Such threats to the planet earth as nuclear warfare, ravaging conflicts, catastrophic plagues, extreme poverty, drugs, and terrorism have ever tested the strength of man in defending its habitat, Planet earth.
But cooperation between states over coercion, as President Obama of the United States said, has ever been the pillar against which men and women lean in these tested times.
This was the vision when wise men and women of our past collectively, understanding the importance of cooperation among states, especially bigger ones, to avert what would have had catastrophic consequences on the world, formed The League of Nations.
The League of Nations was the first intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War with the principal mission was to maintaining world peace.
But as fate would have it, The League lacked its own armed force and depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide an army when needed, which the Great Powers were often reluctant to do.
After a number of notable successes, The League died a natural death as Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, and others withdrew their allegiance.
The example of this small, installmental death of the League of Nations is by no stretch of the English language a forecast of how the United Nations (A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II) too is going to meet its death.
70 years after the founding of the United Nations from the ashes of the World War II, the seemingly irreconcilable capitalists West is still at loggerheads with the socialist East.
Accusations and counter-accusations and flaring political rhetoric between the bigger powers and in between the crushes often slouch the innocent who are rarely cared about.
The dominance of the biggest powers over the smaller ones, the illogical diplomatic spats between the US and Russia even when lives are at stake as it was seen happening in Syria and Ukraine.
This is perhaps a symptom of the different world within a world that formed the UN.
Monopoly at UNSC
It was no surprise that the smaller and poor nations have also began asserting themselves and demand two permanent seats at the United Nations Security Council.
The smaller and poor nations are arguing a major reform at the UN for it to be an all-inclusive global body where everyone will feel represented and not some common ideological theater where two arrogant states, US and US, will hold the entire world at ransom.
Yahya, Jammeh’s Gambia, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and Uhuru’s Kenya are at the fore of this call in Africa.
At the recent United Nations General Assembly, The Gambia has asked for Africa to also have two permanent seat at the Security Council, a move which will thus break the longstanding tradition of having only five permanent members which are the People’s Republic of China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States
The Gambia’s Vice President paraphrased a statement by Kofi Anan, the former UN secretary general saying no reform of the UN is complete without the reform of the Security Council.
Isatou Njie Saidy, who delivered the speech of the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, argued that such a statement as the one made by Kofi Anan “is as valid now as it was when it was said seven years ago”.
“We cannot afford, as a globe, to be in a state of comma when larger regional interest especially those of Africa are at stake… Africa needs to be at the table…,” she said.
Gay rights: the new war-front
But the problem of the UN does not just stop as the tug-of-war of the earth’s must powerful bulls, US and Russia, who are busy on position-bargaining, who is right or wrong- while innocent people die, it seems gay rights is becoming the new war front.
In what was described as an unprecedented joint initiative, 12 UN agencies on September 29, the day The Gambia and Zimbabwe addressed the UNGA, issued a powerful joint call to action on ending violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) adults, adolescents and children.
“This is the first time that so many members of the UN family have joined forces in defence of the basic rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people,” the UN Human Rights Office’s Chief of Global Issues, Charles Radcliffe was quoted as saying.
“It’s both an expression of commitment on the part of UN agencies, and a powerful call to action for Governments around the world to do more to tackle homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination and abuses against intersex people.”
The statement highlights the link between human rights abuses against LGBTI people and ill health, family break-up, social and economic exclusion and lost opportunities for development and economic growth.
It sets out specific steps that Governments, in particular, should take to curb violence and protect individuals from discrimination – including measures to improve the investigation and reporting of hate crimes, torture and ill-treatment, prohibit discrimination, and review and repeal all laws used to arrest, punish or discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
The 12 UN entities were the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Secretariat, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Women, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, this statement certainly does not speak the language of the Republic of China and the Russian Federation nor does it entail a letter from President Jammeh, President Mugabe or President Uhuru Kenyatta, among many others on the African continent.
In fact, on the day that this release was made, Mugabe has already told the UNGA that “We”, perhaps referring to Africa, “are not guys”.
“…Nowhere does the charter abrogate the right to some to sit in judgment over others, in carrying out this universal obligation. In that regard, we reject the politicization of this important issue and the application of double standards to victimize those who dare think and act independently of the self-anointed prefects of our time,” Mugabe said.
“We equally reject attempts to prescribe ‘new rights’ that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions, and beliefs. We are not gays!”
Similarly, the Gambian Vice President who spoke on behalf of President Jammeh said: “Despite the marked evolution in human diversity, there are some tenets with respect to people’s religious beliefs and values that are sacred and no country, big or small, should be allowed to insult another country or to bully them for honoring the traditions that govern its people. To do so is disrespectful and dangerous.
“Whereas materialism, terrorism, crime, obsession with weapons of mass destruction, deviant lifestyles seem to be the order of the day, make no mistake that there is still right and wrong deeds, and positive and negative consequences. As much as some behaviors are clearly in violation of laws, and societal norms, there are others that are a direct insult to our respective religions. I maintain that all of the aforementioned behaviors are displeasing to the Almighty Allah and against the principles that govern peaceful and loving Muslims and Christians.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for 70 years since the founding of the UN Organization continues to maintain the same language as the mainstay of literally every UN resolution and conference that has to do with the family; that the family is “the natural and fundamental group unit of society”. So that spirit had and still should exclude any international acknowledgement of relationships between persons of the same-sex to signify a “family” as in the case of homosexual civil union and so-called same-sex marriages. Therefore given the natural structure of human nature and society, we must not allow ourselves to depart from the UDHR norm by entertaining deviant beliefs that reduce the family to government approval of adult sexual and emotional desires, instead of recognizing it as a central agent to achieve the common good of spouses, children and society at large.”
Regardless of such smokes of anti-gay comments rising from the “emerging Africa” and the Booming China and the aggressive Russia, the US is today more adamant that “gay rights must be respected” which represented another spat in international geopolitics.
With of course great achievements as well as several successful failures in the past, it is imperative to note that a United Nations where “some animals are more equal than others”, will survive but only for a future death.
Same is true of the credibility of the polarized Security Council whose action and inaction in any issue lies between the conflicting interests of China, Russia, England, France and The US.
While the debate continues on the fate of the dying Syrians over whom reigns the apocalyptic cult in the name of Tyrant Assad, Russia continues to be resolute that he be bought time to perpetuate dropping barrel bombs on Innocent Syrians.
This is similar to the unjustified US veto of any action, in the Security Council, against Israel in the Zionist state’s continued ambition to extinct Palestine.
All these political problems piled on the lack of cooperation on the side of the developed world to help the developing world (supposedly sister countries within the UN) stem illicit financial flows from Africa, for example, to bigger banks in the West.
However, a reformed UN as well as redefined relationships between countries that are members of the UN (based of win-win) can change the tide and bring about the much needed changes.
Written by Mustapha K Darboe and published on The Standard, a leading newspaper in The Gambia.