The United Nation’s has just ruled that the continued detention of Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi legally violates the country’s own laws as well as those of the international community.
Of course, the legal opinion of the United Nations means very little to the military government of Myanmar. The sad reality is that Suu Kyi, has now spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest, with the ruling junta annually extending her detention despite years of intervention of the U.N.
The failure of the United Nations in Myanmar ( Burma) is just one more example of how ineffective the international organization is in solving global political issues. The repression of Burma and the injustice of Aung San Suu Kyi by the military government of Myanmar should be seen in an historical context.
In 1991, Burma held a democratic election and the opposition party to the military won eighty two percent of the vote. An articulate women with Burmese heritage by the name of Aung San Suu Kyi led the victorious opposition party. Stunned by their defeat, the military arrested everyone in the opposition party including Suu Kyi, voided the election and changed the name of the country to Myanmar.
Every year since the overthrow of that democratically elected government the response of the United Nations has been to issue Resolutions. Resolutions that have been ignored by the country’s ruling military junta. The truth is that the United Nations can surely produce an impressive pile of words on paper but it is historically lacking in the will and skill to produce a tangible political outcome that promotes basic human rights and justice.
As the years have gone by, the sad situation in Myanmar has continued to deteriorate, with the country becoming a helpless victim to the military junta. In 2005, former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel and South Africa’s retired Bishop Desmond M. Tutu, wrote a report on the dubious situation in the country for United Nations Security Council.
The report outlined in detail the myriad of problems in the country. It was a report that 14 years after the overthrow of legitimate democratic rule, indirectly highlighted the United Nations total failure in changing the political and human rights conditions in Myanmar.
The 2005 Havel/Tutu report was a complete indictment of the most brutal military dictatorship in the world today. The report described a country that was the world’s leading producer of heroin and was heavily involved in drug trafficking.
In addition, over 200,000 refugees had fled the country to escape the brutality of the military regime. There were no basic human rights, children’s rights, healthcare, education, political rights or free speech. Atrocities such as murder, rape, and forced labor were common. In addition, HIV aids was a major national problem and the country was the poorest in the world. That United Nations Report from 2005 could be written about the conditions in Myanmar today.
As the United Nations produces Resolutions, Reports, Diplomatic Missions and empty Sanctions, the years have certainly not been kind to the people of Myanmar. The injustice to the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi has now reached nearly two decades.
Just last week, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the United States as a “deadbeat” donor to the world body because it is perennially late paying its dues. However, since the United States pays 22 percent of the organization’s nearly billion operating budget, it is a major sponsor of this institution of political incompetence.
Indeed, spending nearly 5 billion dollars a year on an organization as historically corrupt and politically dysfunctional as the United Nations is not deadbeat but delusional. The stark reality is that the United Nations does not improve the human condition except as a agency of charity and disaster relief.
The United States should insist on real reform from the U.N. but to begin to reform anything the United Nations needs first to look back to the principles of its original Charter. A Charter that; “reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”.
The historic failure of the U.N. in Myanmar shows how far it has lost its way. The United States should withhold its annual dues until the U.N. Charter becomes its guiding force not the deadbeat document of empty words that it has become today.
James William Smith has worked in Senior management positions for some of the largest Financial Services firms in the United States for the last twenty five years. He has also provided business consulting support for insurance organizations and start up businesses. Visit his website at http://www.eWorldvu.com or his daily blog at http://www.eworldvublog.blogspot.com
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