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Essay on “Fifty Years Of The United Nations” Complete Essay for Class 9, Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Fifty Years Of The United Nations


Outlines : Fifty long years have gone by since the UN was set up in 1945, when the embers of history’s most disastrous World War II were still smouldering. As small wars still rage at some places in the world, and as the bluehelmeted peacekeepers fan out to help quench the flames of war and prevent further bloodletting and destruction, it is worthwhile to reflect on the five momentous decades that the United Nations has gone through and survived, braving the rough weather all through its existence.

As the bloody battles were still raging in different theatres of war in Europe and elsewhere, on August 14, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States, and Prime Minister Sir Winston Curchill of the United Kingdom, proposed a set of principles for international collaboration for maintaining peace and security in the world. The document signed during a meeting “somewhere at sea”, came to be known as the Atlantic Charter. A conference of as many as 26 nations fighting the Axis powers proclaimed their support for the Atlantic Charter by signing the “Declaration of United Nations” on January 1, 1942. Leaders from the U.S.A., the U.K., U.S.S.R. and China met again in Moscow and later in Teheran, calling for the setting up of the world body to maintain peace and security. The first blueprint of the UN was prepared at a conference held at a mansion known as Dumbarto Oaks in Washington, D.C., in 1944, when the representatives of the U.S.S.R., the U.K., the U.S.A. and China agreed on the aims, structure and functioning of a world organisation. This was followed by a meeting of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Josef Stalin of U.S.S.R., on February 11, 1945, at Yalta, where they declared their resolve to establish “a general international organisation to maintain peace and security”.

On April 25, 1945, delegates, of 50 nations met in San Francisco for what came to be known as the United Nations Conference on International Organisation. The delegates drew up the 111Article Charter, which was adopted unanimously on June 25, 1945. At long last, the United Nations came into being on October 24, 1945, when its Charter was ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council and the majority of other signatories.

One might argue, ad infinitum, in 1995—fifty years later—as to whether the UN has served its purpose or whether the World could have progressed without this body. If only one cared to look back over the tempestuous years—since 1945, one would realise the vast range—in fact, one could say the global dimensions—of the outreach of the world body, a phenomenon only an organisation like the UN could have done. What the detractors of the UN fail to realise is that before 1945, there was no such organisation that could reach every area of human activity. Here came into being the first world body that sought to provide peace and security in different parts of the world, with all the inherent risks to the life of the personnel deployed, with all the vulnerability to worldwide criticism of the sensitive decisions taken by the UN organs in different situations. Peace and security is only a part of the UN story; the organisation has made its presence felt almost everywhere—in the repatriation and relief of refugees, on issues of disarmament, the peaceful uses of atomic energy and outer space, and a wide range of subjects from health, education, childcare to the multidimensional problems of environment and population. The world has watched with abiding interest the unique roles played by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council over the years, on the slow, but steady, dismantling of the different Empires that saw the decolonisation process in large parts of Asia and Africa. The for a of the world body played no small role in sustaining the momentum against apartheid and other forms of a racial discrimination—an indisputable reality that has paved the way for the emergence of a South Africa where, at long last, the champions of racial equality have won the day.

The growth of the numerical strength of the membership of the UN, from a mere 50 in 1945 to 185 now, has been matched by the UN entering every area of human development and concern. Although debates at the UN have often tended to go along the lines of ideologies, EastWest blocs, NorthSouth divide, nonaligned and the rest, the lobbies of Africa, Asia, things have changed quite a lot after the dismemberment of U.S.S.R. and the end of the cold war. Whatever be the changes in the political and economic scenes, UN has not failed to perform the complex roles of both peacekeeping, and activities pertaining to development. Critics often argue that the UN can still, sometimes, defuse a crisis, separate combatants or set the stage for negotiations; it still cannot settle underlying disputes or enforce a solution. This contention is itself disputable since it is not always the mandated r of UN to find solutions to intractable crises; the very admission ole that UN is ca able of juxtaposing n warring groups itself between is in itself a great achievement. Even as early as January 24, 1946, the General Assembly adopted its first resolution : peaceful uses 9f atomic energy, and elimination of atomic and other weapons o mass destruction. Can we blame the UN that its resolution has not been carried out all these years,’ what with the five nuclear powers still possessing the capability to destroy the planet fifty times over? The strength of the world lies in the kind of follow up the member nations care to take up, once the international organisation gives the guideline. How could one possibly pick holes in the performance of UN when the member nations themselves fail to put into practice resolutions framed by themselves, on behalf of UN?

