnel, police, civilians and volunteers.

For almost all of these, a common mandate is to protect civilians — which is important not just in immediately saving lives, but also in sustaining peace over the long run. Recent academic research has focused on how well peacekeepers do at reducing conflicts’ virulence and spread.

But do armed peacekeepers actually protect civilians from harm? That’s been debated lately. A recent report, delivered to U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

Decía Churchill que era siempre mejor «hablar y hablar que disparar y disparar». Se refería con ello a los relativos méritos que concedía a las entonces recién creadas Naciones Unidas y a otras instituciones internacionales de la familia. Mi buen y admirado amigo y colega, el embajador Inocencio Arias, piensa por el contrario que la ONU es un «cachondeo», castiza expresión a la que da amplio recorrido en un artículo recientemente publicado en estas páginas y en el que procede a una cuasi total y radical desautorización del organismo internacional. Para ello fundamentalmente se basa en un dato suficientemente conocido: el derecho de veto de los cinco miembros permanentes del Consejo de Seguridad –Estados Unidos, Rusia, China, Francia y Reino Unido– les autoriza a campar ampliamente por sus respetos en temas que estiman afectan directamente a sus intereses nacionales.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Son las Naciones Unidas la organización más antidemocratica del planeta? Sí, sí, yes, yes, oui, oui, da, da. Sin ninguna duda, como prueba fehacientemente el drama sirio en estas fechas. Una nación –repito, una sola; en este caso el villano es Rusia– puede paralizar cualquier intento de la comunidad internacional de tratar de pacificar ese país y detener la pavorosa sangría de muertos (¿400.000?) y desplazados o exilados (5.000.000). Aunque la mayoría del planeta, a veces la inmensa mayoría, quiera actuar y poner coto.

La Carta de la ONU, su constitución, es una auténtica monstruosidad jurídica si nos ceñimos a criterios mínimamente democráticos.…  Seguir leyendo »

 

Since late November—when the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced that she would seek permission to open an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan that includes allegations against U.S. personnel—the United States and the ICC have been on a slow motion collision course.  But it’s still not clear whether that collision will happen.  Both parties have good reason to maneuver past each other and some means to do it.  The stakes are high for the court, and how these maneuvers unfold could have a profound impact on its future work.

Why Washington should not want a collision with the ICC

As I described in November, and John Bellinger more recently detailed, the George W.…  Seguir leyendo »

La tragédie syrienne sera-t-elle le tombeau des Nations unies ? Après la tragédie d’Alep, celle de la Ghouta orientale pose la même question assortie de deux nouvelles interrogations : la première sur la capacité du Conseil à faire respecter ses propres résolutions ; la seconde, brûlante, sur le contrôle des armes chimiques.

Face à la Ghouta orientale, le Conseil a montré qu’il n’est désormais plus bloqué en raison du droit de veto de l’un au moins de ses cinq membres permanents, comme cela avait été le cas à Alep. Mais il est désormais impotent, et le spectre de la faillite de la Société des nations rôde plus que jamais.…  Seguir leyendo »

A U.N. peacekeeper stands guard as civilians enter the Protection of Civilians (POC) site outside the United Nations Mission in South Sudan compound in Malakal, South Sudan, on July 13, 2016. (Jane Hahn for The Washington Post)

The year 2018 marks the 70th year of U.N. peacekeeping. Against the backdrop of ongoing and intense violence in places such as Syria and Congo, what happens next for this form of conflict intervention?

Various proposals are on the table in the lead-up to an overhaul of the United Nations peace and security architecture by 2020. The splashiest scheme, announced recently in a report to the U.N. secretary general, recommends that U.N. peacekeeping “troops should use overwhelming force and be proactive and preemptive” as a way to safeguard the safety and security of U.N. troops. This report, spearheaded by retired Lt.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando se fundaron las Naciones Unidas, sus metas principales, como declarara en preámbulo de su Carta, incluían salvar a las generaciones futuras del “flagelo de la guerra” y reafirmar “la fe en los derechos humanos fundamentales”. Desde entonces han pasado más de 70 años, y el mundo tiene más armas que nunca (y más avanzadas) y abundan los conflictos armados que provocan muertes en gran escala y causan sufrimiento tanto a combatientes como civiles.

Entre los conflictos más candentes se encuentra el de Siria, que según fuentes de las Naciones Unidas ha dejado unos 500.000 muertos y heridos, y ha desplazado a millones.…  Seguir leyendo »

A refugee from South Sudan has their biometrics registered at a refugee camp in Uganda. Photo: Getty Images.

‘Protecting children on the move starts with better data.’ Those are the words of a statement recently released by UNICEF. It goes on to say that ‘reliable, timely and accessible data are essential for understanding how migration and forcible displacement affect children and their families and for putting in place policies and programmes to meet their needs’.

UNICEF is not alone in reaching such conclusions about the importance of data. In 2015, the International Organization for Migration opened a Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, with the purpose of ‘delivering real-life benefits for migrants and governments’. In October last year, UNHCR and the World Bank announced that they were establishing a join data centre which will ‘greatly improve statistics on refugees’ and ‘enable a better informed and more sustainable response to forced displacement’.…  Seguir leyendo »

The remains of what the United States said was an Iranian rocket’s Qiam guidance component on display in Washington in December. Credit Cliff Owen/Associated Press

Last week, the United Nations published a report with news a lot of people don’t want to hear. A panel of experts found that Iran is violating a United Nations weapons embargo — specifically, that missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels into Saudi Arabia last year were made in Iran.

