United Nations

United Nations
1. an international organization, with headquarters in New York City, formed to promote international peace, security, and cooperation under the terms of the charter signed by 51 founding countries in San Francisco in 1945. Abbr.: UN Cf. General Assembly, Security Council.
2. the nations that signed the joint declaration in Washington, D.C., January 2, 1942, pledging to employ full resources against the Axis powers, not to make a separate peace, etc.

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▪ 2009

      The United Nations in 2008 celebrated both its 60th year of peacekeeping and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The year also witnessed the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, a worsening global food crisis, and concerns that climate change could perhaps offer the greatest long-term challenge for international cooperation.

Financial Crisis.
      The global credit crisis, which began in 2007, threatened to destabilize many countries and bring financial devastation to countless millions of people. The IMF in October 2008 launched an emergency lending program to help large emerging market economies deal with the crisis. Under the program, countries with sustainable debt and a record of sound financial policy were allowed to borrow up to five times their financial contribution to the IMF with few conditions attached. At year's end the situation was still uncertain, with most major economies struggling to contain the fallout. (See Special Report (Financial Crisis of 2008 ).)

      The already-severe world food crisis, spurred by a decline in agricultural production and an associated rise in food prices, was exacerbated by the financial crisis as many governments moved to protect their food supplies. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that 36 countries were in need of emergency assistance and that a disaster was looming unless countries made food security a top priority. During 2008, 40 million additional persons were forced into hunger, bringing the total of the world's hungry to about one billion. In mid-December 2008 the FAO reported that it needed $5.2 billion urgently to feed 100 million people in severe crisis. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported to the General Assembly that the food crisis was expected to drive another 100 million persons into poverty. (See Special Report (Skyrocketing Food Prices: A Global Crisis ).)

Peacekeeping and Security.
      During 2008 the UN fielded 18 peacekeeping missions utilizing more than 112,000 troops, police, and civilians, with a total budget of more than $7 billion. These operations ranged from providing support to political processes in places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Haiti, and Lebanon to supplying comprehensive support to efforts to demilitarize conflict areas and reestablish judicial, police, security, and good governance capabilities in war-torn areas. There were 12 ongoing UN political peace-building operations, notably the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), with nearly 1,300 personnel, and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, with an authorized strength of 1,014. Troops and other personnel were contributed by 117 member countries. By far the largest contributors were Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, followed by Nigeria.

      The UN mission in the DRC was the largest, with 17,000 peacekeepers, but it proved insufficient in the face of growing violence along the border with Rwanda, where Tutsi and Hutu rebels battled each other. By mid-November 2008 the number of refugees in the DRC had grown to more than one million in the face of increased violence. Adding to the tense situation in the strife-ridden country, elements of Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), hiding in the huge Garamba National Park, launched raids on villages near there and in neighbouring Central African Republic ( CAR) and The Sudan. A special summit, held in Nairobi in early November, was attended by the leaders of Burundi, the Republic of the Congo, the DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as Ban Ki-moon. The summit produced what was termed a multipronged agreement calling for a cease-fire and a commitment to send African Union (AU) peacekeepers to the front lines if UN peacekeepers could not protect civilians.

      The Security Council in July 2007 approved UNAMID, a joint AU-UN operation in the Darfur region of The Sudan with the core mandate of protecting civilians. Although the mission began formal operation on Dec. 31, 2007, deployment was hampered by political problems with the Sudanese government and by shortfalls in contributions of troops, police, transport and aviation assets, and logistic support. When fully deployed, UNAMID would be the largest peacekeeping operation in history and would have nearly 20,000 troops, 6,000 police, and a significant civilian component.

       Somalia remained high on the list of international security concerns, with increased piracy off the Somali coast adding to the deteriorating situation in the failed state. On Dec. 16, 2008, the UN Security Council passed a resolution urging countries and regional organizations with the capacity to deploy naval ships and aircraft to thwart further piracy. It authorized countries to “take all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia” to suppress acts of piracy. The secretary-general urged the Council to consider the problem in the context of building comprehensive peace and restoring stable governance to Somalia.

      The UN Peacebuilding Commission expanded its work to include Guinea-Bissau and the CAR in addition to its ongoing efforts in Burundi and Sierra Leone. In the latter two cases, the commission assisted in electoral processes and facilitated multistakeholder dialogue. Forty-five member countries pledged $267 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.

      In regard to nuclear proliferation, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in October that the theft of nuclear materials was disturbingly high, with nearly 250 cases reported in the year ended in June 2008. In September the IAEA revealed that Iran was failing to cooperate with its investigators and was continuing industrial uranium enrichment in defiance of Security Council resolutions.

      The terrorist attack in Mumbai (Bombay) in late November reminded the world that terrorism remained a major global issue. (See Special Report (Terror in Mumbai ).) This latest major attack came just months after the European Court of Justice had declared that the UN's blacklist of suspected financiers of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups lacked accountability and due process and violated the fundamental human rights of the suspects, in part because suspects had no ability to challenge being included on the list. In the U.S. the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including Republican presidential candidate John McCain, released a report that accused former U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld of being responsible for war crimes and abuses committed by U.S. forces at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the Guantánamo Detention Facility in Cuba, and other military detention centres. On October 7 a U.S. judge ordered the release from the Guantánamo Bay military prison of 17 Chinese Uighur Muslims who had been held for more than seven years without having been charged with a crime. In a sharp break with Pres. George W. Bush's administration, President-elect Barack Obama pledged during his first major interview following the election to close the Guantánamo Bay facility and ban torture by the U.S. military.

Humanitarian Affairs.
      On the humanitarian front, the UN was engaged in a number of locations, Darfur, with nearly 15,000 aid workers assisting more than four million people, being the largest. As 2008 dawned, there were 11.4 million refugees, and the number was rising. At the same time, there were 26 million internally displaced persons. In response to the massive destruction caused by the magnitude-7.9 earthquake in Sichuan, China, in May, UN agencies initiated the China Appeal for Early Recovery Support. This effort to raise $33.5 million was the first step in providing assistance to the earthquake victims. The quake killed at least 69,000 people, injured hundreds of thousands of others, and left millions of people homeless. (See Sidebar (A Major Earthquake Shakes China's Sichuan Province ).)

      In Uganda's two-decade-long war with rebel forces, nearly two million persons were forced by the Ugandan army (UPDF) from their homes into what were in essence poorly defended concentration camps. The LRA was accused of having abducted more than 60,000 people, many if not most of them children, and forcing tens of thousands to join Kony's army. The list of crimes included rape, murder, mutilation, and sexual slavery. The Ugandan military forces, on the other hand, also had been accused by human rights organizations of murder, rape, torture, and, especially, forced displacement. The Ugandan government in 2003 asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct an investigation of alleged atrocities committed by the LRA (but not government forces). The ICC responded in 2005 by unsealing indictments against Kony and four other LRA leaders for crimes against humanity and war crimes, but the task of carrying out the arrest warrants proved futile. In mid-November 2008 the ICC announced that it was reviewing the LRA case in light of the Uganda government–LRA peace talks that began in 2006.

Human Rights.
      The UN Human Rights Council, still in its infancy in 2008, initiated a Universal Periodic Review of countries' performances in satisfying their human rights commitments. In doing so, the council examined the records of 48 member countries.

      In July the chief ICC prosecutor charged Sudanese Pres. Omar al-Bashir (Bashir, Omar Hassan Ahmad al- ) with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur and asked the court to issue an arrest warrant against him. In December the judges were still considering the case. The case was similar to the LRA case in Uganda, since a main issue in both cases was the impact that ICC indictments might have on ongoing peace negotiations. In the Bashir case there was also concern regarding the impact on the ability to continue UN peace missions in Darfur and southern Sudan.

      The financial crisis in 2008 posed a threat to the future of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) process as donor governments scrambled to deal with domestic financial problems. The most progress was made toward achieving the target set for MDG 2: to ensure that by 2015, children everywhere (boys and girls alike) would be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. Improving maternal health, MDG 5, lagged the most behind schedule. More than 1.2 billion people still lived in extreme poverty, and their plight was worsening as a result of the food and financial crises. Nearly a billion people did not have access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion did not have adequate sanitation facilities. Urban poverty was on the rise, and UN Habitat announced in October that the number of urban slum dwellers had for the first time surpassed one billion.

      The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that polio infections had more than doubled in the four countries—Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan—where it was endemic and had spread to 10 additional countries. Global progress in containing avian (H5N1) flu continued, although it was still pandemic in poultry in parts of Asia, and 36 human cases and 28 deaths were reported in Indonesia in 2008. In October the UN and the World Bank warned that a global avian flu pandemic was still a threat.

      More than 3.3 billion people were considered at risk of contracting malaria, which was endemic in 109 countries; more than a million deaths annually, primarily of children under the age of five, were due to malaria. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced a $2.75 billion initiative of new funding over the next two years, with 90% of the funds to go to low-income countries. More than half would be spent on fighting malaria, with 38% and 11% devoted to AIDS and tuberculosis programs, respectively. In November the Global Fund froze its aid to Zimbabwe after discovering that the country's central bank had stolen £4.5 million (about $7.3 million) that had been intended to train 50,000 people and purchase drugs for a national antimalaria campaign.

       UNAIDS decided not to publish a new “AIDS Epidemic Update” in 2008. Nonetheless, it reported that in 2008 the global AIDS pandemic had stabilized in terms of the percentage of people living with AIDS, even though the overall number continued to increase as a result of new infections and increased life expectancy resulting from broader availability of antiretroviral therapy. In 2007 an estimated 33 million people worldwide were HIV infected. Two-thirds of these individuals lived in sub-Saharan Africa, which also accounted for more than three-fourths of all AIDS deaths and nearly 90% of all children living with HIV. Globally, the number of children under the age of 15 living with HIV had increased since 2001, but the rate of new infections among children had declined, with an estimated 370,000 new infections in 2007. On a positive note, the AIDS epidemics in most sub-Saharan African countries had stabilized or were in decline. In October the new South African minister of health publicly pronounced that HIV causes AIDS and pledged that her country would now, after years of failed policies, do everything needed to rectify the situation and deal effectively with the pandemic.

      A UN Climate Change Conference was held in Poznan, Pol., during Dec. 1–12, 2008. The meeting, which involved a ministerial-level session on a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, represented another step in the negotiations toward strengthening international action on climate change—the so-called Bali Road Map process. While agreement on most major issues remained elusive, progress was made in several technical areas, including adaptation, finance, technology, deforestation and forest degradation emission reduction, and disaster management. Conferees agreed to move into full negotiating mode in 2009, with four major international conferences planned for the year. The aim was to conclude a final agreement at the Copenhagen meeting in December 2009 for a new treaty on climate change that would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which was due to expire in 2012.

Administration and Reform.
      The secretary-general continued the restructuring initiative of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) that he began in 2007. The reform initiative included the establishment of a Department of Field Support, an Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions, and Integrated Operational Teams. The DPKO finalized a number of strategic doctrine documents, including the “capstone” doctrine of the “United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Principles and Guidelines.”

Roger A. Coate

▪ 2008

      During 2007 the upsurge in UN peace and security operations continued to break all-time levels, with Darfur province in The Sudan leading the list of major humanitarian crises. Efforts to halt nuclear weapons proliferation met with mixed success. Progress on attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was not on target, but the fight against HIV/AIDS showed signs of improvement. The United Nations began the year with a new secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who faced unprecedented financial woes and challenges on many fronts.

Peacekeeping and Security.
 In November 2007 the United Nations was engaged in 18 peacekeeping operations and 13 additional peace-related field missions and offices, with well over 100,000 personnel in the field. The total was expected to exceed 140,000 when previously authorized missions were fully deployed. A total of 119 UN member states were contributing uniformed personnel to these operations, with Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India leading the list.

      In late July 2006 the government of Iraq and the United Nations, with the support of the World Bank, launched the five-year International Compact with Iraq. This agreement committed the UN to assisting Iraq in rebuilding a stable and prosperous postwar polity. The UN found itself in an extremely difficult position, however. The U.S., as one of the UN's major member states and a permanent member of the Security Council, closely guarded its prerogatives as the main arbiter of conditions in the region. By the end of 2007, the International Compact was largely illusory as Iraq remained mired in violence and instability.

      The Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, driven from Afghanistan half a decade earlier, had returned and had been gathering strength since late 2006. Afghanistan's illegal opium trade was more active than ever before during 2007 and provided important financing for the Taliban resurgence, while NATO and Afghanistan's feeble central government did little to halt it. More than five million Afghan refugees had returned since 2002, yet another three million remained in Iran and Pakistan.

      On July 31, 2007, the Security Council authorized the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The main purpose of UNAMID was to support the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement and to protect civilians and humanitarian relief workers. When fully deployed, the mission would consist of up to 19,555 troops, 6,432 police, and more than 5,000 civilian personnel. The one-year approved budget to June 30, 2008, was $1.48 billion.

      While Darfur occupied centre stage on the Security Council's African agenda, the ongoing conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea persisted as a major concern, and in November the UN Security Council urged leaders in those two countries to settle their decadelong conflict peacefully. Somalia again erupted in violence in 2007, and between February and December more than 600,000 people fled from strife-ridden Mogadishu, bringing the total displaced population in the country to more than 1,000,000. On a more positive note, the UN Integrated Office in Burundi, which was established in late 2006 to support the September 2006 Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement between the Burundi government and the rebel National Liberation Forces, helped to facilitate the formation in November 2007 of a new government in Bujumbura.

      In September the Security Council, in cooperation with the European Union, created a new multidimensional “presence” in Chad and the Central African Republic, designed to create the conditions necessary for reestablishing security and peace. The new presence included the creation of a small peace mission, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). The maximum authorized strength of MINURCAT was 300 police and 50 military liaison officers, along with civilian personnel, but initially it consisted of only three military observers.

Nuclear Proliferation.
      In mid-November 2007 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran's nuclear program was moving forward and that it had missed a crucial reporting deadline. Although Iran had made new disclosures about its nuclear program, the information it provided to the IAEA was incomplete. The report stated that Iran had ignored the Security Council's demand that it stop enriching uranium and that the country had increased centrifuge production 10-fold during the previous year. With some 3,000 centrifuges in operation, this would give Iran the capacity to produce enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon within 12–18 months. The report also said, however, that the centrifuges were operating well below their capacity and that there was no evidence that Iran was enriching bomb-grade uranium.

      After years of tension, a major breakthrough was made in October 2007 regarding North Korea's nuclear program. The country agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program, disable its three production facilities, hand over details of its nuclear program by December 31, and return to the IAEA and the nuclear nonproliferation treaty at an early date. In exchange, North Korea was to receive 250,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, and the United States and Japan agreed to take steps toward normalization of diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

      The Millennium Development Goals continued to serve as the main focal point for the UN system's development activities. The year 2007 marked the midpoint of the MDG process, which was targeted to conclude in 2015, and so far the results were mixed. On the one hand, many countries were achieving rapid poverty reduction, and globally extreme poverty was declining to below the one billion mark. At the same time, however, the world was not on target for achieving the MDGs, and the world's poorest peoples remained mired in squalor.

      The World Bank's Africa Development Indicators 2007 reported that fundamental change was occurring in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Many African countries were demonstrating sustained growth rates, but such growth was very uneven. Large oil-exporting countries accounted for more than 60% of total net foreign direct investment in the region. Those countries with expanding and diversified economies were also moving ahead. Nigeria and South Africa accounted for more than half of all gross domestic product in the region. Countries being left behind were generally those with few natural resources and little to trade or those that were prone to internal conflict.

      The eighth identified goal (known as MDG 8) focused on building a global partnership for development, with three primary targets: trade, aid, and debt. MDG 8 called for the further development of an open rule-based, predictable, and nondiscriminatory trading and financial system. The World Trade Organization's latest series of trade negotiations—the Doha round—continued its on-again, off-again character. After having made some progress in getting countries to commit to eliminate tariffs and quotas on most imports from less-developed countries, talks had stalled in 2006 over reducing agricultural subsidies, tariffs, and industrial market access. Negotiations resumed in June 2007 but again broke down when the so-called Group of Four—the U.S., the EU, India, and Brazil—were unable to find common ground for agreement.

      After several years of increases, official development assistance fell in 2006 by 5.1% to $103.9 billion. Only five donor countries— Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden—had reached the 0.7% of gross national income target consensually agreed to by participants at the 2002 Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development. On the other hand, debt relief for the world's poorest countries moved ahead. As of October 2007, 41 countries were involved in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) process and were eligible or potentially eligible for $68 billion in debt relief, and 22 had reached the so-called HIPC “completion point” making debt relief irrevocable. Ten additional countries were receiving some relief under HIPC, and another nine were potentially eligible for such relief.