Throughout its history, the UN has often been called upon to prevent a dangerous situation from escalating into war, to persuade the adversaries to take recourse to the conference table, to dialogue and give and take, rather than the theatre of war, to settle problems. The UN always appeared on the scene with the olive branch—sending its peacekeeping forces, observers or fact-finding missions, good offices missions, mediators and special representatives. In many cases, the UN has provided the forum for debate and negotiation, and a channel for what used to be called in the 50s as ‘corridor diplomacy’ or quiet diplomacy. In fact, the UN Charter enjoins every memberstate to settle its dispute the peaceful way, without jeopardising world peace. One of the first test cases of the UN in maintaining peace, came from the Middle East, and the first ever UN observer mission was established in Palestine in June 1948, and after persistent negotiations and mediation, the UN, led by its envoy, Dr. Ralph Bunche, was able to secure ceasefire between the new state of Israel and Arab States. Beyond doubt, the ArabIsraeli dispute is as old as the UN itself, and is still going strong. The Palestine issue, alone, has been the cause of more resolutions in the Security Council and the General Assembly than any other item on their agenda. It was the Middle East again that hogged the headlines whey the first UN peacekeeping force was deployed—the UNEF (Unite  Nations Emergency Force). In 1956, AngloFrench Forces invaded Egypt when the latter nationalised the Suez Canal. An emergencl, session of the UN General Assembly called for a ceasefire and  withdrawal of AngloFrench forces from Egypt, under the super vision of UNEF, which were subsequently deployed on Egyptain  territory, with Egypt’s consent, to act as a buffer between Egyptain, and Israeli forces. It patrolled the EgyptIsraeli armistice  demarcation, and the international frontier south of the Gaza Strip ,and brought relative quiet to the area. The Suez Canal, blocked as a result of the conflict, was also cleared by the UN. The UNEF was withdrawn in May, 1967, at Egypt’s request. This first peat keeping mission was a resounding victory for the UN. Two major powers of the world—Britain and France—had to bow to the weight of world opinion voiced through the UN, and beat an ignominious retreat from “naked aggression”, as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru described the Anglo French misadventure in Egypt. With periodical conflicts erupting between different Arab States and Israel all through these five decades, the different bodies of the UN have always been at work to ease tension in one of the world’s most volatile areas—calling for a ceasefire, dispatching another UNEF, taking steps to ensure the rights of the Palestinian people, convening an International Peace Conference on the Middle East, or asking Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. Although the Middle East conflicts have engaged the attention of the UN much more than those of other regions, from the point of view of ensuring peace and security, there have been other equally sensitive areas where UN intervened, with varying degrees of success; these include Korea, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Central America, Congo, Cyprus, Iran and Iraq, IraqKuwait, Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, and quite recently Somalia and Bosnia.

Rising from the ruins of the Second World War and struggling through the endless bickerings of two major power blocs, finding a way out beyond the looming spectre of nuclear wars and the seemingly endless regional conflicts, the UN has today come into its own, not only seeking to defuse conflicts, but to help ensure conditions that d9 not lead to the germination of seeds of conflicts. Today peace and security are no longer seen in terms of absence of military confrontation and conflict. What about the “silent emergency” billions of people across the world are facing, day after day : the intractable problems of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, child neglect and disease, disability, discrimination against women, child labour, the growing dangers to the ecosystem, the unstoppable march of the population juggernaut—the endless issues posing threat to peace and stability—areas in which UN has, in fact, done far better than its original role of a firefighter of sorts. Before venturing into the endless territory trodden by the UN in areas as different as human. rights and GATT, it would only be proper to dwell, in brief, on the role played by India in strengthening the United Nations.

India and UN

Immediately, after Independence—just two years after UN came into being, India, just free from colonial rule, and its Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, were looked upon with great deference as the voice of the new emerging Asia. True to form and the rising expectations, India’s leaders led by Pandit Nehru, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit, the first woman President of the UN General Assembly, India’s Defence Minister, Mr. V.K. Krishna Menon, and others, led the rest of the emerging uncommitted nations in championing the cause of liberation of several colonies and countries held in trust through the fore of the General Assembly, Security Council and the Trusteeship Council. On the fiftieth anniversary of the UN, India can recollect, with pride, the mediatory and re-conciliatory role played by this country, in concert with the UN bodies and UN officials in resolving the Korean conflict and the Suez Canal crisis. Let us recall the services rendered by Maj. Gen. K.S. Thimayya (he later became the Chief of Army Staff), who played a key role in the peacekeeping operations in war torn Korea, the role of Mr. Rajehwar Dayal in Congo and that of Maj. General Satish Nambiar in the initial stages of the standoff between Croats and Serbs in the erstwhile Yugoslavia. UN records would throw light on the systematic crusade carried on by India in the areas of total disarmament, and the appeal for the destruction of all weapons of mass destruction.

