Peacekeeping And The Universal Essay Research Paper

Peacekeeping And The Universal Essay, Research Paper

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights cam into

existence on December 10, 1948 when the General Assembly of the United Nations

adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following

this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicise

the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated,

displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational

institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or

territories." The idea was to proclaim a set of rights to which all

peoples of the world were entitled. The truth of the nature of the world and of

society in general is that this declaration is not always upheld in all of the

member countries of the UN. Fascist regimes still exist, ethnic cleansing still

goes on, and people are still persecuted for their beliefs. The question is

what should be done when a government refuses to uphold the declaration and

instead persecutes, discriminates, or treats members of its own society in a

cruel and or inhuman manner. Is it just for the United Nations to authorise

military action against these countries? Should the UN use destructive force to

insure that citizens are not tortured, or harmed unjustly by their governments?

Is it just for force to be used to prevent harm? The ethics of this question are far reaching and have a major impact on

the way that a UN mission to various countries to protect citizens takes place.

A poll being conducted at asked readers the following

question; ?Is NATO justified in launching strikes against Yugoslavia?? The

tally after was that 58% of people who filled out the survey thought that NATO

was justified in using air strikes, and 42% were against, an interesting

outcome. The general public seems to be divided on the issue as to whether or

not military action is justified. The question behind that question though, is

what reasons that those against the action are against it. Are they ethically

against the use of force or are they voting no because they are just tired of

the whole conflict and would just as soon that we pulled out of the area all

together and let the problem and the people involved take care of themselves.

The fact that a large portion of the population has this feeling is something

to be considered also. Are we as say a western society justified in our

decision to create a Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our decision to

enforce this declaration onto other countries? Is it a violation of the

principles of non-interference in countries internal affairs? A question that

could almost be asked is, where do we get off making a declaration like this

and expectation the rest of the world to follow it just because we say that it

is right. What prerogative have we to push our view of what is right and what

is wrong on the rest of the world? It is fair to say that in the case of this

issue basic human decency allows us to make this kind of a declaration. There

comes a point where someone must stand up and take a stand for those that are

under the heel of a regime or force that is bent on their destruction, or the

disregard of their human rights. There is often little contention about the issue

when the targets are strictly military. A cheer goes up when a weaponry plant

in Kragujevac or an aircraft factory in Pancevo is hit. The mission is

justified and we are doing an excellent job and the mission is an important and

valid one. However when mistakes happen in war, as they always do when a

missile goes off course and a civilian target is hit why is it that the entire

mission and the ethics of the entire mission are called into question? While I

do not wish to say that it is ok for civilian targets to be hit, it is a given

that missiles are going to go off course and that bystanders are going to be

affected in a conflict. Whether it is the families of those killed at the

weapons plant and their loss, or the loss of the families of those who work at

that plant, how is it that the ethics behind the whole mission are suddenly

called into question? What has changed in the reason for the mission to take

place besides the fact that we now have to deal with the fact that innocent

people died and will die in any conflict? The fact remains that we felt that we

were justified in the fact that we wanted to use force in order to make sure

that the rights and freedoms of the individual were never trampled on in that

country again. ??????????? On the side that is for

the use of military force in order to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights, there is the argument that there must be some consequence to violations

of this statute. There is really no point or little use in creating a Universal

Declaration of Human Rights if it has no actual consequence to those that are

violating the declaration. Does it matter if the United Nations has stated

that, ?No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave

trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.??

When there is no consequence levelled on country X for violating that

article and promoting the slavery of a portion of their population. Does it

really truly matter to that person being held in slavery that the United

Nations has said that Slavery is outlawed when their government is allowed to

leave them in slavery.? All due to the

fact that the United Nations is not willing, or feels that they cannot

ethically use any force upon their government in order to uphold that statute?

