07 Aug 2006 New Report Details U.N. Fall from Grace
Washington, D.C. – A new study released by The National Center for Public Policy Research details an embarrassing and alarming number of serious controversies involving the United Nations and argues for meaningful reform.
According to Ryan Balis, policy analyst at the National Center and author of the study, this report helps explain historically low U.N. approval rates and why many Americans have lost confidence in the U.N. and its ability to advance international justice and peace.
The study, titled “Support for United Nations Justifiably Weakened by Financial, Sex and Human Rights Scandals,” examines some recent low points at the U.N.:
* 221 investigations of sexual improprieties, including cases of pedophilia, prostitution and rape, by U.N. civilian and military peacekeepers from February 2003 to October 2005
* The disgraced Iraqi Oil-for-Food program that failed to prevent $1.8 billion in illicit kickbacks from 66 U.N. member states; illicit surcharges by 40 U.N. member states; illegal oil surcharges paid to 139 companies; and ‘humanitarian kickbacks’ involving 2,253 companies worldwide
* The placement of perennial human rights abusers such as Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on its premier human rights bodies
* The breathtaking inability of U.N. peacekeeping missions to prevent gruesome human rights violations, including 7,000 Bosnian Muslims murdered in the 1993 Balkans conflict and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which saw 800,000 Rwandans slaughtered
The U.N. was set up after World War II as a debate society designed to prevent future wars and atrocities. According to Balis, “There can be no excuse for the failure of the U.N. as an institution to itself emulate the values of its own Charter.”
“The U.N. of today is not your father’s U.N. It is a deeply flawed organization in desperate need of serious reform,” argues Balis. “Correcting the underlying culture of abuse will be necessary if the U.N. is to become a more accountable and effective organization for advancing American interests.”
Some ideas Balis cites for meaningful reform include establishing an independent oversight body outside the U.N. bureaucracy, removing diplomatic immunity for U.N. staff accused of criminal conduct and tying U.N.-assessed funds to performance.
U.N. reforms thus far have not done much to fix the problem. For instance, the recently established Human Rights Council, which replaced the notorious Commission on Human Rights, does not exclude countries with deplorable human rights records.
“When it comes to protecting human rights, the U.N. apparently considers the fox a good guard for the hen house,” says Balis.
The National Policy Analysis can be viewed online at: http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA545UNScandals.html.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit educational foundation founded in 1982 and based in Washington, D.C.