It is not in the area of the maintenance of peace and security alone that India extended its hand of cooperation, but in vital issues concerning survival for the entire humanity. At the first ever UN Conference on Environment, held in Stockholm during the first week of June, 1972, the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, underscored the imperative of poverty eradication as one of the vital steps to the preservation of the ecological balance. More than two decades later, Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, the former Prime Minister, appealed to the world community at the Social Summit in Copenhagen, to do its best to extend all possible help to eliminate the running scourges of poverty, unemployment and social alienation in many parts of the world.

Incidentally, India is also grateful to the UN for the wide range of services rendered by organisations like WHO, ILO, FAO’ UNESCO and UNICEF in India.

It may not be possible to evaluate all the work done by the different organs and agencies of the UN in a short write-up; however, one might highlight the new orientation given by the world body in areas of child care and development, the emancipation of women, human rights, ecology, population, etc.

 By insistent prodding, UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) has impressed upon many countries to bring about relatively simple changes that help keep children in developing countries alive: immunisation, provision of vitamins and iodised salt, rehydration of those hit by diarrhoea. Diarrhoea still kills about three million children a year. Doctors, who push expensive antidiarrhoea) drugs, cannot be of help in emergencies; the rehydration popularised by UNICEF and WHO has come as a godsend to millions of children. From a merely five per cent in 1975, the UN organisations like UNICEF and WHO have been able to immunise more than 80 per cent of the world’s children against polio, tetanus, measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tuberculosis, through a campaign for universal immunisation. On November 20, 1989, the General Assembly celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, by adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child—the first ever international legal instrument which lays down guarantees for the rights of the child. The Rights of the Child talks one to one of the major achievements of the UN in the field of human rights, when in December, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each year, December 10 is observed as Human Rights Day.

Lingering Agony

International conflicts and civil strife leave, in their bloody trail, not only death and destruction, but lingering agony in the form of disabled, widows, orphans and refugees. The UN has been taking special care of the problem of refugees right from 1951, when the General Assembly set up the UNHCR—the UN High Commissioner for Refugees—to protect refugees and promote durable solutions to their problems. Imagine the stupendous number of refugees the UNHCR has helped or is still helping—a whopping 17 million! UNHCR seeks to ensure that refugees receive asylum and care, and are granted a favourable legal status in the country where they have sought sanctuary. For its sustained, devoted and humanitarian work

for the refugees uprooted from their native moorings, UNHCR was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1954 and in 1981.

Human life is possible only on one planet, and no wonder ecologists call it The Only Earth, voicing their concern that mankind can survive only when it stops the wanton desecration it causes to the ecosystem that supports all forms of life. Realising this in, disputable reality, the first ever UN sponsored conference on the environment, held in Stockholm in June, 1972, appealed to the world community and member nations to promote economic and technological development, without causing the least damage to the environment. This Conference stimulated systematic environmental awareness, the world over, not only by the media and NGOs, but by official agencies as well. Today, we in India, have our Ministry of Environment, Central and State Boards to monitor pollution of different sources, the Ganga Pollution Board, and hundreds of other official and nonofficial agencies spearheading ten campaign for a clear environment. India and the rest of the world owe to the UN for the massive nationwide awareness on ecological equilibrium. Not a day passes without reports on dams and ecology, river pollution, pollution of the air by auto exhaust fumes, global warming, holes in the ozone layer, extinction of one animal species after another, marine pollution by oil, etc. Let us say the UN has done it, Stockholm set the ball rolling and the UNCED (Earth Summit) meeting in Rio de Janeiro took up the old and new issues to make the planet safe for manfromman. “Population growth is now a juggernaut, with so much momentum that our only hope is to apply every effort and gradually bring it to a stop before it rolls over us all, flattening us into one teeming world of shortages and a universal rationed survivallevel existence.” A poignant scenario depicted by a demographer in the 60s. The situation has hardly changed for the better. In 1974, when the UN celebrated the year as the World Population Year and convened the first ever World Population Conference in Bucharest, the population clock was ticking as ominously as it is doing now 200,000 births everyday and six million more every month. That was the nightmare in 1974, and when the UN sponsored International Conference on Population and Development met in Cairo twenty years later, the human population had risen from 3.8 billion in 1974 to 5.67 billon in 1994.

