ONU

How Ukraine Can Score Another Win at the UN

Diplomats in New York are debating how the UN should mark the first anniversary of Russia’s all-out assault on Ukraine – and the continuing Ukrainian resistance – at the end of February. It is partly a matter of diplomatic ritualism – both the UN Security Council and General Assembly will hold sessions to note the milestone – but it touches on deeper questions about exactly what types of measures UN member states are prepared to support as the war goes on.

Ukrainian officials have proposed tabling General Assembly resolutions that would break new ground by setting out terms for ending the war and holding Russian officials to account for aggression.…  Seguir leyendo »

La guerra de Ucrania y la pandemia de covid han sometido una vez más a una dura prueba a las Naciones Unidas. El Consejo de Seguridad, con cinco países miembros permanentes con derecho de veto, resulta absolutamente inoperante cuando, como en este caso, uno de los miembros es el agresor. En el lado positivo y respecto a la pandemia, la ONU ha jugado un papel relevante en la distribución de vacunas para países del sur, cuyas economías no les permitían la compra masiva de la mismas.

La ONU, tal como la conocemos hoy, recibe fuertes críticas que podríamos sistematizar en cuatro:

1.…  Seguir leyendo »

The UN Security Council has adopted a cross-cutting exception for humanitarian action in UN sanctions. What does it cover? What must happen next?

The UN Security Council has removed an obstacle to humanitarian work. On 9 December 2022, it adopted a resolution establishing a cross-cutting exception to existing – and future – UN financial sanctions for funds or assets necessary for humanitarian assistance and activities to meet basic human needs. In a coup for multilateralism, the council has been able to act, even when the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused paralysis in other areas.

Resolution 2664 – introduced by Ireland and the US, co-sponsored by 53 states, and adopted by 14 votes in favour, with India abstaining – is the culmination of a decade of engagement between humanitarian organizations and states to find ways of avoiding the adverse impact of sanctions on the most vulnerable: people relying on humanitarian action for survival.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the emergency session of the U.N. General Assembly, Feb. 28, 2022 (AP photo by Seth Wenig).

After an inauspicious beginning, 2022 has been a year of low-key but sometimes surprisingly successful muddling through for multilateralism. Russia’s  invasion of Ukraine in February had the potential to throw many international institutions into disarray.  Diplomats worried that Russia could use its veto to block routine business in the United Nations Security Council, or else that Western powers might boycott international gatherings, like the annual  G-20 Summit in November, if Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to show up.

But if—as Kenya’s ambassador to the U.N., Martin Kimani, memorably warned on the eve of Russia’s offensive—multilateralism was “on its deathbed”, the patient has made it through the year alive.…  Seguir leyendo »

El español, en el Tribunal Internacional de La Haya

El español es la lengua mundial de mayor capacidad expansiva, pero es también la que debe de superar mayores obstáculos para ocupar en el universo lingüístico el rango que le corresponde.

Hoy -según los últimos datos (Instituto Cervantes, Informe 2022)- más de 496 millones de personas tienen el español como lengua materna (el 6,3 % de la población mundial). En este sentido, es la segunda lengua materna del mundo por número de hablantes, solo por detrás del chino mandarín. Hay que tener en cuenta que es el idioma oficial de 21 países. Su número de usuarios potenciales supera los 595 millones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, head of the military council, inspects officers during a parade to commemorate Myanmar's 77th Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on March 27. (Aung Shine Oo/AP)

The United Nations acted decisively in response to the crisis in Ukraine. The Security Council voted on a condemnation resolution within 24 hours of the Russian invasion. When Russia predictably used its veto to block the resolution, the General Assembly promptly established a process to subject future use of the veto to greater scrutiny. The secretary general visited Ukraine and brokered an agreement to prevent global food shortages due to the conflict. U.N. agencies mobilized under his leadership to see the agreement implemented.

Ukraine has shown that the United Nations can act in a crisis. Unfortunately, the same does not apply to a comparably dire situation in a country on the other side of the world: Myanmar.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Naciones Unidas?