Climate Change.
      The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 issued its fourth assessment report, which concluded that irrefutable scientific evidence showed that climate change was occurring and that there was high certainty that the cause was human. (See Special Report (Climate Change-The Global Effects ).) The secretary-general and other world leaders inside and outside the UN increased pressure on the United States and other countries to move beyond denying the problem of global climate change and join in finding solutions. In October the IPCC and former U.S. vice president Al Gore were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for their “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” (See Nobel Prizes .)

       HIV continued to be the world's most serious infectious disease. The 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update, using significantly revised and improved epidemiological data and analyses, reported that the percentage of people newly infected with HIV had been leveling off, even though the total number of persons living with HIV continued to increase. In December 2007, 33.2 million people were living with HIV; 2.5 million were newly infected during the year, and 2.1 million died of AIDS-related causes. The new methodology, when applied to 2006 data, reduced the previous estimate of 39.5 million people living with HIV in 2006 by 16% to 32.7 million. The new UNAIDS epidemiological methodologies indicated that global HIV prevalence peaked in the late 1990s, and the total number of persons dying from AIDS-related illnesses had declined in the past two years. Sub-Saharan Africa remained the most severely affected region, with 68% of the global total, but even there a significant reduction in new infections had occurred since 2001. Eight countries in that region accounted for one-third of the new cases.

Humanitarian Affairs.
      The cooperative response to the crisis in Darfur was the largest relief effort in the world. More than 12,000 humanitarian assistance workers from 13 UN agencies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and more than 80 nongovernmental organizations were engaged in delivering more than $650 million in aid. Unfortunately, as 2007 drew to a close, the security situation in the region continued to decline, and humanitarian workers were targets of violence and abduction.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush in 2007 reiterated his position that the United States would not seek a seat on the Human Rights Council, created by the General Assembly in 2006 to replace the Commission on Human Rights. The human rights situation in Myanmar (Burma) had reached the point by the fall of 2007 that it became a major focus of international attention both within and outside the UN.

      The total number of refugees and other persons of concern to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) rose dramatically in 2006 from 21 million at the beginning of the year to 32.9 million at year's end. Although part of the increase resulted from changes in the way that UNHCR statistics were reported, most of the 56% increase reflected increases in the real numbers of cases. The most dramatic change occurred in regard to internally displaced persons (IDPs). For the first time, the number of IDPs surpassed the number of refugees under the UNHCR's watch, doubling in 2006 from 6.6 million to 12.8 million. An estimated 40,000–50,000 Iraqis were fleeing their homes every month, and it was calculated that by the end of 2007 approximately 2.3 million persons would be internally displaced within Iraq. Other IDPs were concentrated in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, East Timor (Timor-Leste), and Uganda.

      The number of refugees rose for the first time since 2002, to a total of 9.9 million. Most of this 14% increase resulted from 1.2 million Iraqis who fled their war-torn country for refuge in Syria and Jordan. Afghanistan continued to lead the list of country of origin for most refugees, with 2.1 million refugees dispersed across 71 countries. Iraq was second with 1.5 million refugees, the number of refugees from Iraq having increased more than fivefold in 2006. Pakistan and Iran led the list of refugee-hosting countries, followed by the U.S., Syria, Germany, Jordan, and Tanzania. South Africa became the main destination for those newly seeking asylum in 2006, followed closely by the U.S. The number of stateless persons more than doubled in 2006 to 5.8 million.

Administration and Finance.
      On Jan. 1, 2007, Ban, formerly South Korea's minister of foreign affairs, succeeded Kofi Annan as UN secretary-general. The administration and financial issues confronting Ban were daunting. During the year, the combined total UN budget—regular budget, peacekeeping, tribunals, and capital master plan—increased from $5.6 billion to $9.2 billion, but nonpayment and underpayment of dues plagued the organization and endangered the UN's financial health. As of October 31, some $836 million in assessed dues to the regular budget and $3.5 billion of assessments for peacekeeping remained unpaid. The vast majority of countries that were in arrears were financially unable to pay. On the other hand, the vast majority of unpaid money was owed by the U.S., which could easily pay its legally binding dues. The U.S. accounted for 94% of arrears to the regular budget and 39.8% of arrears for peacekeeping. At the end of October, the UN was unable to pay $731 million to member states that had provided troops and equipment for peacekeeping operations that the U.S. had voted to authorize.

      In June the General Assembly approved the secretary-general's plan for restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations—“Peace Operations 2010.” The new Department of Field Support, headed by an undersecretary-general for field support, was given the mandate to provide “responsive expertise” in areas of personnel, finance and budget, communications, information technology, and logistics.

      The Peacebuilding Commission concluded its first full year of operations in December. Postconflict peacebuilding in Burundi and Sierra Leone was high on the commission's agenda, with special priority given to good governance, democracy consolidation, rule of law, security-sector reform, and job creation. Each of these countries was eligible to receive $35 million from the Peacebuilding Fund to support these activities.

Roger A. Coate

▪ 2007

      As 2006 drew to a close, the United Nations was experiencing an unprecedented surge in its peace and security operations. In October UN peacekeeping deployment reached an all-time high. Nearly 100,000 military, police, and civilian personnel, drawn from 112 countries, engaged in 18 different operations around the world. Concern about overstretching the force echoed at UN headquarters in New York City. Projections—based on already-established Security Council authorizations—placed the number of peacekeepers needed by the end of 2007 at close to 140,000, and a budget of nearly $7 billion would be needed to support them.

      Terrorism continued to occupy an important place on the global agenda. On September 8, UN member states adopted a United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which included a resolution and associated Plan of Action that specified a number of measures to be taken to address the conditions that give rise to the spread of terrorism, to prevent and combat terrorism, to assist countries in building and strengthening their capacities in this regard, and to ensure respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism. While limited in its scope, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy represented the first time that all member states had agreed to a common strategic approach.

      In Afghanistan the Taliban insurgency continued to pose a major security concern during 2006. Although progress had been made in stabilizing the government in Kabul—with a popularly elected president, parliament, and Supreme Court in place—the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) found itself plagued by terrorist attacks and high-level corruption fueled by a flourishing illicit-drug trade. Not only did opium production and drug trafficking persist—90% of the world's illegal supply was produced there—but production had increased by 50%. In this context the Security Council extended the mandate of the ISAF through October 2007. In late November 2006 the UN General Assembly gave its support to the Afghanistan Compact, a five-year reconstruction plan that had been launched in January at the International Conference on Afghanistan. The plan provided a blueprint for assistance in the stabilization and development of the political and economic situation in the country, extending to the areas of human rights, crime, and judicial reform.

      Contention prevailed throughout 2006 between the Iranian government and the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the EU, and U.S. officials over the issue of uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities in Iran. At year's end members of the Security Council adopted a resolution to try to force Iran to abandon its nuclear-fuel-production program. The resolution represented a compromise between those permanent members of the Council (the U.S., the United Kingdom, and France) who wanted to impose broad sanctions against Iran and those members (Russia and China) who opposed such sweeping sanctions. The resolution exempted Iran's civilian nuclear-power facilities, in which Russia had significant commercial ties, from such sanctions. (See Iran: Special Report (Iran's Power Dilemma ).)

      The situation in Iraq continued in its downward spiral during 2006. Sectarian violence brought the country to the verge of all-out civil war at year's end. Billions of dollars were pledged for humanitarian and development programs in the country, yet many remained unimplemented because of security concerns and domestic instability. The Security Council voted to extend the mandate of the U.S.-led multinational force (MNF) in Iraq until the end of 2007. The resolution also extended the operation of the Development Fund for Iraq, the receptacle for proceeds from Iraqi petroleum and natural gas export sales.

Peacekeeping Operations.
      The number of UN forces in the field reached an unprecedented level in 2006. The surge had begun three years earlier with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), followed by the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI, established in April 2004), the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH, June 2004), the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB, June 2004), the expansion of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC, October 2004), and the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS, March 2005). Eight of the peace operations and the vast majority of peacekeepers were based in Africa: Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Sudan, and Western Sahara. The UN's peace operations in East Timor (Timor-Leste), which had been scaled down and scheduled to cease in mid-2006, were revitalized in the face of increasing concerns over security and the humanitarian situation there. In August the Security Council authorized a new and expanded operation, the UN Integrated Mission in East Timor (UNMIT), to facilitate postconflict peacebuilding. The UN mission in Sierra Leone was terminated at the end of 2005 and was replaced on Jan. 1, 2006, by the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL). The mandate of this new office was to facilitate peacebuilding in the war-torn country. In December 2006 the mandate of UNIOSIL was extended for another year in preparation for the country's presidential and parliamentary elections in July 2007.

      In The Sudan the situation in Darfur continued to represent one of the world's greatest humanitarian crises. Over the previous three years, more than 200,000 people had been killed and 2,000,000 displaced. UN officials were highly critical of the Sudanese government's failure to protect its citizens from the Janjawid militias' terrorizing them and from other acts of violence in areas where the militias were not present. On August 31 the Security Council voted to expand UNMIS to a strength of up to 27,300 military personnel and 4,015 police, with the support of an appropriate civilian component. By September 30 the number of civilians in support roles totaled nearly 2,500. In late November the UN and the African Union (AU) signed a memorandum of understanding specifying exactly how the UN would provide $21 million in support for the AU peacekeeping mission (AMIS) that had been approved earlier in the year. In December Jan Pronk, the head of the UN peace mission in Darfur, was expelled from the country by the Sudanese government. Pronk had denounced the government for neglecting the humanitarian crisis in Darfur and continuing to provide weapons to the Janjawid militias. Outgoing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the Human Rights Council to take immediate action to deal with the situation.

      A major crisis erupted in Lebanon in July as clashes between the Hezbollah militia operating in southern Lebanon and Israeli defense forces led to an all-out military confrontation and a massive Israeli retaliation on Lebanese targets throughout the country. On August 11 the Security Council called for a full cessation of hostilities and moved to create a buffer zone between the warring parties. It extended the mandate of the UN peace operation, UNIFIL, through August 2007 and authorized a more-than-sevenfold increase in its size, to a maximum of 15,000 troops.

      The global number of refugees dropped by 12% during 2005, which represented the fifth straight year of declines. The total, 8.4 million persons, was the lowest since 1980. The population of concern to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, however, far exceeded those persons who fell under the legal status of refugee; it also included internally displaced persons (IDPs), asylum seekers, and stateless persons, among others. By the end of 2005, the total population of concern had reached 20.8 million, which represented a 6% increase over the previous year. Of this total only 40% were legally classified as refugees, compared with 49% the year before. IDPs accounted for 32%, and stateless persons constituted 11%.

      Five nationalities accounted for nearly half (46%) of all persons of concern: Afghans (2.9 million), Colombians (2.5 million), Iraqis (1.8 million), Sudanese (1.6 million), and Somalis (839, 000). In terms of actual refugees, however, Pakistan and Iran remained the two largest asylum countries; they hosted over one-fifth of the world's refugee population.

Human Rights.
      The year marked the inauguration of the new UN Human Rights Council, which replaced the largely ineffective Commission on Human Rights. The launching of the council was dampened and its effectiveness hampered, however, by the U.S.'s refusal to participate. By year's end a familiar cleavage between North and South could be noted, as was an almost exclusive preoccupation with the human rights situation in only one region—the Middle East. All three of the council's special sessions focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict, while the human rights situations in Darfur, Iraq, Nepal, and Sri Lanka remained critical. While meeting in emergency session in December to consider the serious human rights abuses in The Sudan, the members of the council failed to reach agreement on a resolution criticizing the Sudanese government and could concur only on sending in a team of investigators to look into and report on the situation. Similarly, in the General Assembly the member states opposed to taking action against Uzbekistan, which had been harshly criticized for serious human rights violations against journalists and human rights activists, were successful in blocking meaningful action.

      The issue of children in armed conflict came under increased scrutiny following the adoption in July 2005 of Security Council Resolution 1612. In November 2006 five cases of serious abuses as well as other related concerns were considered. Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Myanmar (Burma), and Uganda all agreed to demobilize child soldiers.

      The General Assembly unanimously adopted a treaty on the rights of disabled people. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities enumerated the civil and political rights of disabled persons as well as rights-related issues, such as accessibility to education, health, and employment. The treaty was to be opened for signature and ratification in March 2007 and to enter into force once ratified by 20 states. In addition, the Assembly approved the draft resolution for the establishment of an International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. It would also be open for signing and ratification in March 2007.

      The First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty came to a close in 2006, with progress little improved toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and associated targets for eradicating extreme poverty and the conditions associated with it by 2015. As in the past, the situation in sub-Saharan Africa was particularly dire. The international community remained hopeful, however, as the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (DESD; 2005–14) moved into its second year. The main goal of the DESD was to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education. The International Decade for Action—Water for Life (2005–15) focused greater attention on the role of women as managers of water. In a related move, 2006 was designated the International Year of Deserts and Desertification. The UN General Assembly warned that desertification threatened the livelihoods of about one billion people.

       UNAIDS, the UN system's joint program to combat the AIDS epidemic, continued to make strides toward increasing access to critical treatment and prevention programs. Nonetheless, the number of people living with HIV as well as the number dying of AIDS continued to grow. Of the estimated 39.5 million people living with HIV, a record 4.3 million of them were first infected in 2006. Among adults over age 15, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for 40% of new infections.

      The General Assembly approved proposals to give the secretary-general more discretionary spending and to improve the Secretariat's management system, including the creation of a chief information technology officer and an upgrade of the UN's computer technology. The UN also established an ethics office responsible for administering and implementing a financial-disclosures program, a whistle-blower-protection policy, an ethics-guidance program for staff, and ethics training. The UN also established a multimillion-dollar Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide funding for humanitarian aid in response to sudden emergencies. In addition, UN agencies worked closely with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to enhance their response capacities.

      On November 9 the secretary-general's High-Level Panel on UN System-Wide Coherence issued its report, Delivering as One, which contained recommendations in three areas: development, humanitarian assistance, and environment. The panel made recommendations for streamlining development assistance and reducing overlap and redundancy by establishing “One UN,” in which a single leader would coordinate the work of all agencies at the country level and establish a single pool for all developing financing. Other measures called for strengthening disaster relief and response to humanitarian emergencies through enhanced coordination with governments and NGOs and by fully funding the CERF. To enhance the UN's environmental work, the panel proposed elevating the UN Environmental Program to a high status within the organization so it could have “real authority as the environmental policy pillar” of the UN system. In addition, it recommended creating a single dynamic entity for promoting gender equality and empowerment.

Administration and Finance.
      The UN's financial situation remained tenuous, with peacekeeping costs soaring and many member states remaining behind in the payment of their assessed dues. With 70% of the overall $10 billion annual UN budget spent on peacekeeping and other operations in the field, continuous substantial arrearages kept the world organization in a state of perpetual financial stress. The UN's booming peacekeeping business was affecting the organization's regular as well as special peacekeeping budgets.

 On December 31 Annan ended his two-term tenure as the seventh UN secretary-general. During his 10 years at the helm, Annan pushed to make the elimination of poverty one of the world body's top priorities. He was instrumental in persuading member states to establish the MDGs and in designing the process to achieve them. He, along with the UN, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2001. Annan was succeeded by South Korean Ban Ki-moon—>. (See Biographies.)

Roger A. Coate

▪ 2006

      In 2005 the member states of the United Nations celebrated the 60th anniversary of the world body. The occasion was marked more by critical reflection than grand hoopla. What was the role of the UN in the 21st century? How could the institutional structures and mechanisms established well over half a century earlier be made more responsive to problems and issues in a greatly transformed world order? The largest gathering ever of heads of state and government met in September at the UN headquarters in New York City to ponder these and other critical questions concerning the future of the world organization. Any celebratory atmosphere that might have been expected to accompany such a milestone event was greatly tempered by the weight of important issues to be decided—as well as by news of scandal involving the UN and by political attacks on the organization and its administration, particularly from Washington.

      As terrorist acts continued unabated in various parts of the world, the issue of terrorism remained near the top of the global agenda. An International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism, and Security was held in Madrid in March, and in April the 59th session of the General Assembly adopted its 13th antiterrorist convention. The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was opened for signature in September.

      Despite this progress, an internationally accepted definition of terrorism continued to be elusive as thorny issues such as state-sponsored use of force against civilians and the right of people to resort to violence to resist foreign occupation also remained unsettled. The December 2004 report issued by the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, proposed language to resolve the matter that was endorsed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his March 2005 report, In Larger Freedom: Towards Security, Development and Human Rights. Conferees at the September World Summit failed to achieve closure on a definition or on a comprehensive antiterrorist convention. They were, however, able to make some progress and for the first time to reach concurrence on language that condemned terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever, and for whatever purposes.”

      National elections were held on Jan. 30, 2005, to select the 275 members of the provisional National Assembly. Although the United Iraqi Alliance won a bare majority (140) of the seats, no single party won enough seats to control the government unilaterally. It was not until April that the main government officials could be decided upon. Ibrahim al-Jaafari (Jaafari, Ibrahim al- ) (see Biographies) of the Islamic Daʿwah Party was selected as prime minister. Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan took office as president. A successful referendum on the ratification of a new constitution was held on October 15, and on December 15 parliamentary elections were held. The UN reiterated its pledge to help bring peace and stability to the country, with Annan remarking in November, “We have a clear mandate from the Security Council to do whatever we can to work with the government and people of Iraq to ensure that Iraq takes charge of its own future and develops a stable, peaceful society.”

