Help Wanted - How the Un Failed in Rwanda

Topics: United Nations, Rwandan Genocide, Genocide Pages: 6 (1945 words) Published: November 20, 2012
Help Wanted

World Politics - POLS*1500
Word Count - 1,562

This paper aims to questions the United Nations ability to create and maintain peace within a country. This paper will examine the extent of action that the UN commits when a nation encounters internal conflict. Looking at the Rwanda genocide, the paper concludes that the UN is inefficient at creating and building peace.

Help Wanted
During the twentieth century the world entered into a new sphere of international relations. New technology which led to military advancements evoked countries to act out wars that were unprecedented in past generations. When their was conflict between nations, it became easier to cause destruction towards the other nation because of new advanced technology, and therefore the brutality of war was far worse. After World War II, which many call the most horrific war of the century, 51 countries came together and formed the United Nations in 1945. This organization set standards for morality so that the world would not have to experience the same brutality that they had faced during World War II. It encouraged cooperation and peace between countries. Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. a former American ambassador once said that,“the primary, the fundamental, the essential purpose of the United Nations is to keep peace. Everything it does which helps prevent World War III is good. Everything which does not further that goal, either directly or indirectly, is at best superfluous.”1 The United Nations was an organization who’s principle was to create an international center of understanding and cooperation. Although this was a clear goal, this was a difficult task for the UN because it involved so many different states and actors. The Rwanda Genocide is an example of the United Nations inability to fulfill its goal. In the early 1990’s, the nation of Rwanda faced a ruthless internal conflict between two races, the Tutsis and the Hutus. Although these two races had the same religion, culture, and language, they saw themselves as different because of past colonial influences that had ensued this society for decades.2 Although mass killing were taking place in Rwanda, the UN did not intervene to the extent that was demanded. The United Nations’ unclear peacekeeping tactics, lack of resources, and unwillingness to use force during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide led to the murder of over 800, 000 Rwandans and evoked disgrace towards the organization that promised peace.

The unfolding events of the Rwanda Conflict had much to do with the hatred that Tutsis and Hutus felt for one another. It was viewed by many as a genocide, but the Security Council of the United Nations had much hesitation accepting that conclusion. In the Charter of the United Nations, it states in Chapter I, Article 2 that, “ nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state”3. The UN believed that within a nation, the government should control its sedentary conflicts and the organization should not intervene with such matters. However, promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is the UN’s main goal, and therefore the organization should intervene in internal conflicts if they believe these rights are being denied. This unclear practice caused the UN to make decisions about intervening in the Rwanda conflict for it depended on the basis opinions of the Security Council instead of decisions based on facts4. Because the definition of genocide could not be construed to an individual conflict, it was up to the Security Council and there underlying goals to come to a decision. As thousands of people were being murdered based on their race, the UN unclear peacekeeping regulations held the organization back from acting. This was also seen when Mr. Waly Bacre Ndiaye, a Amnesty international representative, reported to the UN...
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