Does it really matter that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights even

exists to that person and to the rest of the world since by extension we are,

?All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights?? Another thing to consider is how selective we seem to be in our decision

of where and when to use force to uphold Human Rights. The United Nations and

NATO is willing to go into Yugoslavia and launch air strikes in order to

prevent violations of human rights. However there are continuous reports of

violations of human rights in China and by the Chinese government upon its

people. Yet when was the last time that we heard that the United Nations was

going to send military forces, or inspectors into China to make sure that the

fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens in China were being preserved? Are

we less willing to send military forces into China because China is a major

trading partner? Are we less willing to send force into china because they have

the ability to fight back and do some damage? Why is it that military force

only ever seems to be used against smaller targets that do not really have the

capabilities to wage an offensive back at the countries involved? Further on

this subject is the current controversy over the idea of losing peacekeepers

and ?our? troops in the intervention into the current conflict. Is it ok for us

to use force and to send our troops in to uphold the Universal Declaration of

Human Rights only if we are not going to incur any losses? Are we unwilling to

accept the consequences that come with a decision to first make a declaration

of this nature and then be charged with the responsibility of upholding the

statutes in this declaration of our own making? A large portion of current

public opinion seems to say that we are content to sit back in our armchairs

and say that we believe that all human beings should be entitled to basic human

rights. However when it means that we have to get up off our butts to make sure

that they do, well we just are not willing to do it, besides there are more

interesting things watch on TV then the depressing images that come across on

CNN. An interesting twist on the whole question to

note is the existence of peacekeeping military training institutes. In Canada

we have the Lester B Pearson Peacekeeping Training Centre, and in the US there

is the International Peace Academy. Both of these institutions are geared

towards training military personal on the proper manner in which to conduct

peacekeeping operations. These institutions while not specifically geared toward

the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, acknowledge the need for military

force in situations when the goal is not military action, but rather military

inaction. Is it possible to have military inaction from military action? The

answer is in fact yes, it does however depend on the military action that takes

place, if a military force were to say go into an country and wipe out all of

the other militaries in that country then there would be no more need for

military action. While this is really not an ethically acceptable option the

fact is that the end result would be military inaction and stability in the

region. While that stability may only last for as long as it takes for the

parties involved to raise another army. It is still a stability of sorts.

However realistically speaking this is not an option that is acceptable, or is

it? The goal of past operations has been to take away a regime?s ability to

wage war, or attack other nations and peoples, most of these operations are on

a large scale but the principals behind them can be drawn into our present day

debate on ethics. During world war two the allied forces eventually rose up to

defeat and drive back Hitler due to his expansionist policies and his fascist

policies which lead to the torture and extermination of the Jews and various

other ethnic groups and subcultures within his reach. This is I know a very

scaled down and loose summary I know, but for the purposes of this discussion

it will suffice. The end mission was to take away Hitler?s capacity for war and

his ability to inflict torture and cruelty upon the people under his control.

It took a fierce and large military undertaking to make this happen, but in the

end it did. The question was raised in that war, ?why is the US getting involved

in a fight that essentially isn?t their own. The United States was not

threatened, and the American peoples were never under attack by the regime of

Hitler until they got involved in the war. I say this remembering that it was

Japan and not Germany that ordered the attack on Pearl Harbour. While

academically speaking it is likely that they eventually would have been

attacked the truth is that according to the dogma that is popular right now, it

was ?not our war, we should just let them fight it out by themselves and stay

out of it.? However the world was pretty much in agreement that it was the

right thing to do to end the regime and the threat of violence on innocents by

Hitler?s regime. The effort was put out militarily to take away his ability for

violence and there were never any disagreements that it was or wasn?t the right

thing to do. The same concept can almost be put forward to current day

infractions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Regimes are bringing

violence and torture upon innocents under their influence, how is it that yet

again many wish to just sit on our hands and wait for it to just go away. The issue that we also need to resolve is the

