What does the UN do?

united-nations-day

Well today in the news we have an answer: they do everything in their power to promote world peace. Senior UN officials are reporting that a Syrian government plane has bombed a refugee camp near the Turkish border killing at least 28 people. This is how the UN has responded:

  1. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said he was outraged by the incident and called for those responsible to be held accountable”. Ban urged the security council to refer the situation in Syria to the international criminal court.
  2. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights said Thursday’s attacks were almost certainly a deliberate war crime.  Al Hussein said: “Given these tent settlements have been in these locations for several weeks, and can be clearly viewed from the air, it is extremely unlikely that these murderous attacks were an accident.” He too urged members of the UN security council to refer Syria to the ICC so that there would be “a clear path to punishment for those who commit crimes like these”.
  3. Other countries have felt confident enough to make comments too with France describing them as a “revolting and unacceptable act that could amount to a war crime or crime against humanity”.
  4. UN-organised peace talks in Geneva are however deadlocked after an opposition walkout and the government delegation’s refusal to discuss a political transition that would see Assad eased out of power.

Some people see the United Nations as a world government. This might be seen as good to promote world peace and human rights everywhere or dangerous if it isn’t your own national government making important decisions…

UNworld-government

If you can’t remember the basics about the United Nations you might look at the CBBC page which gives this as a summary:

The UN works for world peace and development in many different ways.
a) It organises peace-keeping forces in trouble spots around the world.                                    b) It is also linked with organisations which help people around the world. These include:
– UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)
– UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)
– UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation)
– FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation)
– WHO (World Health Organisation)

Lots of people know about the UN because it sends peacekeeping troops to areas of conflict:

UN_battalion_Bastille_Day_2008_n2

Or watch some YouTube clips:

  1. How does the UN work?
  2. How effective in the UN?
  3. Craziest moment of the General Assembly at the UN
  4. Emma Watson actress speaking at the HeForSheCampaign at the UN 2014
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio actor speaking as a UN Messenger of Peace at a Climate Summit 2014

representatives-26-allied-nations-pledge-their-support

Above you can see in the photograph how in 1942 the name “United Nations” was first coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was  used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.

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3 thoughts on “What does the UN do?

    • People certainly criticise the UN for its bowing down to the needs of the rich industrialised world and the fact the Security Council is so unfair. (The Security Council has 15 members —five permanent members (China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and ten non-permanent members elected by the UN General Assembly for two-year terms.)

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