      Parliamentary elections were held in Afghanistan in September. The security situation in the country continued to be precarious, and the institutions of governance remained weak. Opium production and drug trafficking persisted as major concerns. As in 2004, Secretary-General Annan prodded the Security Council and the General Assembly during the year to address these and other sources of insecurity. At year's end the UN had more than 800 staff members in the field in Afghanistan, yet the security situation remained unstable. In December 2005 the UN restricted staff movements following two suicide bombings near UN offices in Kabul that killed four persons, including one NATO peacekeeper. At the same time, the U.S. announced that in 2006 it would draw down its military presence in the country from 19,000 to 16,000 and asked NATO to fill the gap.

      Confrontation continued in 2005 between the Iranian government and the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and EU and U.S. officials over the issue of uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities in Iran. Although an apparent agreement between European diplomats and the Iranian government had been concluded in November 2004, under which Iranian officials promised to halt all uranium-enrichment measures and permit inspectors to verify compliance with IAEA safeguards, the Iranians later refused to follow through. Diplomatic initiatives continued throughout 2005, but as the year drew to a close, Iran, led by new hard-line Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud ) (see Biographies), declared that it planned to move forward with its uranium-enrichment activities.

      At the Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders had set forth a declaration that contained eight primary goals and a set of associated targets and social indicators, called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for eradicating extreme poverty and the conditions associated with it by 2015. One primary purpose of the World Summit in September 2005 was to assess the MDG process to date and make any mid-course correction that might be necessary. The Millennium Project produced an interim report, Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals. According to the report, although some countries and regions were making progress, the world was not on track for achieving any of the project's stated goals. The situation in sub-Saharan Africa was particularly dire. “There is still time to meet the Millennium Development Goals—though barely,” proclaimed the report, which added that meeting the MDGs would require launching “a decade of bold action.”

      Global health issues were again much in the news. In 2005 the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS stood at more than 40 million, with some 8,000 persons per day dying from AIDS-related causes. The crisis was especially acute in sub-Saharan Africa, where three-quarters of the world's annual AIDS-related deaths occurred. Almost two-thirds of all persons living with HIV/AIDS resided on the continent, and two-thirds of all new infections occurred there as well. At the same time, a problematic “second wave” of the global pandemic was rapidly penetrating parts of Europe and Asia.

      Although HIV/AIDS still topped the list of world health concerns, new infectious diseases splashed onto the front pages. Avian influenza (bird flu), Marburg virus, and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) were of special immediate concern. UNAIDS continued to coordinate the global response to HIV/AIDS, although global funding commitments remained far short of projected financial needs. The UN Environment Programme had taken the lead in an international alliance to develop an early-warning system for the transmission of the avian flu virus. These diseases vied for attention and resources among a long list of persisting ills such as malaria, tuberculosis, and polio. At the same time, more general health concerns became visible as a result of the Indian Ocean tsunami in late December 2004 and the South Asian earthquake in October 2005. The international community's response to all of these had been swift.

      The number of refugees in the world dropped in 2004 to its lowest total in two and a half decades as 35% more refugees were repatriated to their homes than in the year before. Nevertheless, the number of “persons of concern” who fell under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees—which excluded more than 4 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Palestine—increased from 17.1 million to 19.2 million. This was accounted for by a significant increase in the number of IDPs around the world. The global total of conflict-related IDPs was estimated to exceed 25 million.

Humanitarian Affairs.
       UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) dubbed 2005 the “Year of Emergencies” as humanitarian crises abounded. Acute conflict-related emergencies persisted in Iraq, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and The Sudan. Nutrition and food emergencies prevailed in Niger, Malawi, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Tsunami-, earthquake- and hurricane-related crises plagued regions as diverse as South and Southeast Asia and North and Central America. The death toll was devastating and the scope of human misery awesome. People, organizations, and governments around the world responded rapidly and compassionately, at least with regard to the natural disasters, with open hearts and pocketbooks. Unfortunately, in cases like northern Uganda, the international community seemed to have turned a blind eye as the government persisted in its policy of forcibly removing 1.6 million Acholi people from their traditional lands, entrapping them in conditions of squalor in IDP camps. The chief humanitarian official in the UN, Under Secretary-General Jan Egeland, in November 2004 referred to the Ugandan situation as the largest neglected humanitarian emergency in the world, yet political constraints had prevented the UN from taking any meaningful action to deal with the crisis.

Peace Operations.
      The year was an active one for peace operations, with UN forces reaching an unprecedented level. In late November 2005 there were 16 active UN peacekeeping missions, involving some 70,000 military and police personnel from 107 countries and 15,000 support staff. In addition, there were 10 peacemaking and peacebuilding operations and a total of 26 conflicts or potential conflict situations being monitored by the UN Department of Political Affairs. In the face of the catastrophes in Somalia and Rwanda a decade earlier, the UN and the members of the Security Council in particular had been endeavouring to strengthen the world body's capacity to deal with threats to regional and global peace and stability.

      Eight of the UN peacekeeping operations and the vast majority of peacekeepers were based in Africa. Initiatives in Burundi and Liberia met with much success. The Burundi mission facilitated stabilization of security in the country and moved the postconflict peacebuilding process forward. In Liberia presidential elections were concluded peacefully in November 2005 with the election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to the post. After six years of operation, the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone was brought to a successful conclusion on December 31 in what the world body billed as a “prototype for the UN's new emphasis on peacebuilding.” The situation in Western Sahara, however, continued to elude a peaceful solution.

      There was some positive movement on one of the world's greatest humanitarian crises—civil strife in The Sudan. On January 9, following two decades of civil war, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. The UN Mission in Sudan was created to replace the UN Advance Mission in Sudan, which had been established nine months earlier. A new National Unity government took office in July. Despite this progress, the civil strife in Darfur raged on, with the Arab militia known as Janjawid continuing to terrorize civilians and perpetuate human rights abuses. In March the Security Council moved to refer allegations of war crimes violations to the International Criminal Court. There was hope that the Declaration of Principles for the Resolution of the Sudanese Conflict in Darfur signed in Abuja, Nigeria, on July 5 would facilitate a peaceful end to the violence.

Digital Divide.
 The global disparities in access to the Internet and other information and communication technologies that propelled globalization had led to what many termed a “digital divide” between technological haves and have-nots. This was one of the central issues during the three-year World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that had begun in 2003. Heads of state and their representatives met again on Nov. 16–18, 2005, in Tunis, Tun. This final phase of the WSIS yielded four documents: the Geneva Declaration of Principles, the Geneva Plan of Action, the Tunis Commitment, and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society. It remained to be seen if and how these proclamations would lead the world to deal effectively with bridging the digital divide and bring the benefits of new information and communications technology to serve the goal of economic and social development. World politics dominated the proceedings, and one of the most hotly contested issues at the summit was Internet governance. Conferees agreed to permit the American-based firm ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers, to continue its role as primary governor of the World Wide Web. By way of compromise with governments pushing for state regulation of the Internet, summitgoers agreed to the creation of an Internet Governance Forum to discuss future governance issues.

      The December 2004 report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change contained 101 recommendations for improving the capabilities of the UN to respond to global threats. The recommendations covered a wide array of issues and offered concrete steps for reforming the institutional structure of the UN to make it more effective. Foremost among the recommendations was a proposal to enlarge the Security Council from 15 to 24 members. Annan endorsed most of the panel's recommendations and commended them for adoption at the September World Summit.

      With respect to enhancing the capacity of the UN to fulfill its many mandates, the results of the summit were mixed at best. World leaders agreed, for example, to create a Human Rights Council to replace the Commission on Human Rights and on establishing a new Peacebuilding Commission to deal with creating the conditions necessary for maintaining peace in postconflict situations. Consensus was also reached on the collective responsibility of states to protect people from genocide, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes. In the wake of the oil-for-food scandal, leaders further agreed to establish an internal UN ethics office. Overall, however, the summit's final document fell far short of the ambitious recommendations that had been proposed by the secretary-general. No agreement could be reached on expanding the role of the secretary-general to make major management changes. Also, the entire section in the draft of the final document on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament had to be dropped.

Administration and Finance.
      The financial situation of the UN remained tenuous despite the fact that arrearages to the regular budget had decreased in comparison with previous years. Its financial reserves remained depleted. As 2005 drew to a close, the proposed regular budget of $3.6 billion for 2006–07 continued to be challenged by the U.S. In exchange for its acquiescence, the U.S. wanted agreement from the other 190 member states on a number of management and structural reforms. One of the first moves by John R. Bolton (Bolton, John R. ) (see Biographies), the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to the UN, was to demand significant changes to the draft of a document for reform of the world body.

      Allegations about corruption surrounding the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq continued to unfold throughout the year as the Independent Inquiry Committee, chaired by former U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker, issued several reports. The fifth and final report of the IIC's 18-month investigation was issued in late October. It told a story of $1.8 billion in kickbacks and illicit surcharges paid to Saddam Hussein's government by more than 2,200 corporations. Individuals and diplomats from more than five dozen countries were involved. Substantial surcharges for humanitarian contracts and kickbacks for oil contracts had been illegally paid by major corporations in the U.S., Russia, France, Germany, South Korea, and elsewhere. The report strongly criticized the UN Secretariat and Security Council for having failed to monitor the $64 billion program.

      Revelations also surfaced of a sexual-abuse scandal involving some UN peacekeepers. In November 2004 the secretary-general acknowledged allegations of sexual abuse by a number of UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Annan expressed his outrage at the conduct of those who were involved and pledged that appropriate action would be taken.

      Despite such problems, UN peacekeepers and officials continued to lay their lives on the line daily in the promotion of world peace and security. In the 17 months preceding December 2005, 177 UN staff members lost their lives in the service of the world body and international community.

Roger A. Coate

▪ 2005

      The year 2004 was marked by tense relations between the United Nations and the United States, the world body's largest financial contributor. Much of the discontent on both sides centred on the situation in Iraq and the lack of security there. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's refusal to send more UN staff members into such an insecure environment greatly frustrated the administration of U.S. Pres. George W. Bush. The security situation had deteriorated substantially since the bombing in August 2003 of the UN compound in Baghdad that killed 22 UN staff members, and November 2004 was one of the deadliest months since the U.S. invasion began, in terms of both coalition forces and civilian casualties.

      Tempers flared in November when Annan sent a letter to Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (see Biographies (Allawi, Ayad )) warning that the planned military assault against insurgents in Fallujah might jeopardize the credibility of the upcoming January 2005 elections. This incident followed on the heels of an earlier one in which Annan, in an interview with the BBC in September, had irritated U.S. and British officials by suggesting that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq had contravened the UN Charter.

      As the year closed, disagreement centred on the deployment of UN personnel to assist in the preparations for the planned January 2005 elections. While pledging the UN's full support for the governance process in Iraq, Annan remained firm that for such support to be feasible, UN personnel had to be secure from violence. The situation that existed through late 2004 simply did not meet that condition.

      The year commenced on a high note following the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003. As 2004 wore on, however, it became clear that allegations regarding stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction simply were not to be substantiated, nor, for that matter, were claims of the U.S. and British governments that the Saddam regime had supported al-Qaeda. It was evident that it would be extremely difficult for the occupying U.S.-led coalition force to restore security and governance to the country. In April President Bush and Prime Minister Blair endorsed a proposal for the UN effort to establish an Iraqi interim government. The new regime took office on June 28.

      Human security in Iraq had declined dramatically since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Malnutrition among children had nearly doubled, and the situation was worsened by poor sanitation, unsafe drinking water, lack of electrical power, and armed violence. In the fall of 2004, about one-quarter of the Iraqi population still relied on food rations, and about 40% of the members of this group were forced to sell at least part of their rations for other necessities. Despite the extremely dangerous conditions, UN relief agencies, such as UNICEF, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the International Migration Organization (IMO), continued to play an important role in providing humanitarian assistance. Faced with increased violence and declining security, the United States announced on December 1 that it would increase the size of its military force to 150,000 troops by the end of the year.

      On October 9 presidential elections were held for the first time in Afghanistan. They had been postponed from the originally scheduled date in June. Amid allegations of voting irregularities, Afghani interim president Hamid Karzai was declared the victor, and he was officially inaugurated in December. Parliamentary elections were scheduled for April 2005. The security situation in the country continued to be somewhat precarious, with the persistence of problems related to drug trafficking, the demobilization of militias, and the traditional divisions among warlords. Secretary-General Annan urged the Security Council and the General Assembly to address these and other sources of insecurity and to consider an increase in the UN's presence and assistance.

      Much of the year was characterized by contention between the Iranian government and the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and U.S. officials over the issue of uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities in Iran. In November an agreement concerning these issues was reached between European countries and the Iranian government; Iranian officials announced that they had halted all uranium-enrichment measures and would permit inspectors to verify compliance with IAEA safeguards. The IAEA, in turn, reported that it had accounted for all the declared nuclear material in Iran.

      The heads of state and government at the Millennium Summit in 2000 had set forth a declaration that contained eight primary goals, called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for eradicating extreme poverty and the conditions associated with it by 2015. As the year 2004 came to a close, the international community was not on target for attaining any of the goals. The situation in the less-developed countries was particularly bad—half of the world's population continued to subsist on incomes of less than $2 a day. How to get and keep the MDGs process on track was to be the main focus of a special summit meeting scheduled to be held at the convening of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2005.

      On a more positive note, the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects 2005 report indicated that it was both the best of times and the worst of times for less-developed countries, depending on where they were located within the world economy. The overall economic growth rate for less-developed countries, led by spectacular increases in China and India, was 6.1%. At the same time, however, most of sub-Saharan Africa lagged far behind.

       HIV/AIDS remained at the top of the health agenda of the international community. The pandemic was widely recognized as much more than a global health crisis. It posed a tremendous threat to social, economic, and political stability and thus had become a top global security issue.

      The UN systemwide response was led by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS ( UNAIDS), a collaborative program that brought together 10 UN cosponsoring agencies. The primary role of UNAIDS had been that of advocate, technical adviser, coordinator, and catalyst. Its 2004 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic gave a sobering account of the ever-increasing toll of AIDS. (See Health and Disease .) In January the Kaiser Family Foundation joined UNAIDS in launching a new Global Media AIDS Initiative. The aim was to engage the media more fully in the fight against HIV/AIDS by focusing on increasing education and public awareness of the disease. The theme for the 2004 World AIDS Campaign was “Women, Girls, HIV, and AIDS.” UNAIDS also initiated the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS.

      To complement UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) had been established in 2002 to mobilize, generate, and disperse additional funds to fight the pandemic. In 2004 GFATM approved $1.6 billion for two years and a total of $5 billion for more than five years. These sums paled in comparison with the projected cost of mounting an effective and successful campaign. UNAIDS, for example, estimated that $7 billion–$10 billion would be required annually for fighting AIDS in low- and middle-income countries.

      As of Jan. 1, 2004, there were about 17.1 million “persons of concern” who fell under the mandate of UNHCR, as compared with 20.6 million the previous year. Well over half of these persons were officially classified as refugees. The vast majority of them were located in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and Asia accounted for the largest number.

Peace Operations.
      At the end of the year, there were 18 peace missions operating under UN auspices. Sixteen were peacekeeping operations—seven in Africa (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Western Sahara), one in the Western Hemisphere (Haiti), two in Asia (East Timor and India-Pakistan), three in Europe (Cyprus, Georgia, and Kosovo), and three in the Middle East (Golan Heights, Lebanon, and the Middle East in general). In addition, there were two political missions, in Afghanistan and The Sudan. As of November 30 there were 63,909 military personnel and civilian police and 3,983 international civilian personnel serving in these operations, at an annual cost of nearly $4 billion.

      Renewed fighting broke out in Haiti in early February, and by month's end embattled Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide had resigned and fled the country. The new interim government turned to the United Nations and requested assistance in stabilizing the situation. The UN Security Council responded and authorized the creation of the Multilateral Interim Force (MIF). The situation in Haiti worsened after the island country was ravaged by Tropical Storm Jeanne, which caused more than 1,500 deaths and left more than 200,000 homeless. Given the situation, China pledged to send 125 police officers, China's first-ever contribution to assist in a UN peace mission in the Western Hemisphere.

      In February the Security Council enhanced the UN presence in strife-torn Côte d'Ivoire and established a peacekeeping operation in an effort to reinforce the peace process that was evolving there. In the final months of the year, however, it became clear that the process had broken down. Government troops launched attacks against French peacekeepers and rebel forces in the UN-patrolled “zone of confidence.” In an effort to restore peace, the Security Council voted unanimously to institute an arms embargo, and it threatened economic sanctions against the regime of Pres. Laurent Gbagbo. Also in the region, the Security Council in December reinforced its previous decision to place sanctions on Liberia. The sanctions restricted trade in lumber and diamonds because profits from such trade had been used to fund violence in the region.

