It is time to change, or scrap the UN
In its sessions in February – March next year, once again the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – the UN arm, whose mission it is to promote and protect human rights around the world – will once again rake up investigations into allegations of human rights violations in our country during its ‘war on terror’.
The UN was set up to take effective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace. It is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members.
Last year the scope of the UNHCR inquiry into our country was broadened to include issues arising from the economic crisis which hit the country -O Tempora, O Mores!
The original investigation was called by a group of countries led by Britain and included Germany, the US, Montenegro, Malawi and North Macedonia. They demanded an investigation into allegations of human rights violations in this country during its ‘war on terror’.
Strangely, the major powers pushing for the investigation into the alleged commission of war crimes in Sri Lanka are among those countries that have committed the greatest crimes against humanity themselves.
Yet, the UN has not flagged these crimes.
For instance, US involvement in the war in Vietnam left around 1.4 million Vietnamese civilian casualties, including over 415,000 deaths.
Separately several incidents occurred during the war in which civilians were deliberately targeted and killed by the US soldiers. The most prominent of them being the Huế Massacre and the Mỹ Lai Massacre.
In addition, 18.2 million gallons of Agent Orange, were sprayed by the US military over more than 10% of South Vietnam as part of the US herbicidal warfare programme.
Vietnam’s government claimed that 400,000 people were killed or maimed as a result of after-effects and that 500,000 children were born with birth defects.
During the closing stages of World War II, the US nuclear bombed two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Within a space of minutes hundreds of thousands of civilian Japanese children, women and men died a most horrible death, so the US could carry out live experiments on human guinea pigs.
To date, the UN has not commenced an investigation into either the US crimes in Vietnam or the fallout of its nuclear experiment in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The US has also committed war crimes and assorted atrocities against civilians ranging from Cambodia to Iraq, to Afghanistan.
We see a pattern in the atrocities -all these countries ‘happen’ to be in Asia… A pattern of racism emerges.
Today, the State of Israel is committing genocidal attacks on Palestine. While a temporary ceasefire has been declared in Gaza to facilitate a hostage swap, Israel continues to attack Palestinians in the West Bank and other parts of Palestine.
Since October 7 this year Israel has carpet bombed the Gaza Strip in what is described as the world’s most densely populated part of the world. Within the short space of around a month-and-a-half, the number of Palestinians killed since October 7 has risen to 14,532, including about 6,000 children, according to the government media office.
According to the World Health Organization, there were 51 attacks on health facilities in Gaza between October 7 and 17 2023, including the killing of 15 hospital workers and wounding of 27 others.
The number of hospitalised persons and others seeking shelter at the hospitals who were killed is unknown.
Yet, the UN Security Council has neither condemned Israeli atrocities nor called for a ceasefire. The UN has not seen it fit to demand Israel withdraw from Palestinian territories and return to internationally recognised borders.
Figures presented by the UN Secretary-General estimate the body needs approximately USD 3.4 billion for 2023.
Yet, while the UN prosecutes/investigates only weaker nations like Sri Lanka. It has done nothing to stop the ongoing genocide in Palestine or crimes committed by the US and the West in different parts of the world.
A question arises, for whose benefit is the huge structure of the UN maintained? To all intent and purposes, it appears that the UN is merely an appendage to whitewash the crimes of the White ex-colonial powers.