necessity to send in large amounts of force, when force is required. Any

military strategist knows that in a situation where you are going to be dealing

with a face to face conflict, the larger your numbers the fewer your casualties

are likely to be.? The United Nations

has run in to situations where it has sent a task force of some kind into a

situation and the force has quickly come to the realisation that it didn?t even

have the resources necessary to protect itself. I am speaking in part about the

hostage taking of United Nations military observers in the former Yugoslavia in

1995. On of the members of that understaffed mission was a Canadian and when

NATO decided to launch air strikes against the Serbs at that time the Serbian

military took United Nations observers hostage and used them as human shields

by placing them at the sites targeted by NATO. In the case of Capt. Patrick

Rechner, he was handcuffed to a pole near a munitions dump in order to prevent

NATO from firing on that installation. The main question that needs to be asked

is how and why was he ever taken hostage? What was the point of putting UN

personal in that situation if they didn?t have the support that would keep them

from being taken hostage by the forces that they are observing? On thing that

is certain that the United Nations must send an adequate force in if they are

planning on doing any thing in a situation like this. There is really no point

and nothing gained for anyone by sending a undermanned force that can do

nothing other then watch or be taken hostage by the forces involved in the

conflict. It makes no sense for the United Nations to put itself in a situation

where it send a mission into a hot zone, but then leaves its commanders without

either the resources, or the forces adequate to be in that situation. Without

the orders that allow them to do anything that will make any difference in the

conflict, what good are they? What good is it for our drive to protect the

innocent, when UN commanders are not able to fight back for the innocent? They

must sit back and watch as entire villages of innocent people are ?cleansed?.

Ultimately what is the point of having them there aside from letting we the

rest of the world say that we are doing ?something? about the problem? ??????????? The conclusion that I

have come to myself is that yes, the United Nations is justified in using

military force to enforce the Universal declaration of human rights. It is not

possible for us to call ourselves an advanced and civilised society when we

allow the violations of people?s basic human rights to go on. It is also

necessary for us to be willing to take the consequences of our decision to say

that we stand for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals. The

preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes the following

statement: ?Whereas it is essential, if man

is not compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against

tyranny and oppression, that human right should be protected by the rule of

law.? What is the rule of law? The rule of law is the same rule of law that

felons experience within cities and countries when they commit a crime. The

sometimes use of force to bring them to justice and to prevent the crime from

being propagated, and continuing on. How is it any different on the global

stage? How can we allow infractions to continue hiding behind our desire not to

get involved, or to ?let them sort it out on their own, its not our problem

anyway.? The Declaration states: ?Whereas disregard and contempt

for human rights has resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the

conscience of mankind.? ?Whereas Member Sates have

pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the

promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and

fundamental freedoms.? The reason for us to use force if necessary is right there in the Declaration

itself. When we sit back and do nothing then disregard and contempt for human

rights results in barbarous acts. While it is definitely best to try to first

reach an agreement through discussion and diplomacy, we must recognise that

sometimes discussion and diplomacy fail. When that happens we as a group of

nations that has signed and declared that human rights are fundamental freedoms

that must be allowed to all people, must be ready to stand up for that

statement and for those people. If we do not we are nothing more then a society

that likes to make statements that make us feel good, but are really nothing

more then a society that is all so much rhetoric. At the heart of my argument

is the concept that if we are willing to take the responsibility of making a

declaration like the Universal Declaration of Human rights, then we must also

take the responsibility of making sure that that declaration is upheld. So in

the interests of the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms and

dignity of all peoples, yes the United Nations Security Council is justified in

authorising military force in order to enforce the Universal Declaration of

Human Rights. Bibliography Arsenault, Adrienne. Defiant Serbs say

damage minimal. Web posted Wed Mar 24 23:40:27 1999.

1999/03/24/kosovo990324#tally. CBC News Online. Sorensen, Eric. Canadian arrested for UN

hostage taking. Web posted Sat Mar 20 11:14:04 1999.

03/20/ribic990319. CBC News Online. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Visited 12/03/1999. United

Nations Homepage. Feinberg, Jared. ‘Clay Pigeons,’ Sitting

Ducks. Visited 11/03/1999.

The Washington Post, Tuesday, September 1, 1998. By Center for Defense

Information. resolve the issues about china,

not a good example as china is a permanent member of the security council and

therefor has a veto, possibly change the slant while still using them, or

eliminate the question all together.


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