      Civil strife raged in Darfur, in The Sudan, throughout most of the year. Janjawid militias wreaked havoc on civilians while the Sudanese government failed to act to restrain them. It was estimated that more than 70,000 people had died by early October. The UN Security Council in September called for the African Union (AU) to enhance its monitoring mission in Darfur and threatened sanctions if the Sudanese government failed to comply fully with measures to end the violence by militia forces or to cooperate fully with the AU. The Security Council took the rare step of holding a two-day session in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 18–19 to discuss the Darfur matter and to meet with AU representatives.

Digital Divide.
      The revolution in information and communication technology, which was propelling globalization, had led to what many termed a “digital divide” between technological haves and have-nots. A crucial issue was that of determining how to bridge the divide and make the digital revolution work for all peoples. Heads of state and their representatives met on Dec. 10–12, 2003, in Geneva for the first phase of the three-year plan of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Some progress appeared to have been made in pulling together a consensus on key principles. A plan of action was agreed upon that specified principal goals, objectives, targets, and priorities. Few real commitments ensued, however, and disagreement prevailed on several key issues, including who should govern the Internet and how the bridging of the gap would be funded. These and other critical issues were to be the focus of the second phase of the WSIS, which was to convene in Tunis, Tun., in 2005.

Administration and Finance.
      At the end of 2004, there were 191 UN member states, and the regular biennial budget for 2004–05 stood at more than $3.1 billion. As had been the case for years, some 40% of the UN members were in arrears in paying their dues. The peacekeeping budget approved for fiscal year 2004–05 was $3.9 billion.

      Several scandals rocked the halls of UN headquarters. Foremost among them was the alleged corruption that surrounded the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq. To investigate the allegations, an Independent Inquiry Committee chaired by Paul Volcker, former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, was appointed. The committee had not completed its inquiry by year's end.

      Controversy surrounding allegations of harassment and favouritism by several senior UN staff members, together with allegations of sexual abuse by a number of UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, fueled dissent within the Secretariat. On November 19 Secretary-General Annan confirmed that clear evidence existed of sexual abuse in the DRC, and he expressed his outrage at the conduct of those who were involved and pledged that appropriate action would be taken. While expressing their continuing support for Annan, the UN staff union passed a resolution harshly criticizing senior management for its failure to discipline high-level officials for their misbehaviour.

      In December a report entitled A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility was issued by the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. This blue-ribbon panel report contained 101 recommendations for improving the capabilities of the UN to respond to shared threats. The recommendations covered a wide array of issues, proposed rules, and guidelines for the use of force. It offered recommendations for ways to increase the UN's ability to engage in peace enforcement and peacekeeping, postconflict peace building, and the protection of civilians during conflict. Nearly one-third of the recommendations focused on concrete steps to reform the institutional structure of the UN to make it more effective. With regard to the launching of preemptive war, the panel reiterated the importance of ensuring Security Council authorization for all such actions and offered a series of guidelines under which the Security Council might act rapidly and proactively to authorize states to deal with critical threats such as terrorism or the use of weapons of mass destruction. The panel offered a definition of terrorism to guide both collective and individual state action. Foremost among the recommendations for institutional reform was a proposal to enlarge the Security Council from 15 to 24 members. The panel offered two options, neither of which would expand the veto power. One option would create six new permanent seats without veto power and three nonpermanent rotating seats. The other option would provide eight four-year renewable nonpermanent seats and one new two-year nonrenewable nonpermanent seat. The report was to serve as the foundation for recommendations to be made at the high-level plenary meeting of heads of state and government to be hosted in September 2005 at the commencement of the 60th session of the General Assembly.

Roger A. Coate

▪ 2003

      In 2002 the United Nations continued to refocus its overall mission as one of comprehensively promoting human security rather than separately promoting peace and security, economic and social well-being, sustainable development, human rights, or a variety of other goals. As a result, a somewhat greater sense of coherence was brought to the world body's vast agenda. A new high-level UN Commission on Human Security had been formed in June 2001 and cochaired by two highly visible figures, former UN high commissioner for refugees Sadako Ogata of Japan and Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen of India. On Sept. 11, 2001, the United Nations was preparing for the opening of the 56th General Assembly at its headquarters in New York City when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, just a few kilometres away. Although the action was targeted against just one UN member state, representatives of all member states witnessed the tragedy, and the experience served to reinforce the growing consensus in the international community that making people secure meant more than protecting them from armed conflict between states and their agents.

      Following the September 11 events, the UN Security Council in its landmark Resolution 1373 (2001) called on all member states to take immediate actions to suppress terrorism. The resolution set forth a program of state action and called for members to conform to a score of laws to deny safe haven to terrorists, block funding of terrorism, freeze assets of terrorist groups, bring suspected terrorists to justice, and suppress recruitment of terrorists on their soil. A Counter-terrorism Committee was established and charged with ascertaining the extent to which member states were complying with this program. At the end of six months, the committee reported that three-quarters of the member states had responded favourably. The bombing in Bali, Indon., in October 2002 underscored the fact that the perceived threat to peace and human security was a real one. The UN Security Council responded by unanimously condemning the act and again calling on member states to take necessary action.

International Law.
      The UN's evolving focus on human security represented a not-so-subtle challenge to the international legal principle of sovereignty that underpinned the very foundations of the United Nations and other international organizations. The actions—and inactions—of states themselves had often been among the most significant factors underlying violations of human security. Challenges to sovereignty lay at the core of UN debates over critical issues such as humanitarian intervention in response to gross violations of human rights and retaliatory and preemptive military strikes in dealing with terrorism. One clear case was the declaration by U.S. Pres. George W. Bush after the attacks of September 11 that the United States had the right to resort to military force against any state that aided, harboured, or supported international terrorists, regardless of sovereignty. Other world leaders made similar declarations. (See Military Affairs .) In early December 2002, Australian Prime Minister John Howard called for review of the UN Charter to consider new international legal norms to deal preemptively with terrorist attacks.

      The International Criminal Court (ICC) entered into force on July 1, 2002, and as the year came to a close, more than 85 states had become parties to the convention. The ICC was to deal exclusively with matters related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed after July 1, 2002. The U.S., however, refused to accede to the court's jurisdiction or even to acknowledge the competency of the international judicial body. (See Law, Crime, and Law Enforcement .)

War Crimes Tribunals.
      In the case of both the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), officials were frustrated by the lack of cooperation of the governments involved. The situation was so bad in the case of Rwanda that UN officials had to remind the Rwandan government of its legal obligation to cooperate. The most important case for the ICTY to date was that against former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. Because of Milosevic's health, however, the trial was put on hold. In early December the government of Yugoslavia announced that it would no longer turn over suspected war criminals to the ICTY.

      Iraq was one of the most important issues occupying the attention of the UN Security Council. In his address to the 57th General Assembly, President Bush laid out his indictment against Iraq and challenged UN member states to deal with the situation immediately, making it clear that unless the UN responded, the U.S. was prepared to do so alone. Thus prodded, the Security Council passed Resolution 1441 (2002), demanding that Iraq unconditionally submit to weapons inspections and do so under a strict timetable.

      The government of Saddam Hussein continued to refuse entry to UN arms inspectors for most of the year. On November 27, however, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection teams resumed inspections. The following week the Security Council unanimously agreed to extend its oil-for-food program in Iraq for six months. Shortly thereafter, in keeping with the timetable specified in Resolution 1441, the Iraqi government presented the UN with a 12,000-page declaration of its production programs for weapons of mass destruction. The face-off between the U.S. and Iraq was still going on at year's end.

      Nearly 20 million persons fell under the purview of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and many others—mostly persons displaced within their own countries—occupied the attention of the UN and its agencies. Of the international refugees, almost nine million were in Asia, five million in Europe, and four million in Africa. (See Social Protection: Refugees and International Migration (Social Protection ).)

Human Rights.
      The deliberations of the spring 2002 session of the UN Commission on Human Rights were characterized by an especially high degree of politicization and controversy. Many alleged cases of systematic abuses and gross rights violations went without condemnation or other action because of the absence of the United States, which was for the first time not reelected to membership. A draft resolution proposed by Mexico that states' actions against terrorism be compatible with international human rights norms and laws was stalled and in the end withdrawn.

      Under the authorization of the UN General Assembly, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg, S.Af., on August 26–September 4. Coming 10 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the “Johannesburg Summit 2002” represented an attempt to reinvigorate sustainable development activities in the wake of deepening poverty and environmental degradation. New targets were set, timetables established, and commitments agreed upon. Yet, as the UN Web site for the meeting made clear, “there were no silver bullet solutions … no magic and no miracle—only the realization that practical and sustained steps were needed to address many of the world's most pressing problems.” The summit reflected a new approach to conferencing and to sustainable development. Instead of concentrating primarily on the production of treaties and other outcome documents, the conferees focused on the creation of new partnerships for bringing additional resources to bear to support and enhance implementation of sustainable development initiatives.

      The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) released its AIDS Epidemic Update December 2002, presenting the latest statistics on what had now become the worst pandemic in human history. According to the report, more than 3.1 million people died as a result of HIV/AIDS during 2002, and there were more than 5 million new cases. Some 42 million persons were currently living with the disease, and UNAIDS predicted that another 45 million would be infected in the next eight years. Africa, the former Soviet Union, Central Asia, India, and China were among the worst-affected areas, while Estonia, Latvia, Russia, and Ukraine led in new incidences reported. In Africa alone 29.4 million were already infected, r about 70% of the worldwide total.

      A special Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established after Secretary-General Annan's call in April 2001. The European Union, the World Bank, and the U.S. pledged major contributions.

      In February an international agreement banning the use of children in combat roles entered into force. The UN General Assembly held a special session in May devoted to children's issues and adopted by consensus an action plan for promoting children's health and education and fighting child abuse and exploitation. The 57th General Assembly's Committee on Social and Humanitarian Affairs passed a detailed resolution calling for the elimination of child labour and the protection of children against torture, sexual abuse, and slavery. The U.S., alone (except for Somalia, which had no central government) in not having signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, was also the only member state to vote against the resolution, which passed overwhelmingly 164–1.

      As 2002 drew to a close, the Security Council closed shop on two of its missions in the Balkans; only the UN mission in Kosovo remained. The European Union Police Mission took over from UNMIBH, the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A joint Croatian-Yugoslav force was to administer the Prevlaka Peninsula. UNMIK, the UN Mission in Kosovo, oversaw the provincial elections held in November 2001, although it was not until March 2002 that a coalition government could be formed and brought into power.

      The UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) successfully completed its mandate of institution and capacity building and turned over constitutional authority to the local government. In April the UN oversaw its last Timorese election, which brought to power East Timor's first independently elected president, and on May 20 full independence was confirmed. A new UN mission was established, the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), with a two-year mandate to support the development of civil, political, judicial, and security infrastructures.

      Agreement was reached in December 2001 at the UN-brokered conference in Bonn, Ger., for a peace-building exercise aimed at establishing self-determination for the people of Afghanistan. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) was mandated to oversee capacity building, reconstruction, recovery, and relief as well as vouchsafe judicial and human rights. UNAMA began supervising disarmament in northern Afghanistan beginning in late November 2002. The Bonn Agreement also called for the establishment of an International Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan to facilitate the transition to peace. On November 27 the Security Council adopted a resolution extending ISAF authority for one year. Germany and The Netherlands assumed joint leadership of the force from Turkey.

      In his November report to the General Assembly and the Security Council on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, Secretary-General Annan cautioned that the situation had deteriorated, undermining many of the past achievements of the peace process. A self-proclaimed “quartet” of parties—the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and the Russian Federation—was working to broker a permanent solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. On September 17 the group released a “road map” that laid out a three-phase strategy for reaching a final peace accord by 2005.

      The UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was actively engaged in disarming former combatants in the West African country's 10-year civil war, and the focus of UN efforts began shifting from peacekeeping to humanitarian relief and development. On December 4 the Security Council extended for another six months the ban on export of rough diamonds by all parties except the government. In addition, an ad hoc war crimes tribunal was established.

      In late November the Security Council accused Liberia of violating the embargo on importing weapons and extended sanctions, including a ban on diamond exports. At year's end the government of Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor continued to violate UN sanctions.

      Also in late November the transitional government of Burundi and its development assistance partners held a roundtable conference focused on acquiring support for its Social Emergency Program to provide assistance to the Burundi population. In his report on the country, the secretary-general noted that the humanitarian situation remained dire after eight years of civil war, and nearly one-sixth of the population was internally displaced.

      In response to Security Council requests and other factors, direct foreign engagement in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had lessened dramatically. The UN Observer Mission in Congo (MONUC) moved to consolidate gains and drive for complete withdrawal of all foreign forces. The mission was also tasked with the job of disarming tens of thousands of rebel forces. In support of this effort, the Security Council moved on December 4 to double the troop strength of the UN mission. Moreover, the secretary-general's special representative for the DRC in late November reached an understanding with the various parties to the conflict on general principles for a transitional government.

      In August the Security Council created a UN mission in Angola to replace the UN office there. This mission was to assist parties in implementing the Lusaka Protocol by clearing land mines, providing humanitarian and election assistance, promoting human rights, and reintegrating rebel forces into society.

Budget and Membership.
      For the second year in a row, the UN budgetary situation appeared to be in better health, although it remained on shaky grounds because of nonpayment and slow payment of dues. At times as many as one-half of member states could not or would not pay their assessed contributions. The biggest problem in this regard over the past two decades was the United States. The situation was complicated by the fact that member states of UN agencies often seemed to prefer funding disaster-relief efforts—short-term commitments that grabbed public attention—rather than regular, long-term programs. In the case of the World Health Organization, for example, regular budgetary funds had been declining in real terms for more than a decade and a half.

      The United Nations inaugurated two new members in 2002. Switzerland, the European centre of UN activities and the seat of many international agencies, joined on September 10, and East Timor, the world's youngest state, was welcomed on September 27. In his address to the 57th General Assembly in September, President Bush stated that as a demonstration of its commitment to multilateralism, the United States would rejoin UNESCO, from which it had withdrawn 18 years earlier.

Roger A. Coate

▪ 2002

      Though UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's term was scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2001, he announced on March 22 his availability for five more years. UN delegates credited him with having strengthened internal management, gained control over the organization's budget, and improved ties with the U.S., and they reelected him by acclamation on June 29. He was praised for his levelheadedness, clarity of vision, modesty, talent for listening, and negotiating ability.

      At 5 AM on October 12, Annan received a telephone call, and he knew from experience that such an early-morning summons usually meant “something disastrous.” This time, however, he learned that he and the UN had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. The citation lauded Annan for “bringing new life to the organization,” for moving beyond the UN's traditional responsibility for peace and security to emphasize its obligations to promote human rights, for assuming new challenges such as fighting HIV/AIDS and international terrorism, and for using the UN's “modest resources” more efficiently. The prize committee observed that the end of the Cold War “has at last made it possible for the United Nations to perform more fully the part it was originally intended to play.” (See Nobel Prizes .)

War Crimes.
      For the first time, the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague defined rape as a war crime. On June 28 former Yugoslav head of state Slobodan Milosevic was brought to trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Kosovo. In September the UN Security Council ended the three-year-old arms embargo against Yugoslavia because it had satisfied the conditions for terminating the ban.

      The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda continued trials of high-ranking former officials charged with having committed genocide and crimes against humanity involving ethnic Tutsi in April and May 1994. (See International Law. (Law, Crime, and Law Enforcement ))

      Ruud Lubbers, former prime minister of The Netherlands, succeeded Sadako Ogata of Japan as UN High Commissioner for Refugees on January 3. He immediately tried to provide a “safe corridor” for tens of thousands of refugees from border fighting between Sierra Leone and Liberia who had sought shelter in dense rain forests and were trapped there. At year's end he faced a growing crisis in Afghanistan, where refugees, fleeing the effects of U.S. bombing, massed on the Pakistani border, joining thousands who had previously attempted to escape the country's drought. In December the World Food Programme delivered an unprecedented 114,000 metric tons of food to Afghanistan, enough to feed six million displaced persons for two months. UNICEF was also providing food and water to help an estimated 1.5 million children survive the effects of conflict, drought, disease, and displacement.

