Friday, October 21, 2016

UN Veto Power

What is UN Veto Power?
The power to veto a resolution is essentially the right to rule out, or block a resolution from being adopted. Permanent members in the UN Security Council are privileged with the right to veto a resolution. These members are the Russian Federation, China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

Great video that summarizes the role of the UN Security Council

Russia and China vetoing a resolution related to Syria Conflict
Why is it important?
Veto power surprisingly enough helps when finding compromises. Without this right, issues cannot be solved efficiently and effectually as there are disagreements between member states. An article written by Dr. Alexander Yakovenko states that "By creating this right, those who drafted the UN Charter showed understanding that if there is no agreement between the P5, problems can’t be resolved collectively and efficiently, and thus, can’t be resolved at all."
Graph showing number of vetoes per country

Veto power as stated above, can definitely help when finding compromises between member states, as there are less disagreements. Without veto power, some influential member states may not have even accepted the UN's creation without this privilege.

Misuse. There has been an ongoing debate on whether or not member states in the Security Council should have this privilege. The most important point is that member States at times have constantly been abusing this power, where a resolution is needed immediately.

The entire point of the UN is to solve existing issues, and by vetoing resolutions, member states are doing exactly the opposite. They are hindering a resolution from being implemented. A better solution to this issue, could be giving member states in the Security Council only one veto. This way, they aren't able to misuse the power as they are only given one chance to veto a resolution.

Keep in mind that I am just providing my own opinion and would be happy to have feedback and opinions from you as well.  


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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Syrian Conflict and War Crime

The Syrian Civil War is a complicated issue that repeatedly appears all over the media. Though this war is not very easy to understand, I suggest reading articles or videos on how it started to gain more information about it. Such as this one: Syrian Civil War Video.
So today, I will be discussing about Russia's part in the civil war.  Russia and Syria's current president(Bashar-Al-Assad) are allies and Russia backs Assad's forces in the war. And because of this, Russia plays a tremendous part in the war. However, suspicions have arisen on whether or not Russia has been committing war crimes. The President of France, Francois Hollande believes that Russia should be charged with war crimes and the U.S Secretary  of State John Kerry believes Russia should be investigated for this as well. They both believe that Russia should be investigated for the bombardment of Aleppo and attacks on hospitals that according to Mr. Kerry are deliberate.
Article 27  in the Laws and customs of war on land (Hague, IV) states that "In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes." There have been instances where Russia has violated the text stated in this article. For example, Russian airstrikes throughout a 6 month period had resulted in the death of 2000 civilians. (guardian) Do you believe Russia should be charged with committing war crimes or not?  Write your answer in the comments.
Russia Vetoes Resolution
Russia has also vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council which designed to end aerial bombs conducted by Russia and Syria. This veto has a great impact on the Syrian unrest. If this solution had been implemented humanitarian aid could've reached Syria and there could've been a decrease in casualties. So this brings us to the question of veto power in the UN Security Council. There are times when individuals are in need of serious help and a resolution should be implemented quickly in order to resolve an issue. Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch says “Russia has once again abused its veto privilege and sabotaged the UN security council, this time stonewalling efforts to stop the vicious assault on east Aleppo’s civilians...”  But this topic will be discussed more in-depth in the next post. So do you think member states in the UN Security Council should have the power of vetoing? Comment your answer.

Keep in mind that I am just providing my own opinion and would be happy to have feedback and opinions from you as well.
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