United Nations


ins an area of separation there between Israeli and Syrian troops. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon, created in 1978, contributes to stability in southern Lebanon and provides protection to the population of the area. Hand in hand with its peace-keeping activities, the UN has made continuous efforts to find a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) set forth the principles for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and remain the basis for an overall settlement.

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The UN Secretary-General warmly welcomed, in September 1993, the exchange of letters of mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the signing by both sides of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements. A UN Special Coordinator oversees the development assistance provided by the UN system to the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.Other operationsIn early 1995, UN blue helmets were also present in many other troubled areas. UN missions were seeking to contribute to security and help achieve reconciliation in Rwanda (UNAMIR, established 1993), bring peace to Angola (UNAVEM, 1989), supervise a referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO, 1991) and promote a return to normal conditions in Cyprus (UNFICYP, 1964).

Military observers were in place in Tajikistan (UNMOT, established 1994), in Liberia (UNOMIL, 1993), in Georgia (UNOMIG, 1993), at the Iraq-Kuwait border (UNIKOM, 1991), and in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, at the cease-fire line between India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP, 1949).The Secretary-General’s roleThe Secretary-General plays a central role in peacemaking, both personally and by appointing Special Representatives or teams for specific goals, such as negotiation or fact- finding. He may also bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which appears to threaten international peace and security.The Secretary- General wasinstrumental in averting a threat to peace during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, in securing through his Special Representative the 1965 cease-fire in the Dominican Republic and in proposing, with the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity, the 1988 peace plan for Western Sahara, which led to a cease-fire there in 1991.

DisarmamentHalting the arms race and reducing and eventually eliminating all weapons of war are major concerns of the UN. The UN has been a permanent forum for holding disarmament negotiations, making recommendations and initiating studies. Negotiations have been held bilaterally and through international bodies such as the Conference on Disarmament, which meets regularly in Geneva. Under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), ratified by over 170 countries, nuclear-weapon States agree not to provide nuclear weapons to other countries and to pursue nuclear disarmament; non-nuclear weapon States agree not to develop or obtain nuclear weapons. Concluded under UN auspices, the Treaty came into force in 1970.A major step in advancing non-proliferation was taken in 1995, when a Review Conference extended the Treaty indefinitely.

Other treaties have been concluded to ban nuclear-weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water (1963); ban nuclear weapons from outer space (1967), the sea-bed and ocean floor (1971); prohibit the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological weapons (1972) and of chemical weapons (1992); reduce conventional armed forces in Europe (1990); and ban or restrict other classes of weapons.—————————————— ————————————–WHAT THE UN DOES FOR JUSTICE . . .

The Charter goals of justice and equal rights, for individuals and for peoples, have been pursued by the UN from its early days. As one of its first tasks, the UN formulated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a historic proclamation of the basic rights and freedoms to which all men and women are entitled the right to life, liberty and nationality, to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to work, to be educated, to take part in government, and many other rights.The Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948, a date commemorated every year as Human Rights Day.

Two International Covenants one on economic, social and cultural rights and the other on civil and political rights which expand and make legally binding the rights set forth in the Declaration came into force in 1976.These three documents constitute the International Bill of Human Rights, a standard and a goal for all countries and peoples. Many other international conventions have been concluded under UN auspices on women’s rights, racial discrimination, the rights of children and many other human rights.

The UN Commission on Human Rights is the only intergovernmental body that conducts public meetings on violations of human rights wherever they occur in the world. It reviews the human rights performance of countries and receives complaints about violations. Special Rapporteurs of the Commission monitor the human rights situation in specific countries.The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, first appointed in 1994, coordinates the human rights activities of the UN system, dispatches fact-finding missions and investigates violations.UN operations are currently monitoring the human rights situation in Haiti and Guatemala. A similar operation was in place in El Salvador from 1991 to 1995.Self-determination and independenceOne of the most important rights self-determination, or the right of peoples to govern themselves was a goal when the Charter was signed.

Today it has become a reality in most of the lands formerly under colonial rule. In 1960, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, in which it proclaimed the necessity of bringing colonialism to a speedy end. Since then, some 60 former colonial Territories, inhabited by more than 80 million people, have attained independence and joined the UN as sovereign Members. Now, as the UN celebrates its Fiftieth Anniversary, only 17 Non-Self- Governing Territories remain. The Assembly has set the goal of ending colonialism by the year 2000, declaring the period 1990-2000 as the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.

Namibia’s independenceThe UN helped bring about the independence of Namibia.It assumed direct responsibility for Namibia in 1966, when the General Assembly revoked South Africa’s Mandate to administer the Territory a decision South Africa rejected. Complex negotiations led in 1989 to the implementation of the 1978 UN plan for the independence of Namibia. The UN Transition Assistance Group was deployed throughout Namibia to monitor the withdrawal of South African troops and the registration of some 700,000 voters, as well as the elections, held in November 1989. The elections led to the installation of the first independent Government, and to Namibia’s independence in 1990.