      Lubbers reduced his staff by 800, following a more than $100 million budget cut, and he chided Europeans for reducing their contributions to refugees. A pledging conference in Genoa, Italy, on December 3 left a shortfall of $100 million for the next fiscal year. (See Refugees. (Social Protection ))

      On several occasions during the year, the UN rebuked Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, who at the end of February began to destroy statues across the country dating back many centuries, including two ancient stone Buddhas that they condemned as “false idols.” Annan and Koichiro Matsuura, director general of UNESCO, pointed out that the Taliban interpreted Islam in a way that no one else recognized. When the government proposed to require non-Muslims to wear yellow badges in an effort to “protect” Sikhs and Hindus from being subject to strict Islamic rules enforced by “religious police,” Annan called the measure reminiscent of “some of the most deplorable acts of discrimination in history.” In August, when the Taliban detained eight foreign aid workers for the capital offense of propagating Christianity, Annan deplored the authorities' failure to allow the detainees consular access and legal representation and warned them that their act could have “severe consequences on critical humanitarian assistance.” The Taliban said that they intended to try the detainees, but in November, as they retreated before attacks by the Northern Alliance, U.S. helicopters rescued the detainees and ferried them to Pakistan. On September 18 the Security Council president called on the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden for his alleged connections to the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa and to the attacks in the U.S. on September 11.

      When the Taliban fled from Kabul after ground attacks by the Northern Alliance and air attacks by the U.S., Lakhdar Brahimi, UN special representative for Afghanistan, proposed that the Security Council convene a meeting of Afghan representatives to devise a provisional administration and to deploy an international security presence in the capital. That meeting opened on November 27 in Bonn, Ger., and on December 5 the delegates agreed to create a broad-based Governing Council that they hoped would end more than 20 years of internal warfare. The Security Council endorsed the agreement on December 6, and the Governing Council, led by Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun tribal leader who previously had fought the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, took power on December 22. Britain offered on December 19 to take the lead in organizing and commanding an International Security Assistance Force for six months, and the Security Council accepted the offer on December 20, the same day the first British marines arrived in Kabul to maintain it as a neutral zone.

      On June 25 the General Assembly opened a special three-day session on HIV/AIDS and invited pledges to a “global superfund” of $7 billion–$10 billion that Annan proposed to fight the disease. By year's end the pledges amounted to $1.6 billion. UN estimates indicated that 25 million people were infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, 4.8 million needed treatment, and all but 30,000 of them could expect to die without drugs commonly prescribed in the West. (See Health and Disease .)

Human Rights.
      China on February 28 ratified the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights one day after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson visited the country. In ratifying the measure the government seemed to hedge its support of workers rights to form and join free labour unions. China recognized just one union; the state-sanctioned All China Federation of Trade Unions forbade the formation of independent groups and did not recognize the right to strike. Nevertheless, on May 17 China agreed to work with the International Labour Organization to promote workers' rights and well-being.

      In elections on May 3 for the UN Commission on Human Rights, the U.S. lost a seat it had held since the UN was founded in 1945. The defeat was attributed to the growing strength of less-developed states opposed to U.S. policies, the U.S. failure to lobby for the seat, widespread dismay at U.S. failure to support important international treaties, and U.S. resistance to plans to allow poor countries to make generic versions of anti-AIDS drugs. Members were also upset by a perceived U.S. inattention to the UN after Pres. George W. Bush (see Biographies (Bush, George W. )) took office in January and did not at once appoint an ambassador to the UN. Not until September 13, when the Senate approved the nomination of John D. Negroponte, was the U.S. represented by an ambassador at the UN.

      The UN World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, S.Af., from August 31 to September 7, declared that slavery and the slave trade were “a crime against humanity and should always have been so” and called on states to reverse the lasting consequences of slavery, apartheid, and genocide. It expressed concern “about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation” and recognized their right to self-determination and to establishment of an independent state; the conference also called for governments to ensure that Roma (Gypsies) received equal access to education, to guarantee religious freedom to minorities, to ensure access to services for people with AIDS, and to see that police did not engage in racial or ethnic profiling. The conferees asked the UN to appoint a panel of five experts to help countries carry out these objectives and to review progress.

      On December 24 the General Assembly approved an increase of nearly 4% in the UN budget for the next two years to finance a modest increase in peacekeepers. It was the first increase in eight years apart from inflation adjustments. The budget authorized the spending of $2,625,000,000 for regular operations through 2003, an increase of $92 million over the current two-year budget of $2,533,000,000. The UN collected $4.2 billion in current and overdue payments by December 31.

      On December 28 the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that the Earth's temperature in 2001 was the second highest in the 140 years of record keeping. Temperatures were getting hotter faster than ever before and causing more storms, droughts, and other weather extremes.

East Timor.
      On September 10 the UN certified the results of Timor's first democratic election, and a newly chosen constituent assembly started drafting a constitution as a step toward full independence. (See : Indian Ocean and East Timor. (Indonesia ))

      On November 29 the Security Council unanimously extended the “oil for food” program in Iraq for six months on the understanding that Russia would agree before May 30, 2002, to a new list of goods requiring UN review before being shipped to Iraq and that the U.S. would comply with Russia's demand to specify steps leading to the lifting of the embargo on the condition that Iraq allowed UN weapons inspectors to resume their work. Earlier in the year the Council had failed to devise a “smart sanctions plan” for Iraq that might do more to help civilians and restrict the military, and the proposals were dropped on July 2.

      UN officials revealed on March 6 that some Iraqi officials were demanding kickbacks on contracts for food, medicine, and other essential civilian goods bought from foreign companies under the UN oil for food program and that Saddam Hussein was diverting money intended to help the civilian population into a slush fund for himself and his associates and possibly for his weapons program. Profiting from a UN-supervised program was illegal, and Annan warned Iraq and buyers of crude oil that surcharges were not permitted and that they should pay nothing to non-UN accounts.

      During a visit to the UN on March 21, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (see Biographies (Sharon, Ariel )) warned the Security Council against sending an observer force to the Middle East lest its presence increase violence in the West Bank and Gaza. Annan urged Sharon to reduce restrictions on Palestinians working in Israel, and Sharon replied that he was prepared to do so. On March 27 the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution requested by the Palestinians, calling for a UN observer force in Israeli-occupied territories. In a speech to the General Assembly in November, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres called creating an independent Palestinian state “the best bet” for settling the problems of the Middle East.On December 15 the U.S. vetoed a draft resolution in the Security Council that would have demanded an immediate end of all acts of violence, provocation, and destruction in the area and would have required the parties to return to the positions existing before September 2000. The draft asked the two sides to implement the recommendations in the Mitchell report for building confidence measures and to establish a monitoring mechanism to help the parties implement the recommendations. The U.S. objected to the resolution's not condemning recent acts of terrorism against Israel. On December 20 the General Assembly adopted the text of the rejected resolution by a vote of 133–4 with 16 abstentions.

Biological Weapons.
      Negotiations in Geneva in May aimed at establishing a verification scheme for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention were jarred by U.S. statements that the treaty's verification measures could not detect cheating and might allow foreign governments to try to steal U.S. secrets. On July 25 the U.S. confirmed that it would not sign the draft protocol. The proposals, 10 years in the making and already signed by 140 countries, were designed to strengthen the convention outlawing germ warfare. They would oblige signatories to allow inspectors into sites that could be used to manufacture biological weapons. On November 18 the U.S. stated that Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Syria were all developing germ weapons and violating the 1972 treaty. On the last day of a three-week review of the treaty in Geneva that opened on November 19, the U.S. proposed ending negotiations. The delegates then chose to adjourn until Nov. 11, 2002, rather than admit failure.

International Law.
      A two-week conference in New York City opened on July 9 to consider drafting a pact curtailing the international flow of illegal small arms. At the opening session the U.S. backed away from the conference objective, saying that “the responsible use of firearms is a legitimate aspect of national life” and that it intended to retain its “cultural tradition of hunting and sport shooting.” China, India, and Russia, all of which had large arms industries, supported the U.S. UN officials insisted that the conference would in no way contradict the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that it was not about taking guns away from Americans but about keeping an estimated 500 million weapons, 40–60% of which had been acquired illegally, out of the hands of child soldiers and pickup armies, often in the poorest countries.

      Annan said on September 11 that there was no doubt that the attacks in the U.S. that day were “deliberate acts of terrorism, carefully planned and coordinated,” and he condemned them “utterly.” The next day both the Security Council and the General Assembly condemned the terrorist acts, and the Assembly expressed its “condolences and solidarity with the people and government of the U.S.” The Security Council called on “all states to work together,” stressed that “those responsible for aiding, supporting, or harbouring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable,” and expressed its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks. On September 21 Annan offered the UN as a forum for building a universal coalition against terrorism and for ensuring global legitimacy for the long-term response to terrorism. A week later the Security Council unanimously adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution obliging all UN members to freeze bank accounts of suspected terrorists, to provide them with no training, to monitor their movements, and to cooperate in any campaign against them, including one involving the use of force. The resolution marked an enhanced U.S. appreciation of the importance of the UN. On November 30 the Security Council Committee on Terrorism began receiving reports from member states on their antiterrorism measures. On December 19 the secretary-general cautioned against expanding the war against terrorism into Iraq lest it lead to a major escalation in the region.

      On December 13 President Bush served notice that in six months the U.S. would withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, generally regarded as a cornerstone of global arms control since 1972. He had concluded that the treaty hindered his government's ability to protect the U.S. from "future terrorist or rogue-state missile attacks." The announcement met with scarcely concealed dismay around the world.

      On December 21 arms control experts from nearly 90 countries met in Geneva and agreed to take the first step toward reducing civilian casualties caused by explosives long after conflicts end. They established an expert group to report back in 2002 on whether to open negotiations on the subject.

Richard N. Swift

▪ 2000

      On several occasions during 1999 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan acknowledged failures in UN actions and risked member states' ire by bringing forward important issues that they had acted badly upon or failed to act upon at all. In September he rebuked the U.S. Senate for rejecting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and suggested that Israel had been singled out for the harshest criticism by UN members, which made the organization appear to serve everyone but the Israelis. Annan issued a report in November condemning the UN for having allowed Serbs to overrun the Bosnian “safe area” of Srebrenica in 1995, a major peacekeeping failure that arose from the UN's trying to remain neutral in a civil conflict. In December he acknowledged the failure of the UN and member states to “prevent and punish” genocide in Rwanda.

      At the opening of the General Assembly on September 20, Annan described the world as plagued by conflicts between states and their own nationals. He declared that no matter where “massive and systematic violations of human rights” occurred, they “should not be allowed to stand.” During the year he himself undertook negotiations with Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi and Iraq's Saddam Hussein when the Security Council seemed to have exhausted all its options.

      Secretary-General Annan observed in mid-June that by not paying its UN assessments, the U.S. was damaging American prestige, and in September UN officials warned the U.S. that the UN Charter required it to pay at least $550 million before December 31 or lose its Assembly vote. U.S. arrears, going back four years, amounted to $1.7 billion, 65% of all unpaid UN assessments. On November 19 the U.S. Congress authorized over $900 million for the UN, and by the end of the year the U.S. had made payments totaling $824 million to save its vote in the General Assembly.

      On March 11 the UN decided that personnel who had been withdrawn from Afghanistan in August 1998 for security reasons would return. UN mediators announced that the ruling Taliban and opposition groups in the country had agreed to establish a coalition government with all political forces in the country participating. In August, however, the UN accused the Taliban of having waged a scorched-earth policy against villages north of Kabul and forced 10,000 people from their homes. In October the UN abandoned its peacemaking role in Afghanistan because of the fruitlessness of the search for a political solution.

      On January 17 the secretary-general recommended that the Security Council gradually reduce its 1,000-person Observer Mission in Angola, which had been overseeing the workings of the Lusaka Protocol, a peace accord that the UN had mediated in 1994. Annan faulted both the Angolan government and the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) for having destroyed all hopes of peace in the country and warned that Angola was on the verge of a “catastrophic breakdown,” with malnutrition and disease rising as fighting spread. The possibilities for the UN to play a meaningful peacekeeping role had “ceased to exist” because both sides sought a fight to the finish. Matters deteriorated further in January when Angola announced that it would abandon the Lusaka Protocol altogether and deal only with UNITA Renovada, a splinter group that lacked political influence. In late February the Security Council voted to end UN cooperation in Angola; it expressed a willingness, however, to support a new UN presence there should one seem useful. Fighting broke out again in December.

      Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein asserted in early January that the “no-fly” zones that the U.K., the U.S., and France had imposed on Iraq in 1991–92 lacked any basis in international law. For the rest of the year, allied planes bombed Iraqi military installations in more than 15,000 sorties, and the Iraqis returned fire.

      Because inspecting possible weapons sites in Iraq was no longer feasible, the Security Council began in January to seek new ways of preventing Baghdad from replacing its arsenal of unconventional weapons and threatening its neighbours. The Council convened three expert panels to review all aspects of Iraq's relations with the UN: the condition of Iraqis living under sanctions, disarmament compliance, and progress in accounting for persons missing since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

      Observers reported in mid-January that Iraq, while blaming UN sanctions for the deaths of civilians, including children, had delayed buying and distributing food and medicines purchased through authorized oil sales that had earned millions of dollars. Iraq had also refused offers of help from several Arab nations trying to deliver relief goods. Secretary-General Annan urged Iraq to do more to help mothers and children under the “oil for food” program, and the Security Council allowed Iraq to exceed the approximately $5.3 billion six-month ceiling on oil sales to compensate for earlier shortfalls.

      In April the Security Council began debating a new policy toward Iraq, based on the three panels' recommendations and an earlier report by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) that alleged Iraq had consistently attempted to conceal weapons of mass destruction and had refused to surrender documents dealing with its arsenal. The disarmament panel urged the return of inspectors to Iraq to prevent it from reconstituting its proscribed weapons programs.

      Charges were made that the U.S. had used UNSCOM to spy on Iraq, but both Richard Butler, UNSCOM chief, and his predecessor, Rolf Ekeus, denied that the UN had ever accepted any U.S. assistance for any purpose other than disarming Iraq. On July 1 Butler resigned as UNSCOM head, and he later accused Annan of trying to destroy the commission because it was “too independent.” UN officials called Butler's charges “bizarre” and “errant nonsense.”

      At a Security Council meeting in March, Secretary-General Annan endorsed NATO air strikes launched the day before against Yugoslavia to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe of immense proportions” and as punishment for its rejection of the political settlement agreed upon earlier at Rambouillet, France, but he reprimanded NATO for acting without Council authority. On April 9 the secretary-general urged Yugoslavia to stop intimidating and expelling civilians from Kosovo, withdraw its forces from the province, allow refugees to return, permit an international military force to be deployed in the region, and allow international supervision of its compliance. He said that if Yugoslav authorities agreed to all five points, he would ask NATO to suspend bombing immediately.

      On June 2 the International Court of Justice rejected a Yugoslav petition that sought an immediate halt to hostilities because Yugoslavia had never accepted the court's jurisdiction over such disputes. The following day Yugoslav Pres. Slobodan Milosevic and the Yugoslav parliament accepted an international peace plan to end the conflict and allow refugees to return home. It provided for the withdrawal of Yugoslav military and police forces from Kosovo and authorized 50,000 foreign troops, the Kosovo Force (KFOR), to police the province. It also provided for an interim civilian presence to guarantee the inhabitants substantial autonomy within Yugoslavia. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) undertook to repatriate some 900,000 refugees who had fled abroad and a possible 600,000 others hiding in Kosovo.

      On June 10 the Security Council adopted a resolution unanimously (China abstaining) that ended the bombing. The special UN representative in Kosovo, Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Sergio Vieira de Mello, called the task of rebuilding the province “the greatest challenge” the UN had faced in its history. He began work immediately to establish an administration for Kosovo with an independent judiciary and civil service and a nonpolitical police force. Earlier in the month, after an 11-day tour in the combat area, he reported to the Security Council that Serb forces had engaged in “a rampage of killing, burning, looting, forced expulsion, violence, vendetta, and terror.”

      In January Milosevic barred Judge Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, from entering the country to gather evidence of mass killings. On July 13, however, Arbour returned aboard a KFOR helicopter to meet with investigators combing through evidence of murders and atrocities across Kosovo. She predicted on arrival that Milosevic would be tried at The Hague and announced indictments of Milosevic and four other senior officers, holding them personally responsible for crimes against humanity.

      By November investigators from ICTY had found 2,108 bodies in 195 grave sites throughout Kosovo. UN officials also reported that poverty in Yugoslavia had doubled since the Kosovo conflict began and that almost two-thirds of the population, predominantly Serbs, were living at or below the poverty line, an indication of the price the people paid for Milosevic's efforts to purge Kosovo of Albanians.

      Despite UN hopes to restore Kosovo's multiethnic composition, UNHCR in mid-August had to resettle several hundred Kosovar Serbs to prevent their being attacked and possibly killed by Kosovo Albanians. By late August UNHCR personnel in Serbia had registered 133,737 displaced Serbs and Roma (Gypsies) from Kosovo in Serbia and estimated that the true total of displaced persons was about 173,000. In all of Yugoslavia, including Montenegro, 157,259 of an estimated 196,500 displaced persons were registered. With 500,000–700,000 other Serbs displaced from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, Yugoslavia was home to more refugees than any other European country. The UN entered into a power-sharing pact with three Kosovo Albanian leaders on December 15 and brought them into the administration to help govern the province through an Administrative Council; the Serbs rejected an invitation to send a representative to the new body.

