Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Chapter 6: International Organization, Law, and Human Rights
• International organizations (IOs) — include intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) such as the
UN, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the International Committee of the Red
Cross. International organizations do not include MNCs because MNCs do not have an
international, universal goal, they are businesses whose goal is to make proﬁt. Weaving together
of people across national boundaries reﬂects world interdependence.
• Overall the regional international organizations have more success than global ones and
those with speciﬁc functional or technical purposes have worked better than those with broad
• Global IGOs usually have functional purposes involving coordinating actions of some sets of
states around the world.
• NGOs tend to be more specialized in function than IGOs. Religious groups are among the
largest NGOs — their memberships often span many countries. Both in today’s world an
historically world religions have organized themselves across state borders, often in the face of
hostility from one or more national governments.
• There exist a web of international organizations of various sizes and types. The rapid growth
of this network, and the increasingly intense communications and interactions that occur
within it, indicate the rising international interdependence.
• The United Nations
• State sovereign in an anarchical system creates the need for international organizations, i.e.
the UN, on a practical level because no central world government performs the functions of
coordinating the actions of states for mutual beneﬁt. However, state sovereignty also limits
the power of the UN and other IOs.
• Although the UN strengthens world order, its design acknowledges the realities of
international anarchy and the unwillingness of states to surrender their sovereignty. The basic
purpose of the UN is to provide a global institutional structure through which states can
sometimes settle their conﬂicts with less reliance on the use of force.
• The UN Charter is based on the principles that states are equal under international law;
that states have full sovereignty over their own affairs; that states should have full independence
and territorial integrity; and that states should carry out they international obligations.
• The UN is a symbol of international order and also a forum where states promote their views
and bring their disputes. It is a mechanism for conﬂict resolution in international security
• The UN also promotes and coordinates development assistance of economic and social
development in the global south. This reﬂects the belief that economic and social problems
— above all, poverty — are an important source of international conﬂict and war. The UN is
a coordinating system for information and planning, and for the publication of international
• Every year the world spend about $1.2 trillion on the military, and less than $2 billion on the
UN regular budget.
• Structure of the UN
• UN General Assembly — representatives of all states listen to speeches and pass
resolutions. Parallel to the General assembly is the UN Security Council —ﬁve great
powers and ten rotating member states make decisions about international peace and
security. The SC has responsibility for the dispatch of peacekeeping forces to trouble spots.
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• The administrations of theUN happens through the UN Secretariat (executive
branch), led by the secretary-general of the UN.
• The World Court (International Court of Justice) is a judicial art of the UN.
A major strength of the Un structure is the universality of membership. Virtually every territory
in the world is either a UN member or normally a province or colony of one. Agreement on
the Charter commits all states to basic rules governing their relations. Recognizing the role of
power in world order, the UN Charter gave ﬁve great power each a veto over substantive
decisions of the SC — China, US, Britain, France, Russia. Chapter 7 of the Charter
authorizes the Security Council to use military force against aggression if the nonviolent
means in Chapter 6 have failed.
• History of the UN
• The UN was founded in 1945 in San Francisco by 51 states. It was the successor to the
League of Nations, which failed to effectively counter aggression in the 1930s. The UN was
founded to increase international order and the rule of law to prevent another world war.
• In the 1950s and 1960d the UN’s membership more than doubled as colonies in Asia and
Africa won independence.
• China: China’s seat in the UN had been assigned to the government on Taiwan who was in
power of mainland China until 1949. In 1971 the Chinese seat was taken from the
nationalists and given to the communist government
• Throughout the Cold War, the UN had few successes in international security because the
US-Soviet conﬂict prevented consensus.
States in the global South also used the UN as a forum to criticize rich countries in general
and the US in particular.
• Between 1987 and 1993, SC resolutions increased from 15 to 78, peacekeeping missions
from 5 to 17, peacekeepers from 12,000 to 78,000, and countries sending troops from 26 to
76. However, inadequate funding and management problems undermined peacekeeping
efforts in Angola, Somalia, and Cambodia. The UN scaled back peacekeeping operations
in 1995-1997 (from 78,000 to 19,000 troops) and carried to reductions and reforms in the
UN Secretariat and UN programs.
• The 2003 Iraq War triggered serious divisions among the great powers that sidelined the
UN. The SC was split on whether to authorize force against Iraq — Britain and US in
favour; France, Russia, and China against. The UN withdrew its staff from Iraq in 2003,
and found itself largely sidelined in the world’s most prominent international conﬂict.
Currently the UN follows a principle of “three pillars” — security, economic
development, and human rights — which are considered mutually necessary
for any of them to succeed.