Election monitoringAt Government request, the UN also dispatched electoral observers to monitor elections in Nicaragua (1990), Haiti (1990), Angola (1992), El Salvador, South Africa and Mozambique (1994). The observers monitored the preparation and holding of the elections.On election day, they visited polling stations throughout the country and monitored vote counting, and could thus certify that the elections had been free and fair.

UN observers also monitored the 1993 referendum in Eritrea. In addition, since 1992 the UN has provided technical assistance in the preparation and holding of elections to more than 40 countries.ApartheidFor more than three decades, the UN carried out a sustained campaign against South Africa’s apartheid (racial segregation) system, denounced by the General Assembly as a crime against humanity. The campaign, which ranged from an arms embargo to a convention against segregated sports events, was an important factor in bringing about a democratically elected Government, realized in April 1994 with elections in which, for the first time, all South Africans could vote.

The UN Observer Mission in South Africa assisted in the transition and observed the election.With the installation of a non-racial and democratic Government in May 1994, the apartheid system came to an end.International lawThe UN has made major contributions towards expanding the rule of law among nations through its codification and development of international law. The International Court of Justice assists countries in solving legal disputes, and has issued important advisory opinions on UN activities. The International Law Commission works to further the development of international law. The UN has initiated hundreds of international conventions and treaties, ranging from agreements governing diplomatic relations and international trade to those to protect the environment. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is the main legal instrument to further women’s equality.

The Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is the key international treaty against drug trafficking.The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea seeks to ensure equitable access by all countries to the riches of the oceans, protect them from pollution and facilitate freedom of navigation and research.—————————————– —————————————WHAT THE UN DOES FOR DEVELOPMENTLasting world peace requires social and economic development for all.

This link is recognized by the Charter, which assigns to the UN, as one of its main functions, the promotion of higher standards of living, full employment and economic and social progress. Thus a major part of UN work measured in terms of budget and personnel involved goes into numerous programmes aimed at achieving a better life for all people of the world. Three fourths of the world’s people live in developing countries, and 1.3 billion are living in abject poverty.

While the world’s 23 richest countries taken together have a per capita income of $22,160, the 40 poorest countries have a per capita income of $390 a ratio of 56 to 1.The General Assembly has stressed the need to reshape international economic relations so developing countries can take their just place in the world economy.In a series of ten-year International Development Strategies adopted since 1961, the Assembly has recommended measures to coordinate the efforts of Governments and international organizations to reduce the gap between rich and poor countries. The Assembly is now elaborating a blueprint for action to promote international cooperation for development, on the basis of the 1994 report of the Secretary-General, An Agenda for Development.

A round of world conferences seeks to promote practical ways of solving global problems, by focusing on Environment and Development (1992), Population and Development (1994), Social Development (1995), the Advancement of Women (1995), and Human Settlements (1996).Assistance to developmentIn the forefront of efforts to bring about social and economic progress is the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The UN’s largest provider of grants for technical assistance, and the chief coordinator of UN development cooperation, UNDP focuses its programmes on eliminating poverty, creating employment, advancing women’s status and protecting the environment. With an annual budget of about $1 billion, it works in 175 developing countries and territories. In addition, UNDP-financed activities stimulate some $9 billion a year in follow-up investment from public and private sources.

UNDP receives voluntary contributions from nearly every Government in the world.Recipient Governments pay over half the costs involved in the projects. The poorest countries receive 87 per cent of UNDP resources.Among the many other programmes working for development is the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), currently carrying out assistance projects in 138 countries. Major areas of activity are immunization, primary health care, nutrition and basic education.

Total expenditures in 1994 amounted to an estimated $972 million. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) works to encourage and coordinate sound environmental practices everywhere.It supports environmental projects, raises environmental awareness and promotes major environmental treaties. Many other UN bodies are at work to foster development: among them are the World Food Programme, the UN Population Fund, the UN Centre for Human Settlements and the UN Conference on Trade and Development.Humanitarian assistanceWhen countries are stricken by war, famine or natural disaster, the UN helps provide humanitarian aid. Part of this aid is in the form of direct assistance from the UN and its agencies, such as the World Food Programme and UNICEF. In 1994, the UN raised $1.9 billion for humanitarian assistance operations.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides international protection and material assistance (food, shelter, medical aid, education) to the world’s 23 million refugees, at the same time seeking durable solutions to their plight.All UN emergency assistance is coordinated by the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, who heads the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs.The specialized agenciesFourteen specialized agencies work for development and international cooperation in their areas of expertise:International Labour Organization (ILO) Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Health Organization (WHO) World Bank International Monetary Fund (IMF) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Universal Postal Union (UPU) International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Meteorological Organization (WMO) International Maritime Organization (IMO) World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Although not a specialized agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an autonomous intergovernmental organization under the aegis of the UN.

The UN and its specialized agencies make up the UN system of organizations. For further information about the UN, please contact: Public Inquiries UN Secretariat Room GA-58 New York, NY 10017 USAor the Information Centre in your country.—————————————— ————————————– Music Essays.