War Crimes.
      ICTY investigators at The Hague charged in March that the Croatian army had carried out summary executions, indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations, and “ethnic cleansing” in 1995 and recommended indictments of three Croatian generals. Several Bosnian Croat officials went on trial for having ordered the expulsion and killing of scores of Muslim families living in central Bosnia in 1993.

      On December 16 the UN released a report highly critical of both the UN and the U.S. for failing to prevent or end the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Both were found to have made weak and equivocal decisions when strong action was called for, and the U.S. was blamed for downplaying the crisis. Despite criticisms made of him personally, Annan called the report “thorough and objective.” He acknowledged the UN's failures in Rwanda and expressed his “deep remorse” that the organization had not done better.

      The combined efforts of the secretary-general and envoys from South Africa and Saudi Arabia led the Libyan government on April 5 to surrender two Libyans suspected of involvement in the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot., in 1988. By previous agreement the suspects were sent to The Netherlands for trial by Scottish judges under Scottish law. The UN immediately lifted severe sanctions on Libya that had gone into effect in 1992.

Human Rights.
      According to UNICEF, 300,000 children under the age of 18 were serving as regular soldiers, guerrilla fighters, spies, porters, cooks, suicide commandos, and sexual slaves in conflicts in 50 countries. During the 1990s, war had claimed the lives of more than 2 million children, left 6 million maimed or permanently disabled, created 1 million orphans, scarred 10 million with serious psychological trauma, and turned 24 million into refugees.

      UNICEF reported in March that slavery in The Sudan was increasing. The Sudan protested the report but tacitly admitted its truth by seeking assistance in wiping out the vestiges of slavery in the country. A UNICEF study of 27 countries released in September suggested that the human rights situation of women and girls in much of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union had worsened since the collapse of communism.

      The 53-member Commission on Human Rights voted 30–11 (12 abstentions) on April 28 in favour of a worldwide moratorium on executions. The U.S. and China, most frequent users of the death penalty, voted “no,” along with Bangladesh, Botswana, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, South Korea, and The Sudan. At its six-week session that started on March 22, the commission examined reports of human rights violations in Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, the U.S., Vietnam, and Yugoslavia.

      After having refused for years to countenance any form of independence or autonomy for East Timor, Indonesia agreed to let the province decide through a direct ballot whether to accept greater autonomy or seek full independence. Nearly a year of preparations was marred by violence organized by the Indonesian army, but the election took place under UN auspices on August 30, with the outcome an overwhelming (78.5%) vote in favour of independence. The Indonesian government evaded pledges to protect East Timor, and armed thugs began taking over the territory on September 5. Thousands of people were killed, including some local UN workers. Remaining UN staff members were trapped in their compound. The Security Council condemned the violence “in the strongest terms” and dispatched five officials to Jakarta to discuss the matter with the Indonesian government.

      Indonesia consistently rejected the idea of introducing an armed international police force into East Timor before the territory achieved independence. On September 10, however, Secretary-General Annan said that if the government did not accept international military assistance to restore order, its leaders might later be charged with crimes against humanity. Indonesian Pres. B.J. Habibie conceded that Indonesia could not control the violence and invited the UN to send a peacekeeping force to the territory.

      Militiamen drove as many as 200,000 East Timorese people from their homes over four days in early September. On September 13 Pres. Habibie met with a UN human rights official and agreed to establish an international commission to investigate atrocities. The following day the UN transported more than 1,300 refugees and 110 staff members to Darwin, Australia. About a dozen members of the UN mission remained in Dili, East Timor's capital, but moved from the compound to the Australian consulate for safety. Hours later, Indonesian soldiers, described by a UN spokesman as “the very people we asked to secure the compound,” looted the mission headquarters, appropriated computers, and destroyed vehicles.

      The first contingent of an Australian-led international peacekeeping force arrived in Dili on September 20 and secured the airport. The mission initially received a “benign and cordial reception,” but as the Indonesian troops withdrew, they smashed and burned their barracks, apparently to keep UN troops from using them. After securing Dili in about 12 days, Australian forces began to move west to deal with the militiamen.

      In early October Secretary-General Annan announced that the civil administration in East Timor was no longer functioning, the judiciary and courts had ceased to exist, and essential services were in danger of complete collapse. He recommended to the Security Council that the UN take full control of the territory and guide it to statehood over two to three years. Asian countries were lobbying for a Filipino officer to be named to command the international forces, and at the end of the year the UN chose Maj. Gen. Jamie de los Santos of the Philippines as commander and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Smith of Australian as deputy commander to lead UN peacekeepers in East Timor in 2000.

      The People's Consultative Assembly surrendered claims to the territory to the UN on October 20, and five days later the Security Council created the UN Transitional Administration to administer the territory until it became fully independent.

Richard N. Swift

▪ 1999

      Owing to the failure of the United States to pay its full dues to the UN since 1995, a virtually bankrupt UN limped through 1998 only because some members, including a few less-developed countries, provided interest-free loans, because a few nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) contributed funds, and because the UN did not reimburse European and Third World countries and Japan for providing peacekeeping troops. Enforced economies severely reduced the UN's peacekeeping capacity and impeded the work of the war crimes tribunals at The Hague. The most serious problem for the UN in 1998, however, came from Iraq, which put a complete end to the work of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with destroying its weapons of mass destruction.

      Iraq's ultimate challenge came on October 31, when it announced that it would no longer cooperate with UNSCOM, thus breaking agreements that ended the Persian Gulf war in 1991 and an accord made with Secretary-General Kofi Annan in February, as well as defying a succession of Security Council resolutions. Barring access to all monitoring sites, Iraq went beyond the cat-and-mouse game it had played with the UN when it banned various inspections in January, February, and August. In October the Security Council twice unanimously condemned the Iraqi action, calling on Iraq to rescind its decision and "resume immediate, complete and unconditional cooperation" with UNSCOM.

      On February 7 and 8, during the year's first major confrontation between the UN and Iraq, U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned that they would use force, if necessary, to press Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein to allow UNSCOM to fulfill its duties. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl also supported a U.S.-led military action should diplomatic efforts fail. Iraq then offered to open eight "presidential" sites to international inspection fro 60 days. On February 22, Secretary-General Annan negotiated an agreement with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad granting UN weapons inspectors unrestricted access if some inspections were observed by senior diplomats. Inspections resumed on March 5, and by April 3 UNSCOM teams had inspected all the presidential sites without finding any prohibited materials.

      All through the year UNSCOM head Richard Butler warned the Security Council that the commission found it increasingly difficult to determine whether Iraq had actually destroyed all of its weapons of mass destruction. His evidence showed that Iraq was biological and chemical weapons and refusing to supply an honest and full accountings. Iraq asserted that its project to produce VX nerve gas had failed, but UNSCOM found that Iraqis had actually produced four tons of it, still could produce VX in industrial quantities, and had not accounted for material sufficient to make 200 tons of the chemical weapon. On October 26 American, French, and Swiss scientists agreed that Iraq had loaded some of its missiles with VX and then used detergents to wash it off.

      On April 27 the Security Council extended sanctions against Iraq because of inadequate cooperation.The International Atomic Energy Agency reported on July 27 that, though it had no evidence that Iraq had nuclear weapons, Baghdad's failure to account for key nuclear equipment and technical blueprints left open the possibility that it had hidden the necessary documents and material for future use.

      On August 5, after Butler refused (because he lacked proof) to certify that Iraq had destroyed all its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq announced again that it would no longer cooperate with UNSCOM until it was "reformed" and moved from New York City to Geneva or Vienna to reduce alleged U.S. influence. The next day the Security Council called the Iraqi position "totally unacceptable" and urged Baghdad "not to implement its decision." On August 12 UNSCOM officials told the Security Council that Iraq was undermining the long-term monitoring program and that they no longer felt confident that it was not restarting prohibited weapons programs.

      Butler reported to the Council that Iraq not only was blocking surprise inspections but was also interfering with routine monitoring, and on September 9 the Council resolved unanimously not to review events in Iraq again until inspectors were allowed to resume their jobs. In November the U.S. with British support again began to build up forces to use against Iraq to enforce UN resolutions, and all operational UNSCOM teams, unable to function, left the country.

      On November 13, Anna appealed to Iraq to make a "wise decision" and resume cooperation with UNSCOM. Two days later, with planes already en route to attack Iraq, the U.S. and U.K. accepted new Iraqi "unconditional" assurances that UNSCOM inspectors could resume their work, and the attack was called off. UNSCOM inspectors recommenced their work, but on November 20, Iraq refused to produce documents that UNSCOM requested, saying that they were irrelevant or no longer existed. Butler reported the matter to the Security Council on November 24, the same day the Council approved the fist six-month renewal of the "oil for food" program.

      On December 8 UNSCOM launched intensive surprise searches for weapons, but was blocked the next day from inspecting the Baghdad headquarters of the ruling Baʿth Party. On December 15, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iraq's cooperation after November 17 had been satisfactory, but Butler accused Iraq once again of failing to cooperate.

      The Americans and British, acting on warnings given in November that Iraqi obstruction would invite military action without further notice, began a 70-hour missile and bombing attack on Iraq on December 16. Annan called the bombing a "sad day for the world," adding that his thoughts were with the 307 UN humanitarian workers still in the country (93 were later withdrawn and then returned after the military action ended). China, France, and Russia criticized the attacks as violating the UN Charter. Iraq then announced that it would under no circumstances allow UNSCOM to return to Iraq.

      On December 23, Iraq refused to allow UN observers monitoring its border with Kuwait to fly into its territory, and three days later it announced that it would fire on any aircraft in the "no flight" zones that the U.S., Britain, and France had created over Iraq in 1991 and 1992 to protect Kurdish minorities and the Shiʿite Muslims. Fire was exchanged between British and U.S. planes and Iraqi ground installations in late December.

Administration and Budget.
      The United States owed $1,180,000,000 to the UN at the year's end. The secretary-general said on March 9 that the only beneficiaries of a "cash-starved" UN were "aggressors . . . violators of human rights, drug dealers, and [illegal] arms merchants." He noted he had reduced the budget, engaged fewer personnel, tightened management, streamlined legislative processes, and introduced "sunset provisions" for programs as they expired.

      The U.S. Congress included nearly $1 billion for the UN in the budget for fiscal 1998, but it barred the use of federal funds for international family-planning organizations. President Clinton vetoed the bill on October 21 because it tied UN dues to "unrelated and controversial social provisions, which endanger the health of women . . . even though . . . countries where women have access to strong family planning actually had fewer abortions." Instead, the U.S. paid $197 million before a two-year deadline on arrears set by the UN Charter would have deprived it of its vote in the General Assembly.

Former Yugoslavia.
      During the year UN and NATO troops captured several alleged war criminals and turned them over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. The court rendered several judgments against prisoners charged with having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity between 1992 and 1995.

      The Security Council, with China abstaining, imposed an arms embargo on Yugoslavia on March 31 to press Yugoslav Pres. Slobodan Milosevic to abandon the use of violence against ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo. On September 23 the Council threatened international intervention if the attacks continued. It called for an immediate cease-fire and the start of negotiations between the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav army and the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army.

      On October 1 the Security Council condemned atrocities against civilians in Kosovo and demanded that the guilty parties be caught and punished. Four days later the secretary-general told the Council that, despite its resolutions, Serbian security forces continued to carry out punitive operations against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in a campaign of "terror and violence." On October 24 the Council (with China and Russia abstaining) called on Yugoslavia to implement fully and promptly its pledge to remove its troops from Kosovo and to allow ethnic Albanian refugees to return. Threats of military action by NATO troops led Milosevic to comply. On November 5, however, he insisted that Kosovo's problems were internal and barred investigators dispatched by the international tribunal from conducting a fact-finding mission in Kosovo to identify people responsible for shelling and torching civilian areas and kidnapping and killing civilian noncombatants. The Security Council on November 17 told Yugoslavia to let the investigators carry out their assignment, but they were not allowed to proceed.

Democratic Republic of the Congo.
      After weeks during which the government of Pres. Laurent Kabila harassed investigators and then detained a Canadian member of the UN team, the UN on April 9 suspended its investigation into alleged massacres of Rwandan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire until May 29, 1997) during 1996-97. On April 15 Secretary-General Annan withdrew the investigators. On November 28 leaders of the Congo and neighbouring countries supporting armed rebels in the Congo agreed, after talks with Annan in Paris, to sign a cease-fire agreement by mid-December. Rebel leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba said, however, that fighting would continue until details of the cease-fire became clearer. Annan also proposed a peacekeeping force along the borders of the Congo to reduce interference from Rwanda and Uganda.

      In late October UNICEF, after having lost $1 million in equipment to widespread pillaging, announced that it was suspending operations in rebel-controlled regions in Congo.

      On April 30 the Security Council created a third judicial chamber for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanz., in order to to speed its proceedings. Former Rwandan prime minister Jean Kambanda on May 1 pleaded guilty to charges of genocide, the first time that anyone had entered such a plea before an international tribunal, including proceedings at Nürnberg, Ger., after World War II. On September 4 the tribunal sentenced Kambanda to life in prison for his part in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi and some allied Hutu in Rwanda, and he thus became the first person to be sentenced for the crime of genocide.

      On September 2 the tribunal had handed down its first guilty verdict of genocide, against a former mayor, Jean-Paul Akayesu, convicted of responsibility for the deaths of more than 2,000 people and the rapes of dozens of Tutsi women. On October 2 he was sentenced to serve three life terms plus 80 years concurrently for nine counts of genocide, rape, and crimes against humanity.

Human Rights.
      On December 9, the 50th anniversary of the international convention against genocide, the General Assembly for the first time listed anti-Semitism as a form of racism. On December 10, at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, the UN opened a one-week celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on October 5. A Chinese UN delegate said that a 10-day visit to China by Mary Robinson, UN high commissioner for human rights, in September had helped both sides understand each other better.

      The Commission on Human Rights condemned Israel on March 27 for killing and torturing Palestinians and on April 3, for the second year in a row—after having heard criticisms of U.S. courts for unfair, arbitrary, and racist use of the death penalty—called for a worldwide moratorium on death penalty executions. The commission criticized Iran on April 22 for using torture, amputations, and stonings as punishments. A day earlier it had refused for the first time since 1992 to call on Cuba to release people detained for political activities, and on October 14 the General Assembly, by a vote of 157-2 (U.S. and Israel), urged the U.S. to end its economic embargo of Cuba.

      The Security Council on March 27 unanimously approved a 1,350-member all-African peacekeeping mission for the Central African Republic to succeed a comparable French force that departed on April 15. In July the UN reported that more civilians (17) than soldiers (13) had been killed during the year in UN missions around the world. On October 29 the UN asked countries contributing to peacekeeping operations to send no civilian police officers or military observers under age 25 and to send troops preferably over age 21 and never under 18. The objective was to ensure that only "experienced, mature, and well trained" people served as peacekeepers. The UN also wished to avoid any apparent conflict with its campaign against children in combat. At the year's end the U.S. and Somalia were the only two countries that had not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the U.S. was blocking efforts to amend the treaty to raise the age limit for combat from 15 to 18. The U.S. wanted a 17-year-old cutoff because Americans could take part in some military service at that age.

Arms Trade.
      On April 23, at meetings of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna, the U.S., Canada, and Brazil sponsored a resolution aimed at curbing illicit trafficking in firearms. It marked the first time that the U.S. had endorsed a UN resolution regulating firearms.

      Just before the General Assembly met on June 8-9 to discuss narcotics, more than 500 prominent people from throughout the world wrote to Secretary-General Annan stating that the war on drugs was "causing more harm than drug abuse itself." They believed that the UN's antidrug efforts had not been effective because illicit drugs remained the world's most lucrative cash crop. They charged that the antidrug war "empowered organized criminals, corrupted governments, . . . eroded internal security, stimulated violence and distorted economic markets and moral values." The Assembly called on governments to establish effective drug-prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs by 2003 and to develop strategies for eliminating or significantly reducing illicit drug crop cultivation by 2008.

Asian Economic Crisis.
      After reviewing the financial statements of the largest companies and banks in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) concluded in a report released in November that the Asian financial crisis would have been detected earlier if the institutions involved had been forced to follow stronger accounting rules. UNCTAD and the World Bank urged the five major American auditing firms that audited most of the large Asian banks that failed in 1997 to use the same strong auditing tests on financial statements in Asia that they used in the U.S. and Europe. The International Labour Organisation reported on December 1 that the social costs of the Asian financial crisis were far higher than first thought and were "dramatically worsening."