The Un has been concerned with population right from 1947, when the Population Commission, now with 27 members, was set up, followed by the establishment of UNFPA in 1969, to promote awareness of population factors such as population growth, fertility, mortality, age structure, spatial distribution, migration, etc.

Can there be a more cruel paradox than the fact that women who form half of the world, perform about two thirds of its work, receive only one tenth of its income, and own “less than 1/100th of world assets”? Women continue to suffer atrocities of different kinds—rape in almost every country, and rape as a weapon to subjugate her in war ravaged region : female circumcision, dowry, and several other forms of physical cruelty. All these apart, there is a phenomenon called feminisation of poverty in the wake of growing technology, and the use of protective laws to further marginalise women. To safeguard the basic rights of women and promote the participation of women in the mainstream of the political, social, economic and cultural life of every country, the UN declared 1974 as the International Women’s Year, followed by the International Women’s Decade (1975 to 1984) climaxed by the World Meet on Women, in Nairobi, in 1985. The Fourth World Conference on Women is scheduled to be held in Beijing in coming September. The awareness generation and programmes for action, stimulated by the UN, on issues pertaining to women’s development, have led to the emergence of highly vocal pressure groups, NGOs, women’s departments, and programmes designed to mainstream women, media hype in favour of women and modification of laws eliminating discrimination against women, enabling them to join the mainstream as equal partners. The

Golden Jubilee

1995 marked the golden jubilee of two important events : the victory of the Allies in the Second World War, and the present leaders of those nations that won the war fifty years ago, celebrated the commemoration with characteristic gaiety and pride. But the victory for a few was the misery of millions. It is to wipe out the lingering agony of conflicts, and prevent the recurrence of global tragedies that the UN came into being 50 years ago—a golden jubilee, in celebrating which every nation and citizen could be proud of. Today, the UN is not only crusading for peace or trying to heal fractured peace, but has taken upon itself myriad other responsibilities of bringing about a better world order—a kind of dispensation that even the first signatories to the UN Charter would not have dreamt of. The benign gaze and the helping hand of UN now reach everywhere—a child pale with acute malnutrition and an AIDS victim, the mother in the primary health centre, an Afghan refugee in India, an endangered wild animal in Africa, the beleaguered civilians trapped in crossfire between internecine clashes somewhere in Africa.

What is the kind of future awaiting the UN beyond its golden jubilee? Politically, it is a unipolar world with the U.S.A. calling the shots; yet, in the post cold war era, new problems are emerging and new battles are raging with the breakup of nations once considered viable. The dangers of nuclear war are still very much on the horizon despite NPT, without any guarantees from the nuclear haves to agree, within a deadline, to destroy their stockpiles. There cannot be any durable peace anywhere in the world so long as hate, fear and suspicion rule human minds. Peace and security apart, UN has too many items on its agenda, as the world is struggling to grapple with the chronic ills of poverty, disease, unemployment, endangered ecosystem, population bomb and distributive injustice, to mention a few of the legacies from the past. As in the past and the present, the UN will continue to mould the shape of things to come.


India Seeks Permanent Membership Of Un Security Council

Outlines : Continuing to insist on the expansion of the United Nations Security Council, India presented a case for its inclusion as a permanent member of the Security Council at the 49th UN General Assembly session, held from Sept. ’94 to Jan. ’95. India also asked the assembly to enhance the Council’s transparency.

We are confident that India deserves to be a permanent member of the Council, judged against any set of criteria. We stand ready to serve in that capacity whenever we are called upon to do so,” said Minister of State in PMO, Bhuvnesh Chaturvedi, while addressing the U.N. General Assembly.

Mr. Chaturvedi said the population, size of the economy, contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security, and future potential, should be the criteria for the Council’s future expansion.

“The laws of the corporate world, where equity shares determine the voting power, should not apply to the Council. Nor should it emulate the brettonwoods institutions in which wealth determines the strength of votes,” he said.

Advising against any selective piecemeal expansion of permanent members category, Mr. Chaturvedi said “India’s basic approach is that the expansion should take place in the existing categories and on the basis of the present geographical groupings. The selection of countries should follow rather than precede the establishment of criteria,” he said.

“A radical reorganisation of the Council, with new categories of members or new geographical arrangements, will lead to more complications and retard the progress we have achieved so far….the time has come for us to work out an expansion package within the framework of the U.N. charter.” Further, India emphasised the need to devote equal attention to improve the Council’s working methods and transparency. A regular system of exchange between the Assembly and the Council, through an appropriate mechanism, is essential for reassuring the general membership about the accountability of the council to the Assembly.


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