• The Security Council
• The SC’s decisions are binding on all members of the UN. It had great power to deﬁne the
existence and nature of a security threat, to structure the response to such a threat, and to
enforce its decisions through mandatory directives to UN members.
• Substantive SC resolutions require 9 votes from among the 15 members. But a “no” vote by
an permanent member defeats the resolution.
• The Council’s ten nonpermanent members rotate onto the Council for two-year terms.
Nonpermanent members are elected (ﬁve each year) for two year terms by the General
Assembly from a list prepared by informal regional caucuses.
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• SC is limited in power in two major ways, both of which reﬂect the strength of state
sovereignty in the international system.
1. The Council’s decisions depend entirely on the interests of its member states. The
ambassadors who represent those states cannot change a Council resolution without
authorization from their governments.
2. Although the SC resolutions in theory bind all UN members, member states in practice
often try to evade or soften their effect.
• Japan and Germany are great powers that contribute substantial UN dues and make large
contributions to UN programs and peacekeeping operations. Yet they have the same formal
representation in the UN as tiny states: one vote in the General Assembly and the chance to
rotate onto the SC. Also, if Japan and Germany get a seat, then what about India, with
about 20% of the world’s population. Possible new permanent members could include
Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, Egypt, and either Nigeria or South Africa.
• Peacekeeping forces are not mentioned in the UN Charter. In practice, when the UN has
authorized force to reverse aggression the forces involved have been national forces not under
UN command. The UN’s own forces have been peacekeeping forces to calm regional conﬂicts,
playing a neutral role between warring forces.
• The secretary-general assembles a peacekeeping force for each missions, usually from a few
states totally uninvolved in the conﬂict, and puts it under a single commander.
Peacekeeping forces serve at the invitation of a host government and must leave if that
government order them out. Lack of fund is today the single greatest constraint on the use
of peacekeeping forces.
• The two largest peacekeeping missions in 2012 were the Democratic Congo and the Darfur
region of Sudan. UN forces occasionally were attacked by rebels and even by local civilians
angry at the UN’s failure to protect them. A collective good problem occurs where potential
suppliers of peacekeepers face neither rewards for doing so (reciprocity) nor punishment for
failing to do so (dominance).
Because of problems with sex-related crimes in UN peacekeeping operations, and the
importance of women in postwar societies, the SC passed Resolution 1325 in 2000 to focus
attention on genera issues in UN peacekeeping and reconstruction.
• Expanding operations after conﬂicts are called peace building. In an effort to provide
longer-term support after wars.
• “Peacekeepers” performs two different functions: 1. Observing, 2. Peacekeeping. Observers
are unarmed military ofﬁcers sent to a conﬂict area in small numbers simply to watch what
happens and report back to the UN.
• The function of peacekeeping is carrie rout by lightly armed soldiers (in armoured vehicles)
with automatic riﬂes but without artillery, tanks, and other heavy weaponry. They can
interpose themselves physically between warring parties to keep them apart. UN
peacekeepers often try to negotiate with military ofﬁcers on both sides.
Peacekeeping is much more difﬁcult if one side sees the UN forces as being biased
• In 2010, the ﬁve leading contributors with troops numbers were: Pakistan and Bangladesh
11,000; Pakistan 9,000; India 8,000; Nigeria 6,000; Nepal 4,000.
• In the late 1990s, seven countries — Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands,
Austria, and Canada — formed a 4,000 troop UN Standby High Readiness Brigade.
Headquartered in Denmark and available to deploy to conﬂict areas in two to four weeks
rather than in months.
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• The Secretariat
• The secretary-general is nominated by the SC - required the consent of al ﬁve permanent
members — and must be approved by the GA. Term of ofﬁce is ﬁve years and may be
• Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, a former foreign minister of South Korea, began his
term in 2007 focused on UN reform, economic development, human rights, terrorism,
proliferation, environmental problems, and HIV/AIDS. His predecessor, Koﬁ Annan, was
• The secretariat of the UN is its executive branch, headed by the secretary-general. It is a
bureaucracy for administering UN policy and programs. The staff numbers about 15,000
people, and the total number of employees in the UN system (including the World Bank
and IMF) is about 80,000.
• The UN Charter sets the secretary-general and staff apart from the authority of national
governments and calls on member states to respect the staff’s “exclusively international
The secretary general has the power under the Charter to bring to the SC any matter that
might threaten international peace and security, and so to play a major role in setting the
UN’s agenda in international security affairs.
• The General Assembly
• The GA is made up of all 193 member states of the UN, each with one vote. Usually meets
every year, in plenary session. State leaders or foreign ministers generally come through one-
by-one to address the assemblage.