      On July 17 in Rome the UN completed the statute for a permanent international criminal court. A total of 120 nations endorsed the treaty, 21 abstained, and 7 (China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, Yemen, and the U.S.) opposed it. Negotiators resumed talks on November 2 in Buenos Aires, Arg., over details in the Kyoto Protocol (1997) on global warming. Though the treaty had been signed by more than 150 countries—including the U.S. on November 12 over congressional opposition—little progress had been made in cutting emissions of greenhouse gases throughout the world. On November 11, however, Argentina indicated that it would adopt, as binding, targets for controlling emissions of industrial gases, the first less-developed country to do so. The Buenos Aires meetings ended the following day, and negotiators accepted a two-year schedule for adopting operational rules for cutting emissions of waste industrial gases believed to cause global warming.


▪ 1998

      Kofi Annan of Ghana) (Annan, Kofi Atta ) took office on Jan. 1, 1997, as the new secretary-general of the United Nations, and change was in the air throughout the year. Annan's reforms were controversial, but the General Assembly approved most of them. In other major developments, the UN's authority was seriously challenged by Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo [Kinshasa]; formerly Zaire), and it faced declining enthusiasm for its development and refugee programs.

Organization and Budget.
      The UN was owed more than $2 billion by its member nations; the U.S. alone owed $1.3 billion. On January 9 Annan declared that the UN "cannot be expected to move forward if it is dragged down by unpaid dues." He also described some criticisms of the organization as "misinformation and disinformation." In a meeting with Annan on January 23, U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton promised to urge the U.S. Congress to pay its back dues. He acknowledged that the U.S. could not expect "to lead through the United Nations unless we are prepared to pay our own way." He also urged Annan to eliminate waste, streamline the UN staff, and wipe out "overlap and abuse."

      On March 17 Annan outlined plans for streamlining the UN. He proposed reducing the UN budget of $2,480,000,000 for 1998 and 1999 by $123,000,000, shifting some $200,000,000 million from administrative expenses to development aid, leaving 1,000 empty staff posts unfilled, merging three separate departments dealing with economic and social issues into one, coordinating field operations more tightly, consolidating the separate administrative, personnel, and procurement services that aid agencies maintained in New York City, overhauling the information department, reducing paper output by 25%, and drawing up a staff code of conduct. Referring to the U.S. Congress's commitment to pay if the UN reformed, he said, "We are giving them reform. I hope they will deliver on their part of the bargain." On November 13, however, Congress made what a White House spokesman called the "boneheaded" decision not to erase the U.S. debt.

      On July 17, at a special General Assembly session, Annan proposed a further "quiet revolution." He suggested creating executive committees for four central areas of the organization's work: peace and security, economic and social affairs, development operations, and humanitarian affairs. A Senior Management Group would act as a Cabinet. His plan reduced the number of top-level administrators from about 25 to fewer than a dozen. His proposal to appoint a deputy secretary-general to take charge when he himself was away from New York City was accepted by the General Assembly. He also proposed funding a $1 billion revolving fund to carry the UN through its financial problems; disbanding staff offices serving the Trusteeship Council, which had completed the tasks set for it in the Charter; and appointing a commission to study possible changes in the Charter and in the role of the specialized agencies. Annan asked the world not to judge the UN by proposed cuts or changed structures but "by the relief and refuge that we provide to the poor, to the hungry, the sick and threatened: the peoples of the world whom the United Nations exists to serve." Before the Assembly adjourned, it approved Annan's proposals.

      On February 1 Annan urged the World Economic Forum, a meeting of hundreds of business and government leaders, to invest in the poorest countries, 100 of which were worse off currently than 15 years earlier. A good example was set by Ted Turner, founder of the Cable News Network, who pledged on September 18 to contribute as much as $1 billion of Time Warner Inc. stock over 10 years to support UN programs and called on other wealthy people to follow his example. Annan called the donation "a wonderful gesture."

UN Forces.
      UN members evinced a cautious mood about peacekeeping and tended to favour placing the responsibility for new operations on coalitions of interested countries that would use their own forces with Security Council approval. Italy adopted this approach to meet Albania's request for assistance in quelling civil unrest stemming from the collapse of fraudulent "pyramid" savings schemes. On March 28, by a vote of 14-0 with one abstention (China, which called the matter "internal"), the Council dispatched 6,000 troops to Albania to oversee international relief efforts, help restore order, and put an end to civil strife.

      On October 29 the Council voted unanimously to impose travel sanctions against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) to punish the organization for flouting peace accords signed in 1994 that required UNITA to disarm its fighters and integrate them into a national army. The sanctions were designed to prevent UNITA from buying arms abroad and flying them into parts of the country that it controlled. UN members were ordered to ban all flights departing from or landing at unauthorized Angolan airfields, where about 40 weekly flights previously operated illegally, garnering $500,000 a year in illicit diamond exports.

      On April 9 an Iraqi plane flew more than 100 religious pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, violating the air embargo imposed after the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Despite U.S. pressure, the Security Council failed to condemn the flight. On June 4 the Security Council agreed to permit Iraq to sell $2 billion in oil to pay for food, medicine, and other essential civilian items for a second six-month period. The U.S. approved but criticized the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs for failing to have enough monitors in place and for delaying the distribution of supplies.

      Iraq refused throughout the year to allow UN inspectors full access to its arms installations. On October 23 the Security Council's hard line against Iraq seemed to weaken when China, Egypt, France, Kenya, and Russia declined to support a resolution expressing the Council's "firm intention" to ban the travel of Iraqi officials who obstructed inspections. On October 29 Iraq moved to expel all Americans working for the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), which was in charge of destroying weapons in Iraq, accusing them of spying. It then barred two American weapons inspectors and one American representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency from entering the country and refused to allow UN inspection teams with American members to carry on their work. This order led the Security Council unanimously on the same day to warn Iraq of "serious consequences" if it did not reverse its decision, and the UN teams refused as of November 3 to operate without their American colleagues. Thus, Iraqi orders aimed at the Americans effectively restored the unity of the Council.

      Richard Butler, an Australian diplomat and arms control expert who succeeded Rolf Ekeus as executive chairman of UNSCOM in July, condemned the Iraqi move and said that he would not allow his teams to work "on the basis that Iraq can say . . . which person from which country is or isn't acceptable." Ekeus and Butler both affirmed that in the previous 6 years the Iraqi government had lied, told half-truths, hidden or destroyed evidence and documents, delayed UNSCOM's work, barred inspectors from talking with officials or employees in factories who could supply them with information, and shuffled weapons and materials around the country.

      During November Iraqi officials threatened several times to shoot down any U-2 surveillance planes flying over Iraqi territory, which prompted the U.S. to warn that any such attack would be an "act of war." The flights were temporarily suspended while Annan dispatched diplomats to Iraq to attempt to defuse the crisis, but the diplomats returned to New York City empty-handed. The surveillance flights resumed on November 10 without incident. Meanwhile, UNSCOM charged Iraq with moving equipment out of camera range, disabling surveillance equipment by covering camera lenses, and turning off lights trained on suspected weapons sites. On November 12 the Council banned Iraqi officials who did not cooperate with UNSCOM from traveling abroad and warned of "further action" if Iraq continued to defy the UN. It also condemned Iraq's threats against the U-2 planes and its attempts to hide equipment, calling these acts threats to international peace and security. On November 13 Butler ordered all members of all the teams to withdraw from Iraq. On November 21 UN inspectors returned to Baghdad in accordance with an agreement brokered by Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov. They resumed work on November 22, although Iraq barred them from inspecting "palaces" belonging to Saddam Hussein and other "sensitive" sites, some with ideal space for producing or storing weapons.

      The Arab League on September 21 voted to defy UN sanctions by permitting planes carrying Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, to land on the territory of member nations and to permit flights to Libya for humanitarian and religious purposes. The sanctions were imposed on Libya in 1992 over its refusal to surrender suspects wanted in the U.S. and Britain in connection with the 1988 bombing of a Pan American plane over Lockerbie, Scot., which killed 270 people. Pres. Nelson Mandela of South Africa visited Libya in late October, crossing the frontier by road in order to comply with the embargo, and while in Libya called for the lifting of sanctions and suggested that the Lockerbie case go before an international tribunal.

      The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, ratified by 165 countries, was in 1997 the subject of intense negotiations in Germany and Japan over government commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. Scientists had been warning for years that if the heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubled over the preindustrial levels in the 19th century, the worldwide consequences would be very serious. On June 23 representatives of 131 nations gathered in New York City to assess their progress and concluded that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to avoid the carbon dioxide increase because the world's economic and political systems could not change their practices rapidly enough. The final negotiations at Kyoto, Japan, in December produced an agreement to reduce emissions between the years 2008 and 2012 by 8% in European Union countries, by 7% in the U.S., and by 6% in Japan. Less-developed nations such as China and India committed themselves only to reducing emissions voluntarily.

Human Rights.
      For the seventh straight year, the Human Rights Commission failed to condemn China's human rights record. The vote on April 15 was 27-17, the widest margin ever. Calling the vote "a victory of cooperation over confrontation," China's delegate, Wu Jianmin, criticized the draft resolution as "an outrageous distortion of China's reality" reflecting Western attempts to "dominate China's fate."

      Another group composed of individual experts, the UN Committee on Human Rights, condemned Israel on May 9 for sanctioning torture in questioning suspected terrorists. The committee acknowledged "the terrible dilemma that Israel confronts in dealing with terrorist threats" but argued that the 1987 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment prohibited torture even during wartime or when a threat of war existed.

      A special investigator, Carl-Johan Groth of Sweden, reported to the Commission on Human Rights in March that Cuba's destruction of two civil airplanes on Feb. 24, 1996, violated the pilots' right to life. Groth pointed out that Cuba had other means available, including radio communication, for warning off the planes but instead deliberately proceeded to destroy them. Groth added that Cuba was continuing a campaign of repression against dissident groups in the country.

      On March 10 the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague opened a trial of three Muslims and a Croat accused of having raped, tortured, and killed Serbs during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The tribunal on June 24 began the trial of Gen. Tihomir Blaskic, Bosnian Croat commander of a strategic region in central Bosnia, who was charged with the bombarding, plundering, and pillaging of four towns in the Lasva Valley, where more than 100 Muslim civilians were murdered, tortured, or driven from their homes. On July 14 the tribunal sentenced Dusan Tadic, a Bosnian Serb, to 97 years in prison for 11 counts of killing and torturing his Muslim and Croat neighbours during the Bosnian civil war. The longest sentence imposed for any single crime was 20 years, the other sentences to run concurrently. On October 6, 10 Bosnian Croats, including one of the most wanted war crimes suspects in Bosnia, Dario Kordic, accused of having engineered an "ethnic cleansing" campaign, turned themselves in to the tribunal, which then had 20 suspects in custody.

      On February 28 Annan called for the UN to send a military force to help deliver relief and extricate tens of thousands of refugees caught in the spreading warfare in eastern Zaire, but the Security Council declined to do so, a decision that Annan considered mistaken. Laurent Kabila ) (Kabila, Laurent Desire ), president of Congo (Kinshasa), who toppled Pres. Mobutu Sese Seko) (Mobutu Sese Seko Koko Ngbendu wa za Banga ) on May 17, soon began a "cat and mouse" game with the UN. He repeatedly rebuffed efforts to search for evidence that Rwandans supporting his rebellion had helped kill more than 500,000 people, most of them Tutsi, and that other massacres had taken place well after his forces dominated the fighting. The secretary-general in May and October had to recall forensic investigators from the Congo because Kabila's government prevented them from carrying out their mission. Investigators resumed their work on December 8 but were forced to stop again on December 15 after mobs, purportedly government-inspired, demonstrated outside their camp.

      The Chemical Weapons Convention prepared by the Disarmament Conference and signed by 167 nations, 102 of which ratified it, went into effect on April 29. The treaty prohibited nations from developing, producing, stockpiling, or using chemical arms and called on them to destroy existing stocks within 10 years. The U.S. Senate consented to its ratification on April 24, and the Russian lower house approved it on October 31. Iraq, Libya, and Syria, which had chemical weapons, did not ratify the treaty.

      This article updates United Nations.

▪ 1997

      For friends and employees of the United Nations as well as for beneficiaries of its programs, 1996 was a depressing year. An intense battle, provoked by the United States, ensued over the choice of a secretary-general to succeed Boutros Boutros-Ghali on Jan. 1, 1997; the organization was technically bankrupt; many UN activities failed to yield the positive results that had inspired them; and the UN was uncertain about its future role.

Organizational Matters.
      Throughout the year the U.S. opposed a second term for the secretary-general, arguing that his organizational reforms were inadequate. Other nations thought the U.S. position unseemly because the U.S. was about $1.5 billion behind in its dues payments. (The UN operating budget was depleted by the end of April, with members' unpaid assessments totaling $2.8 billion.) UN officials defended the organization's record. In April and during the summer, Joseph E. Connor, undersecretary-general for administration and management, publicized the secretary-general's plans to cut $250 million from UN operating expenses by the end of 1997; to eliminate 800 professional jobs and trim the Secretariat from 10,000 to 9,000 positions; to scale down the number and quantity of reports, publications, and policy analyses; and to reduce construction and repair costs. He also pointed out that the secretary-general for the first time in UN history had presented a no-growth balanced budget. Connor complained, however, that budgetary restrictions prevented the UN from making needed repairs to its New York City building beyond those required to bring it up to local safety standards.

      Pamela Johnson, executive director of the UN efficiency board, reported that the group had collected 300 cost-saving ideas from UN departments and had put some staff members on call with beepers rather than have them report for standby work on weekends. Other changes required action by member governments, whose decisions often caused additional expenses.

      The U.S. was supposed to contribute 25% of all UN funds, but on February 6 the secretary-general proposed reducing that percentage to 15% or 20% in order to diminish the UN's heavy dependence on Washington and to "better reflect the fact that this organization is indeed the instrument of all nations." The U.S. reportedly would accept the 20% figure but would not like its share to fall below 15% lest its influence decline proportionately. Its diminishing influence was illustrated when on November 8 the General Assembly for the first time denied it a seat on an important administrative and budgetary committee.

      Reduced U.S. financial support affected the work of UN-connected agencies and programs, such as the UN Population Fund, which in 1996 could spend only 14% of the budget available for fiscal 1995. Nafis Sadik, the fund's executive director, said in February, "The way U.S. funding is going, 17 to 18 million unwanted pregnancies [and] . . . a couple of million abortions will take place, and . . . 60,000 to 80,000 women are going to die because of those abortions . . . all because the money has been reduced overnight."

      On November 19 the United States vetoed a second term for Boutros-Ghali, as it had previously threatened to do, and on December 13 the Security Council named the undersecretary-general for peacekeeping, Kofi Annan of Ghana, to succeed Boutros-Ghali. The General Assembly formally elected Annan on December 17.

Arms Control.
      The first review conference of the 1980 Geneva Convention on Inhumane Weapons agreed on May 3 that signatories should curtail the use of land mines over the next decade and, eventually, make them easily detectable or self-deactivating. The conference estimated that 110 million mines were scattered around the world and killed as many as 10,000 people annually. Critics called the conference a "deplorable failure" for not completely banning the mines. (See MILITARY AFFAIRS: Special Report (Combating the Land Mine Scourge ).)

      On July 8 the International Court of Justice voted 7-7, on whether to adopt an advisory opinion that the General Assembly had asked for in 1994 about the legality of nuclear weapons; the court president then cast the deciding vote, in favour of the opinion. The court stated that the weapons themselves did not violate international law but warned that nations might use them lawfully only in self-defense if they were threatened with extinction.

      On September 24 U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton became the first leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which aimed at banning all nuclear testing. Earlier, on August 20, India announced that it would not sign the treaty because the document lacked a timetable for eliminating existing nuclear weapons. The 61-nation standing Conference on Disarmament, a UN body, had worked on the treaty for two years. Another product of the conference, a Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits nations from developing, producing, stockpiling, or using these arms and calls on them to destroy existing stocks, received the 65 ratifications needed to go into effect in the spring of 1997.

Human Rights.
      In January the UN arranged to send human rights monitors to Burundi to check on ethnic friction there, financing the operation with a $500,000 donation from the European Union. The UN wanted to send 35 monitors for a year but could not find funds to pay the $6.6 million cost.

      On January 31 the Security Council demanded by a vote of 13-0 (China and Russia abstaining) that The Sudan extradite to Ethiopia before May 10 the three people suspected of having tried to kill Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak on June 26, 1995. On April 3 the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, presented evidence intended to prove that The Sudan was a "viper's nest of terrorism." When The Sudan failed to extradite the three men, the Security Council put into effect travel and diplomatic sanctions it had approved on April 26, and on August 16 it imposed an embargo on air traffic to The Sudan.

      On February 19 the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda indicted on charges of genocide two Rwandans who were in jail in Zambia. If the men came to trial, it would be the first judicial proceeding to have stemmed from the 1994 massacres in Rwanda, in which an estimated half million people died. The tribunal had indicted eight former Rwandan officials in December 1995, but at the end of 1996 none had been brought to trial.