Imagínense que en su comunidad de vecinos los dueños de los pisos más grandes tuvieran derecho a vetar las decisiones adoptadas mayoritariamente por el resto de los copropietarios. O que los grandes accionistas de una corporación impidieran que en ella puedan llevarse a la práctica decisiones acordadas por los socios minoritarios tras conseguir más votos en la junta general. Pues algo así lleva sucediendo en la Organización de las Naciones Unidas desde su fundación, atribuyendo a cinco miembros de su Consejo de Seguridad –la máxima autoridad sobre la paz en el mundo– todo un exorbitante poder de veto sobre sus resoluciones en un asunto de tan plurales consecuencias, incluidas las económicas, como ahora se está comprobando en la crisis ucraniana.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vladímir Putin no parece haber entendido, con sus bravatas sobre armas nucleares, que el problema actual tiene precedentes aleccionadores. Putin no ha hecho sus deberes en relación con la amenaza nuclear, y eso que en su entorno debe haber gente que conoce el tema, que no es otro que el del cálculo racional cuando hay armas nucleares encima de la mesa. Y lo más grave es que con sus bravatas está poniendo al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU ante su crisis más grave desde 1950.

Y ¿qué pasó en 1950? La ONU afrontó con la Guerra de Corea (1950-1953) su primera gran crisis apenas cinco años después de su creación, y casi no sobrevive a ella.…  Seguir leyendo »

As President Biden and other world leaders gather in New York this week to address the U.N. General Assembly, there’s an unusual twist: The United Nations, so often derided as a useless forum for debate rather than action, is working aggressively to contain the damage from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This is a diplomatic version of “man bites dog”. “I would have predicted that the U.N. would act as ineffectively as the League of Nations in the 1930s, but the opposite has happened”, says Jeffrey Feltman, a former State Department official who served as the United Nations’ under-secretary-general for political affairs.…  Seguir leyendo »

The UN headquarters building in New York City, March 2022. Carlo Allegri / Reuters

The 77th High Level session of the UN General Assembly is the first time the gathering of global leaders has been fully in person since the pandemic began. In the intervening period, the world seems to have slid backward. Global fault lines have deepened. Mistrust between the United States and China has grown as a result of disputes about the origins of COVID-19, China’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong, and tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea. China’s decision to indulge Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine has solidified the sense of a world divided into two camps, with NATO and the West on one side and Russia and China and their acolytes on the other.…  Seguir leyendo »

El Consejo de Derechos Humanos (CDH) es la institución con el nombre más inapropiado de toda la familia de organismos de la ONU. Porque en él están representados los más despiadados violadores de los derechos humanos (entre ellos Siria, Irán y China), algo que convierte al CDH actual en una burla a su propósito original.

La mayoría de las resoluciones del CDH giran de forma llamativa en torno al Estado de Israel. Nadie está sugiriendo que Israel deba estar más allá de la crítica. Pero en un mundo en el que existen enormes desafíos en materia de derechos humanos, llama la atención la persistencia del foco en Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

The proposed UN cybercrime convention has risks and opportunities for defining and protecting vulnerable groups.

In 2019, the UN General Assembly voted to establish an Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) to develop a convention on countering the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for criminal purposes. The AHC has met twice since January 2022, convening UN member state delegations in Vienna and New York to negotiate the future cybercrime convention.

The mandating resolution expressed concern about the impact of crimes committed in the digital world on the well-being of individuals. Just as cybercrime is borderless, the impacts of cybercrime on the security of vulnerable groups are inexact.

Vulnerable and marginalized groups offline face newfound, rapidly evolving, and ill-defined threats online.…  Seguir leyendo »

Let’s face it, the International Criminal Court, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary on July 1, is suffering from a lack of results.  In two decades, and at a cost of almost two billion dollars, the ICC has never sustained the atrocity conviction of any state official at any level anywhere in the world. Some of its leading cases have collapsed because of faulty case-building, reversals on appeal, and outright sabotage by targeted officials. The only defendants convicted of atrocity crimes in 20 years have been five African rebels.

