The Restructuring of the United Nations

Essay by datajackCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2006

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In recent years there have been many calls for reform of the United Nations from many critics including the current UN secretary Kofi Annan. Unfortunately, there is little consensus on how to go about reforming it. Some want the United Nations to play a greater or more effective role in world affairs; others want its role reduced to humanitarian work. Despite the original intention of the United Nations as a "global association of governments" (UN Official Web Site) recent failure in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions show that the UN does need to reform in order to remain a useful IGO.

After the Second World War the United Nations was formed with the pursuit of human rights as a central reason for its creation (Mesler). World War II atrocities and genocide led to a ready consensus that the new organization must work to prevent any similar tragedies in the future. An early objective was creating a legal framework for considering and acting on complaints about human rights violations.

The UN Charter obliges all member nations to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights" and to take "joint and separate action" to that end (UN Official Web Site). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, though not legally binding, was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all. The United Nations and its various agencies are central in upholding and implementing the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A case in point is support by the UN for countries in transition to democracy. Technical assistance in providing free and fair elections, improving judicial structures, drafting constitutions, training human rights officials, and transforming armed movements into political parties have contributed significantly to democratization worldwide (Roberts, Kingsbury).

Unfortunately, the United Nations has...