What you need to know:
- In the Liberian civil war (1989-2003), blood revenues financed Charles Taylor’s government.
- In Libya, what the Americans called the “Arab Awakening” evolved into a civil war that saw the Jamahiriya disintegrate into clan-based regions. Africans continue to suffer under Isis.
No doubt, the 75-year-old United Nations has seen notable moments of glory — unlike its predecessor, the League of Nations, which failed to prevent World War I of 1914-18 and WW2 (1939-45), leading to the loss of 30 million and 70 million lives, respectively.
Close to 170 world leaders are set to descend on New York for the UN General Assembly, for this year’s celebrations of the UN’s birthday, including a summit on the Sustainable Development Goals such as peace and security.
However, as the Telegraph asked, how has the UN fared over the seven decades?
Founded in 1945, the UN was aimed at promoting global peace and security. It has succeeded in restoring peace in some conflict zones, such as southern Europe, but not others. These include the civil war in the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, Cambodia violence (1975-79) and the Syrian (2011) and Yemeni (2014) civil wars.
Some humanitarian and security situations in Africa in the recent past are particularly concerning: Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic, northern Nigeria, Somalia, Libya and Lesotho.
The second half of the 20th century has seen countless wars, some ongoing. Millions of people around the world have been killed and others displaced.
Despite successes in other parts of the world, most of the UN missions failed in Africa. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, it failed to enforce an arms embargo on Eastern European countries (Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Slovakia) who shipped weaponry to Liberia and later smuggled it to Sierra Leone.
In the Liberian civil war (1989-2003), blood revenues financed Charles Taylor’s government. In Libya, what the Americans called the “Arab Awakening” evolved into a civil war that saw the Jamahiriya disintegrate into clan-based regions. Africans continue to suffer under Isis.
Despite this, the UNSC never intervened — except for Nato that came to Libya, bombed and left.
In the Darfur conflict in Sudan (2003), some 200,000 people were killed while 4.4 million needed aid and over 2.5 million displaced as the International Criminal Court issuance of arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes and genocide.
Since South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011, it has experienced civil war with 382,000 people killed, 2.5 million exiled and 1.8 million displaced.
The UN was also warned of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, in Rwanda, but did nothing as a million people were slaughtered.
Despite the UN Mission in Congo in 1999, civilians continue to suffer at the hands of militias.
Let the UN’s 75th anniversary, themed, “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism”, urgently change its approach in addressing the challenges that Africa faces.
Onwonga Yabesh, Kisii