And yet, the ICC has had an important impact on global justice, through its governing Rome statute which has been transposed into many national laws, and the  baseline international presumption in favor of accountability it helps promote, as well as through the pressure it has exerted on some states like Colombia to undertake prosecutions or risk an ICC investigation.…  Seguir leyendo »

At the beginning of my career, I visited a Sudanese refugee camp in Uganda and saw a two-year-old girl die before my eyes. The technical term for what this girl experienced, when you are too thin and malnourished for your size, is childhood wasting. And it was, indeed, a waste. A young life—with all its potential—gone forever. There was enough food in the world to go around. There was no reason for her to die.

That image has stayed with me for decades, and I have devoted much of my career to trying to identify and combat the root causes of conflict, famine, and human suffering.…  Seguir leyendo »

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet leaves after she addressed the press on the opening day of the 50th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 13. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights is one of the world’s custodians of justice, civil liberties, and accountability. Navi Pillay initiated a U.N. inquiry into crimes against humanity in North Korea. Zeid Raad Al Hussein called for an International Criminal Court probe into atrocities committed against Rohingyas in Myanmar. In contrast, Michelle Bachelet, who has just announced she won’t stand for a second term as high commissioner, whitewashed the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

Whoever holds the office of U.N. high commissioner for human rights is looked to as a moral leader.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet faced her most important test last week — and she failed miserably. Her visit to China in May — as the world waited for her to release a long-overdue U.N. report on human rights abuses in the Uyghur homeland — summarily undercut more than five years of efforts by Uyghur activists and our allies to tell the world what is happening to our people.

For years, Uyghurs have worked tirelessly to cut through China’s propaganda machine and shine a light on its ongoing genocide against our people. Countries around the world have acknowledged this genocide, and an independent panel of legal experts concluded last December in a people’s tribunal that China’s actions amounted to genocide and crimes against humanity.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a virtual meeting with Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, during her visit to Guangzhou, China, on May 25. (OHCHR handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Before U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made her long-awaited tip to China last week, the Biden administration and the human rights community urged her not to let Beijing turn the visit into a propaganda win for the Chinese Communist Party. But Bachelet ignored those warnings. Her trip ended up helping China deny its genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other repressive policies, harming the cause of human rights accountability in the process.

On Saturday, Bachelet completed her six-day trip to China, the first in 17 years by someone with her title, with a statement to the media that summed up a visit many observers view as a tragic failure.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kofi Annan’s Lessons in Global Leadership

The world is facing a set of acute crises without recent parallel: a war in Europe that could escalate into a nuclear conflict, skyrocketing food prices that are hitting the poor the hardest, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the climate emergency. We need principled statesmen and women to forge bold, morally consistent responses to these and other global problems. Sadly, such leaders are in short supply.

Many politicians prefer to advocate polarizing policies, avoid hard choices, and deny the scale of the threats at hand. Others have tried to address these issues honestly. But those who favor cooperation and solidarity in dealing with global threats are on the defensive, as last year’s underwhelming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and grossly unequal global access to COVID-19 vaccines clearly illustrate.…  Seguir leyendo »

Conviene recordar que el 10 de diciembre del 1948 se adoptó por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos. A pesar del tiempo transcurrido para adaptarse, hay países como Rusia, China, Corea del Norte, Venezuela, Cuba y otros que no cumplen con los preceptos de dicha declaración. Lo que parece no importar ni a la propia Organización, ni a gran parte de la comunidad internacional.

A pesar de lo anterior, la ONU consideró que tenía cosas más importantes en las que pensar y en el año 2015 alumbró la Agenda 2030 estableciendo hasta 17 ODS, Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible, que se debieran alcanzar en dicho año.…  Seguir leyendo »

An undated picture shows a session of the League of Nations Extraordinary Council in Geneva. Mondial Photo Presse/AFP via Getty Images

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army reduced one Ukrainian city after another to rubble, crushing civilians caught in apartment blocks and shopping malls under a rain of artillery and missile fire, many observers in the rich world bemoaned the dysfunction of the United Nations for not being able to overcome an obstacle written into its very charter: Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, is one of the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members and, as such, enjoys veto power—allowing it to block any measure it disapproves of.

The scattered calls for United Nations reform that this provoked came against the backdrop of another source of Western displeasure.…  Seguir leyendo »