by Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D.
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Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D., the editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government, brings his 30 years of experience in government and professional writing and broadcast journalism to your audience. Vernuccio provides insights that captivate listeners.
The annual ritual when countries that have failed their citizenry through bad governance and worse economics gather to lecture and make demands of nations with truly representative leadership and successful economies will again commence when the General Assembly of the United Nations opens its seventieth session on September 15 in New York.
The opening of the session will be followed, in the second week, by the United Nations summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda—a high-level plenary meeting taking place from September 25, through September 27—when world leaders are expected to agree to a new set of sustainability measures. The Assembly’s annual general debate, when Heads of State and Government and other senior national representatives gather to present their views about pressing world issues, will open on September 28, and run through October 5.
The United Nations Charter reaffirms “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women…” However, far too many members of that body utterly ignore that concept. Two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—China and Russia- regularly and substantially violate key tenets of the Charter. Over the decades since the document was first signed on June 26, 1945, far too many members have been admitted and remain who have no affinity with the concepts of individual rights, the equality of the sexes, or the principle of resolving international disputes through negotiation.
There is little doubt that vital issues currently affecting the world won’t be seriously addressed. Several examples of problems that will either be ignored or given little serious consideration:
the growing military threats and actions from Russia , China, Iran, and North Korea—(U.N. members all, China and Russia are members of the Security Council);
the enslavement and repression of Women in Islamic states;
the impoverishment of many national populations due to official corruption or the imposition of failed economic models;
the continued repression against Christians in China and the Middle East;
the growing trend of internet censorship.
The philosophical dilemma facing the United Nations, in addition to the positions of power held by governments that have no affinity with the democratic principles of the organization, is an adherence to a moral equivalence, in which the attainment of a consensus is more important than insuring that justice prevails. The reality is that while nations that openly or in practice oppose basic concepts of individual rights, representative government, and nonaggression continue to hold significant positions of power and influence, the United Nations will not be a viable avenue to achieve worthwhile goals.
The time has come for nations that do practice the principles of open government and individual rights and nonaggression towards other countries, to consider whether the basic format of the United Nations is a viable platform for the international community to meet and work together.
How rational is it to give repressive regimes a voice on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council? Russia’s Mikhail Lebedev and China’s Yishan Zhang are 2016 members of that body. The Express-Tribune recently reported that Edward Snowden (the former U.S. intelligence contractor who controversially released significant amounts of sensitive U.S. data and is now living in Russia) has sharply criticizing Moscow’s deteriorating human rights record. Despite that, there is no question of Moscow’s continued membership in the U.N. Security Council, giving it a veto in any important decision the world body makes.
The anti-semitic tendencies of the U.N. are also an important problem. Despite the fact that Israel adheres more firmly to the organization’s charter than any of its regional neighbors, it is the Jewish state that is the subject of the most intense criticism.
A general forum in which all parties can meet and present their viewpoints is good and necessary. However, decision making should be the sole province of those who have truly adopted the principles of human rights and peaceful resolutions. The United Nations must either be reformed or replaced with a more viable organization led by states that truly practice the principles its charter espouses.
Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-Chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government