Time for fundamental reform of the UN?

The Ukraine war has given new impetus to the ongoing debate about the United Nations' power or rather lack thereof. Kyiv, in particular, has described the Security Council as toothless in view of Russia's veto power as a permanent member and called for a general reform of the international body. The Human Rights Council is also under fire - despite the suspension of Russia's membership.

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Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

The forum doesn't work as it is

Either the global security architecture is reformed or the UN no longer has a raison d'être, writes Rustem Umerov, Rada deputy of the Golos party, in Ukrayinska Pravda:

“Today Ukraine is demanding three clear measures from the international community: the withdrawal of Russia's veto power in the UN Security Council, the suspension of Russia's membership in the UN and a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council. With its veto, Russia prevents international bodies from operating. This casts great doubt on the existence of such international forums, which in reality are completely incapable of action. There are only a handful of ways out of this situation: reforms or the question of whether there is still any need at all for platforms like the UN.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Human Rights Council based on hypocrisy

The mere fact that countries like China, Libya, Eritrea, Pakistan, Qatar and Venezuela are members renders the Human Rights Council useless at best, La Stampa fumes:

“The problem is not whether these countries abstained or voted against the resolution to exclude Russia. The problem is: why are they on the Council at all? By what right? In the name of what? ... Is it not possible to apply the mechanism that was used with such speed against Russia against other rogue states whose illegal practices are widely known? In 16 years, did no democratic country feel even a hint of embarrassment about sitting next to these countries in discussions on human rights?”

NV (UA) /

Not worth the billions invested

The UN must change, because if it does not it will no longer fulfils any meaningful purpose, argues political scientist Volodymr Fessenko in NV:

“The crisis in the United Nations' efficiency, which has been discussed for decades, has now entered an acute phase. The main issue is the fairness of the decision-making mechanism in the UN Security Council. A country that is a permanent member and can veto any of the Council's decisions is not only committing gross violations of international law (we saw that in 2014), but has also launched a large-scale bloody war against a neighbouring state. ... If the UN remains in its present form, it will suffer the same fate as the League of Nations. ... And then it won't be worth the billions spent on its existence.”

Expressen (SE) /

Law of the strongest must not prevail

The Ukrainian president's criticism of the United Nations is justified, finds Expressen:

“Zelensky is right that Putin's war threatens not only Ukraine but the entire rules-based world order. Without international legal principles, we will revert to the times when the law of the strongest applied. A bleak future for small countries such as Sweden. Unfortunately, it's obvious that the UN is not able to deal with international conflicts involving a major power. In a new era of superpower politics, this does not bode well.”

Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

Don't toss out the baby with the bathwater

Russia's many vetoes have rendered the Security Council incapable of effective action, writes the Salzburger Nachrichten:

“Vetoes, vetoes and more vetoes - 263 resolutions have been prevented to date by a veto in the UN Security Council. Almost half of those vetoes came from Russia. ... Can the United Nations be abolished simply because its central body does not function? No. UN resolutions brought about the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. Fifty-one peace missions have been completed since its foundation, including such successful ones as that in Kosovo. ... The UN Security Council is outdated - a reform is overdue. But other instruments function. They are the remnants of a noble ideal and should not be underestimated.”