The mullahs in Iran don’t want to hear this news, because it proves Iran is violating its international agreement. Die-hard defenders of the Iran nuclear deal don’t want to hear it because it proves, once again, that the Iranian regime can’t be trusted. And some members of the United Nations don’t want to hear it because it is further proof that Iran is defying Security Council resolutions, and the pressure will be on the U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

Delegates listen while United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories presents his final report before the UN Human Rights Council on March 24, 2014 in Geneva. The UN Human Rights Council today hears the latest report on the rights situation in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Trump administration struck a blow to yet another multilateral institution this month when it slashed funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. UNRWA is not a perfect institution, but it has provided critical humanitarian services, including healthcare and education, to Palestinian refugees since 1950. What will be next on the chopping block? We fear it may be the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

After all, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has placed caustic criticism of the council near the center of the U.S. government’s current U.N. policy. Even before it withdrew from the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, turned its back on the U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

Newly arrived Rohingya refugees wait to enter a refugee camp in Bangladesh, January 2018. Photograph: Manish Swarup/AP

The UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, recently announced he would not be seeking a second term in office. “To do so, in the current geopolitical context, might involve bending a knee in supplication… lessening the independence and integrity of my voice,” he explained.

His vivid words implied that human rights advocacy has become untenable and this statement of resignation – from a highly respected and effective voice – is a tragic indictment of the current state of play. Consider, for a start, the Trump administration’s record, including attempts to ban Muslim travel and exclude transgender people from the military, and how it highlights a UN system now deprived of an important historical champion.…  Seguir leyendo »

Large numbers of migrants transit through the city of Zakany in Hungary on their way to seek work in Germany and other European nations in 2015. | GETTY IMAGES

Managing migration is one of the most profound challenges for international cooperation in our time.

Migration powers economic growth, reduces inequalities and connects diverse societies. Yet it is also a source of political tensions and human tragedies. The majority of migrants live and work legally. But a desperate minority are putting their lives at risk to enter countries where they face suspicion and abuse.

Demographic pressures and the impact of climate change on vulnerable societies are likely to drive further migration in the years ahead. As a global community, we face a choice. Do we want migration to be a source of prosperity and international solidarity, or a byword for inhumanity and social friction?…  Seguir leyendo »

How 99 percent of ‘Palestine refugees’ are fake

In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main U.N. agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.

Well, it just became urgent.

That’s because President Trump tweeted “with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” Then, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added that the U.S. government is prepared to cut off funds to UNRWA. And, Axios reported, a U.S. payment of $125 million was not delivered (though that was later denied).…  Seguir leyendo »

How the Security Council Failed the Syria Chemical Weapons Investigators and Victims

On Aug. 21, 2013, a Damascus suburb called Ghouta was attacked with sarin gas, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

President Barack Obama had warned that the United States would take military action if President Bashar al-Assad of Syria used chemical weapons. The attack on Ghouta crossed Mr. Obama’s “red line,” but he chose coercive diplomacy instead of military action.

Syria acknowledged that it had chemical weapons. The United States and Russia reached a deal in mid-September 2013 under which Syria had to destroy its chemical weapons program.

The Syrian government hurriedly acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention and turned over what it said was its complete chemical weapon arsenal to a team of experts from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which monitors adherence to the convention.…  Seguir leyendo »

As states gathered earlier this month to kick off the 16th Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court, ICC watchers wondered what to expect from the United States at this difficult moment in its relationship with the court.

Indeed, it was hardly a foregone conclusion that the United States would show up at all. Not an ICC state party, the United States had during the Obama Administration developed the practice of attending Assembly meetings as an observer, but that was during a distinctly warmer period in U.S.-ICC relations. The chillier turn of late is attributable not just to a transition to an Administration with considerably less ICC-friendly instincts than its predecessor, but to the ICC Prosecutor’s recent announcement that she would seek permission to investigate allegations of CIA and DOD detainee abuse as part of her broader work on Afghanistan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Can the International Criminal Court Be Saved From Itself

Last month, the International Criminal Court opened two investigations, including a sensitive one in Afghanistan, and a call has been made to allow it to intervene in Myanmar. But such a flurry of announcements mainly testifies to the impasse at which the court finds itself.

On Nov. 20, after 11 desperately long years conducting a “preliminary examination,” Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, formally requested authorization to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan thought to have been committed since 2003, after the United States-led invasion of the country.

It is a contentious move: Afghanistan recognizes the court’s jurisdiction, but the United States does not, and the I.C.C.…  Seguir leyendo »

It has been almost three months since UN Special Representative for Libya Ghassan Salamé launched his ambitious 12-month action plan for Libya. Salamé’s programme seeks to amend the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) that spawned the Government of National Accord, pass a constitution and hold presidential and parliamentary elections.

That timeline always looked ambitious. Salamé has had some notable successes, re-establishing the UN’s lead in negotiations and resuscitating a dormant political process. But now he faces the challenge of convincing Libyan powerbrokers to focus their efforts on succeeding in elections rather than fighting a drawn out battle over amendments to the LPA.…  Seguir leyendo »