22 September, 2020

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State Sovereignty And The United Nations Organization

By R.M.B Senanayake –

R.M.B Senanayake

The President in his Independence speech has stated that the UNO is violating the sovereignty of individual states. But the UNO has come a long way since the original Declaration in 1948 and his Advisers don’t seem to have briefed him on the present status of the UN. Then the emphasis was on preventing wars between States. The UNO is committed to maintaining peace between States. One of its earliest attempts was to have a UN mission to monitor the line of control frontier between the Arab States and Israel and in Kashmir between Indian and Pakistani Armies. But after the end of the Second World War most conflicts have been within individual States rather  than between States although the latter was not totally absent.

Next came the end of the cold war between the West and the Communist States . It has meant that the UN Security Council, a body earlier paralyzed by US and USSR vetoes, was able to make progress and intervene in aid of international peace and security in a way that had never been possible before. The 1990’s saw a host UN attempts to stop violent conflict within States.

There are two chapters of the UN Charter that deal with settlement of disputes that are likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. The first, Chapter VI, deals with pacific settlement, and also gives the Security Council the right to investigate and arbitrate, which are usually put in practice under observer missions, diplomatic envoys, and good offices (UN Charter). Chapter VII gives the Security Council the right to impose economic sanctions under Article 41 and the right to ―take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security‖ under Article 42 (UN Charter).

Obviously, diplomatic means are always the first employed by the United Nations, and Chapter VI takes precedent in all cases. This can range from preventive diplomacy, peacemaking or negotiating settlements, to post-conflict maintenance and continued negotiation. Peacekeeping goes a step beyond this with the deployment of troops. However, the presence of troops does not mean that the UN is using force. Peacekeepers have a wide range of mandates,

Early goals of peace keeping were limited to maintaining ceasefires and stabilizing violence in order to make diplomatic solutions more reachable, but as the Cold War ended, the range of activities and mandates for peacekeepers has expanded. Peacekeepers now help build government institutions, promote human rights, set up local police forces, and disarm former combatants (UN Peacekeeping) to protecting and building peace after a conflict. UN peacekeeping aims to adapt to each conflict in order to meet the challenges of each situation.

The widely publicized peacekeeping missions in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Somalia called into question the legitimacy and limitations of UN military interventions. This led to the concept of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), conceived in 2001 and formally accepted into UN vernacular at the 2005 World Summit.  The R2P asserts that if a state is manifestly failing to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures are not working, the international community has the responsibility to intervene: first diplomatically, then more coercively, and as a last resort with military force. States are bound by the UN Declarations on Human Rights and are required to abide by them and cannot plead State Sovereignty to shut out the UNO.

(With acknowledgments to “UN Intervention in Civil War and Post-Conflict Economic Recovery by Kelly Siegel)

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Latest comments

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    Thank you for enlightening those who are deaf and dumb.”IGNORANCE IS BLISS”

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    Sovereignity of a nation cannot mean the right of a government to violate the rights of ots own citizens. The dangers of such sovereignity are exemplified in Hitlers Germany, Bosnia-Hezogovenia, Rwanda etc. The govts calim to sovereignity cannot overide international standards for human rights and war crimes.

    Todays news item reported that Secretary of Defence saying that the security issue is of prime importance and other issues like human rights do not count. This is the result of ignorance and flawed thinking. Security does not mean the harrasssment of ordinary people or violation of human rights. Take a break SOD.

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    Surely, RMB. “President’s advisers don’t seem to have briefed him on the present status of the UN…” you say. How do you expect Sajin Vaas,
    the grinning Jaliya and Shavendra to learn and understand the history
    of the UN. It’s far too deep for these JSC-IQ level guys. The other
    “Monitor” of the Foreign Ministry was fell on a drug-traffickers war
    in the slums of Kolonnawa-Mulleriyawa. Men of the calibre of Jayantha
    Dhanapala are ignored because they are not the “Yes, Sir..No, Sir…
    2 bags full, Sir” types. The above lot will have difficulty in distinguishing between UNO, UNSG, UNSC, UNESCO, UNHRC not to mention what they are and where they are located.

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuvan

      When SL has friends like Pakistan and China how could these International Organisation harm clan’s wealth and power. Therefore UNO, UNSG, UNSC, UNESCO, UNHRC are irrelevant and SL has no need to learn and understand the history of UN.

      Are the Sri Lankans capable of learning anything at all?

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    Sri Lanka has been sending peacekeeping forces to some countries (including Haiti from where they were sent back for raping girls).
    What about the sovereignty of those countries? Has this President got any shame when he utters certain things?

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    MR is a master hypocrite. (On second thought, almost all politicians are like him and it is not fair to single him out for flak.) He says lots of things which he really does not mean, just for the public consumption. For a moment let us presume that he really thinks that the UN is violating our sovereignty, then why did he go to Geneva with Vasu in late eighties to seek UN intervention in what he would now describe as an internal matter? If he feels so strongly about our sovereignty, why did he issue a joint statement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon soon after the ending of the war making certain commitments ? ( He reneged on these commitments and that is why the UNHRC is breathing down his neck. That is another story)

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    Nirupam Sen former Indian ambassador to the UN spoke on this topic at the Lalith Athulathmudali oration.He criticized the Responsibility to protect by the UN. This oration was organised by Govt sychopants like Razik Zarook and Siri Fernando with the Chief Guest being the First Lady who never knew Lalith.He was probably telling them what they wanted to hear.

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    From the political platform the people of Sri Lanka are told that ‘the UNO is violating the sovereignty of individual states’. According to a posting in the Colombo Gazette the Sri Lanka Govt. is finding fault with the North Korean Govt. for violating UN Security Council decisions. Do the Sri Lanka politicians think that each and every one is an ignorant idiot to believe the politicians’ double tongue.

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