      The UN Commission on Human Rights, meeting in Geneva from March 18 to April 26, was unable to adopt a resolution authorizing an investigation of human rights violations in China because China marshaled Third World nations into a bloc against the West and its allies. The vote was widely interpreted as a body blow to the commission. In other actions the commission criticized Cuba and, over the solitary opposition of the U.S., joined the Security Council in condemning Israel for military attacks in Lebanon without mentioning the activities of Hezbollah or other anti-Israeli militants.

      On July 26 the UN Human Rights Committee, composed of independent experts from around the world, accused Nigeria of violating most of the provisions of the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by engaging in extrajudicial and summary executions, by allowing prisoners to "disappear," and by practicing torture. On October 7 the secretary-general advised Afghanistan's new Islamic rulers that the UN objected to their extreme discrimination against women and warned of "serious repercussions for the foreign-aid programs there" (at least 10 major UN agencies or offices were operating in Afghanistan in 1996). On December 11 the UN resumed aid to Afghanistan after its Taliban rulers freed four aid workers they had arrested.

      Although results of UN actions were not always obvious, UN observers in Guatemala received a highly positive tribute from Rodrigo Asturias, commander of a rebel faction in the country. In an interview published in March, he said, "Three years ago, human rights was a subversive topic [in Guatemala]—you could be killed for mentioning it. The UN turned it into a priority topic on the national agenda." Moreover, the UN was influential in promoting a peace treaty, which was signed on December 29.

Former Yugoslavia.
      On June 18, after the Balkan states signed an arms control agreement, the Security Council ended its embargo of heavy weapons against the former Yugoslav republics. Then, on October 1, the Council voted unanimously to end embargoes on trade, travel, and transport against Serbia and Montenegro as a reward for Serbian Pres. Slobodan Milosevic's assistance in bringing peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      UN members continued pressing former Yugoslavia to cooperate with the UN International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague and to settle claims and other issues with its neighbours. The unwillingness of the Yugoslav states to cooperate in punishing war criminals and the reluctance of the NATO forces to apprehend alleged criminals badly hampered the tribunal. The tribunal's frustration became manifest in late July when its president, Antonio Cassese, maintained that "military leaders and all dictators" would conclude that they were free to commit acts of genocide if the Bosnian Serb leaders indicted for atrocities were not brought to justice. Even worse, he concluded, the credibility of the UN and other international institutions would be damaged. The tribunal was especially eager to get custody of the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic (see BIOGRAPHIES (Karadzic, Radovan )), who, though forced to resign formally from Serbian political life on July 19, eluded arrest largely because NATO refused to assist the tribunal. Late in the year only 7 of 75 indicted suspects were in the tribunal's custody, and on October 30 the tribunal called for the arrest of four more suspects who were believed to be working as policemen in northwestern Bosnia. Meanwhile, UN investigators continued collecting evidence of genocide allegedly committed by Bosnian Serbs against Muslims in 1995, and the tribunal handed down its first verdict on November 29, sentencing a former Bosnian Serb soldier to 10 years in prison for having assisted in the massacre of Muslim civilians near Srebrenica in 1995.

      On June 11 and 12, citing "national security considerations," Iraq barred UN weapons inspectors from examining three of eight industrial and military installations 24 km (15 mi) west of Baghdad. UN inspectors were also denied an opportunity to enter a base of Iraq's elite Republican Guard in Baghdad. Rolf Ekeus, the UN's chief weapons inspector, went to Iraq a week later backed by Security Council demands that Iraq give full access to its inspectors. On June 24 he and Tariq Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime minister, signed an agreement to speed the process of eliminating all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and to allow UN inspectors "immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access" to all suspect sites. Iraq renewed its pledges on August 28. Ekeus warned, however, that Iraq continued to conceal "some important components of weapons and telltale documents." His caution was borne out when on July 18 and August 17 Iraq again delayed UN teams from inspecting suspicious areas, and he told the Security Council on December 18 that he believed Baghdad was hiding more operational missiles than inspectors had suspected. On December 30 the Security Council condemned Iraq for its failure to cooperate with the UN.

      Meanwhile, the UN announced on June 20 that it had destroyed a plant in Iraq that manufactured botulism, anthrax, and other germ-warfare agents. Demolition work took four weeks and was carried out by Iraqi workers monitored by UN observers. Iraq originally contended that the factory produced animal feed but under UN pressure admitted in 1995 that the plant had a more sinister purpose.

      After intermittent negotiations that began in February, Iraq and the UN signed an agreement on May 20 allowing the Iraqis to sell oil for the first time since they invaded Kuwait in 1990. The proceeds ($2 billion every six months) were to be used only for humanitarian needs of the civilian population, and the sales were to take place under UN supervision. One-third of the money was to go to a compensation fund for victims of the Iraqi invasion, and $130 million-$150 million of the relief goods would be reserved for Kurds in northern Iraq. Operational details remained to be worked out, but Iraq's incursion into Kurdish territory in late August and its intermittent interference with the work of UN inspectors led the secretary-general to postpone the oil-for-food plan until December 9.

      At the end of May, the UN suspended the work of its monitors in the Western Sahara who were identifying persons eligible to participate in a referendum to determine the status of the territory. Their efforts had been at an impasse since December 1995 because Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement found it impossible to agree to give the vote to certain tribal groups. The Polisario Front insisted that those groups had no relationship to the Sahara and accused Morocco of infiltrating them into the Sahara to influence the vote.

      All 2,000 U.S. troops in a UN force of nearly 6,000 had been withdrawn from Haiti by mid-April, but the government of Haiti and UN officials were eager to retain a small peacekeeping force in the country to promote national stability. China, seeking to punish Haiti for its ties to Taiwan, did its best to frustrate the plan to retain the force, but a last-minute offer by Canada to pay for 600-700 troops beyond the authorized number ended the opposition, and on February 29 the Security Council authorized the force (1,200 troops and 300 international civilian police officers under a Canadian command) to continue its work. On December 5 the Security Council extended the mission until May 31, 1997.

      On December 15 seven UN members (Austria, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Sweden) agreed to establish the Standby Forces High Readiness Brigade, which the UN could deploy to crisis spots. (RICHARD N. SWIFT)

      This article updates United Nations.

▪ 1996


      Fiftieth-anniversary celebrations for the United Nations were somewhat muted. In San Francisco on June 26, only two heads of state (U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton and Poland's Pres. Lech Walesa) celebrated the signing of the UN Charter there in 1945. Clinton's address was anything but celebratory; he advised the UN to trim its "bloated" bureaucracy and refocus its missions lest "new isolationists" force the U.S. to withdraw from the organization. Others, too, considered the UN overstretched, lacking modern management practices and clear priorities. While developed countries recommended curtailing UN operations, however, less developed countries wanted them expanded.

      Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's message was not cheering either; he warned that the UN was going broke. By October 1995 member states owed the UN $3.7 billion; the U.S. was the most delinquent ($1,255,000,000 in arrears on October 20). Earlier, Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chrétien complained, "We are growing tired of UN-bashing, and it is especially irritating when it comes from those . . . not paying their bills." Britain's Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind (see BIOGRAPHIES (Rifkind, Malcolm Leslie )) on October 2 objected that the U.S. enjoyed "representation without taxation." International tribunals established to prosecute charges of genocide and war crimes in Rwanda and the Balkans were partially crippled by shortages of funds. Even efforts at reform slowed because the organization could not afford to bring experts together to recommend changes. The UN stayed afloat only by borrowing from peacekeeping budgets $125 million for general purposes.

      On the other hand, on June 26 in London, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II called the UN "one of the most remarkable outcomes of the Second World War." Other UN defenders insisted that critics had lost all sense of proportion, given that the $2.5 billion UN budget for the whole world was less than Americans spend annually at barbershops, beauty parlours, and health clubs. UN expenses amounted to $2 per person, in contrast to the $150 per capita governments spent on their military machines. On October 26 Karl T. Paschke, undersecretary-general for UN internal oversight services, conceded that waste existed but that he had "not found the UN . . . more corrupt . . . than any other comparable public organization."

      Celebrations in New York City marking the 50th anniversary of the Charter's taking effect (Oct. 24, 1945) were more festive. Before they began, Pope John Paul II on October 5 urged the UN to serve as a model "family of nations," with rich, strong countries looking after the interests of weaker, more vulnerable ones. Even some of the more than 140 heads of state and heads of government who attended the official celebrations spoke kind words. Clinton praised the UN on October 22 for nourishing once-starving children, immunizing them against diseases, educating students, sustaining the environment, saving refugees, and, in some areas, preserving peace and promoting human rights. Others noted that the UN was able to withdraw its Observer Mission in El Salvador on April 28 after having helped heal the violence and divisions of 12 years of civil war. Heads of state also hailed UN specialized agencies for having eliminated smallpox and acknowledged that the now inactive Trusteeship Council had speeded decolonization.

Former Yugoslavia.
      Much of the disillusion with the UN had arisen from the failure of the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to "keep" a peace that never existed in former Yugoslavia. As Clinton emphasized in San Francisco, however, the fault lay in asking the "Blue Helmets" to "undertake missions they cannot be expected to handle [and] . . . to work miracles while [states were] denying them the military and political support required and the modern command-and-control systems they need."

      In response to Croatia's demands, the Security Council reduced the number of UN forces there from over 13,000 on March 31 to 2,500 on November 15 and reconstituted them as the UN Confidence Restoration Operation in Croatia. It also restricted UNPROFOR to Bosnia and Herzegovina and restructured its units in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the UN Preventive Deployment Force. Because UN forces never received the mandate, weapons, or political backing to contain the combatants, they were unable in May to prevent Bosnian Serbs from seizing over 300 peacekeepers to use as "human shields" against NATO air strikes near Pale; were incapable in July, despite NATO air strikes, to defend Srebrenica and Zepa, "safe areas" established to protect Muslim communities in Bosnia; failed to keep a steady movement of supplies into Sarajevo or to keep control of the heavy weapons around the city; and could not stop "ethnic cleansing." When Bosnian Serbs stormed Srebrenica on July 11, they allegedly perpetrated the worst war crimes in Europe since World War II, summarily killing 6,000 people, mostly Muslims. On July 27, to protest the failure to halt these atrocities and the international acceptance of the occupation of the safe areas, Tadeusz Mazowiecki resigned as UN chief investigator in former Yugoslavia. He accused the UN of hypocrisy in claiming to defend Bosnia while actually abandoning it.

      Acknowledging UN failures, the secretary-general gradually disengaged the UN from Bosnia. In Vienna on March 2, he foresaw the need to "contract out" peacekeeping operations to regional organizations or to multinational forces led by states with special interests in the disputes, like the 1994 operations by France in Rwanda and by the U.S. in Haiti. (UN peacekeepers would remain in Haiti until February 1996, after the next Haitian president was scheduled to be inaugurated.) On May 31 Boutros-Ghali suggested that the Security Council replace UN troops with multinational military forces commanded by officers from nations contributing troops. On July 26 he relinquished his authority over NATO air attacks in Bosnia to ground commanders. On November 1 he replaced Yasushi Akashi, his special envoy in the region, with Undersecretary-General Kofi Annan, who also became special envoy to NATO. The UN began on October 5 to scale down its troops from 30,500 to 21,000, partly because of the fiscal crisis and as the first move to transfer authority to NATO. Russia charged that employing NATO illegally bypassed the Security Council.

      On July 25 the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, meeting at The Hague, indicted Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, and Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military commander, as war criminals. On November 9 it indicted three senior officers in Serbia's army, suggesting that indictments were moving closer to the Serbian political leadership, perhaps even to Pres. Slobodan Milosevic himself. On November 13 the tribunal charged six Bosnian Croat leaders with war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with scores of civilian deaths and the burning of whole villages in central Bosnia. The indictments subjected those named to arrest, prosecution, and punishment anywhere in the world. Only one Serbian alleged war criminal was in custody; the tribunal held preliminary hearings on his case on April 26.

      Under UN and U.S. pressure, Balkan leaders began peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, on November 1 and signed a treaty in Paris on December 14. On November 12 secessionist Serbs in Croatia agreed to give up eastern Slavonia to Croatia over two years. The Security Council was to establish a "transitional administration" there and would deploy an international force to maintain peace and security. The Security Council officially transferred its peacekeeping authority to a NATO-led force on December 20. Judge Richard Goldstone, chief prosecutor for the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal, warned on November 14 against any peace deal that shielded suspected war criminals from trial. UN refugee authorities began planning to help some three million people displaced by the Yugoslav wars to return home.

      The Security Council extended trade sanctions against Iraq several times. On October 13 Rolf Ekeus, head of the Special Commission charged with eliminating Iraq's ballistic, chemical, and biological weapons, reported that Iraq was still withholding many details about its military programs. Former Iraqi weapons chief Lieut. Gen. Hussein Kamel Hassan, Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, defected to Jordan in August and revealed that Iraq had an ambitious biological and nuclear weapons program, contradicting Hussein's claims in July that Iraq had abandoned the program. On July 16 Iraq pardoned and released two Americans jailed four months earlier (March 13) for having crossed illegally from Kuwait through a UN checkpoint into Iraq, and Hussein suggested relief from sanctions as a quid pro quo. Council members refused, however, insisting that Iraq first had to cooperate fully with UN weapons monitors.

      In Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Liberia, and Angola, the UN continued trying to contain civil wars and to prevent genocide. Zaire found itself sheltering over one million refugees from the Rwandan and Burundian civil wars. In February its troops, at the UN's request, started restoring order in UN refugee camps, but on August 19 it began forcibly repatriating refugees to Rwanda. Zairean officials considered a Security Council resolution of August 17 lifting the arms embargo on Rwanda as a security threat; they also accused the refugees of being sources of pestilence and disease and devastators of the environment.

      The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, who originally had welcomed Zairean troops to the refugee camps, condemned the forcible repatriations for flouting Article 33 of the International Convention on the Status of Refugees and flew to Zaire on August 30 to try to restore voluntary repatriations. UN officials, attempting to count and document expelled refugees before taking them to Rwandan transit camps, said that 85,000 had fled into the bush and to the hills to escape possible repatriation. The Zairean government allowed the UN to continue voluntary repatriations but threatened on August 29 to resume expelling refugees in 1996 if UN efforts failed. After Rwanda assured the Security Council that it could protect its own citizens without the help of UN troops, the Council on June 9 decided to reduce the numbers of UN troops there in stages from 5,600 to 1,800 by year's end. Voluntary repatriation received a setback in mid-September, late October, and early November when Rwandan forces killed Hutu civilians and military forces, confirming some refugees' beliefs that they could not return safely. An agreement brokered by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter in November appeared to end the threat of further compulsory expulsions, and UN forces agreed to stay into early 1996 to assist with repatriations.

      A Security Council mission to Burundi in February called the political and security situation there "potentially explosive." It recommended establishing an unbiased judicial system, training impartial civilian police and investigators, and establishing sound provincial governments. Its fears were confirmed when ethnic killings in March caused thousands to flee. The Security Council on March 29 warned that Burundi extremists could face war crimes trials.

      UN peacekeepers completed their withdrawal from Somalia on March 2 protected by "United Shield" forces from seven countries, but more than 50 international staff members from UN agencies and other international aid groups remained to manage (along with more than 800 Somali staff members) operations in 14 regions of the country. The Security Council voted unanimously on February 8 to send 7,000 peacekeepers to Angola, the largest African operation since the one to Somalia in 1993. Their mission was to preserve the cease-fire there, improve access for humanitarian assistance, restore peace, and achieve national reconciliation. The UN Observer Mission in Liberia, established in 1993, continued monitoring Liberian attempts to constitute a Council of State as provided by the Accra Agreement of Dec. 21, 1994, but fighting once again broke out on Dec. 31, 1995.

      UN efforts to halt the spread of land mines, which killed or maimed over 20,000 people annually, foundered in Vienna on October 12 on resistance from China, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia. These countries, which manufactured the weapons, refused to accept restrictions that were acceptable to nearly 40 other countries reviewing a 1980 convention on weapons deemed indiscriminate or excessively injurious. The UN estimated that 110 million land mines remained buried in 64 countries, and a three-day International Meeting on Mine Clearance, held on July 5-8 in Geneva, undertook to raise $75 million to begin removing them. The next day the Vienna conferees adopted a new protocol prohibiting laser weapons designed to blind the enemy. More than 170 nations agreed on May 11, after four weeks of often bitter debate in New York City, to extend in perpetuity the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which had limited the spread of nuclear weapons for 25 years.

      The UN World Meteorological Organization warned on September 12 that the biggest hole (10 million sq km [3,860,000 sq mi], an area nearly the size of Europe) ever measured in the Earth's protective ozone layer had formed over Antarctica. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in September that climatic changes were likely to cause widespread economic, social, and environmental dislocations over the next century if the world did not reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases. A UN-sponsored fishing conference of 99 states on August 4 adopted by consensus an agreement regulating fishing for many threatened species. It would enter into force when ratified by 30 countries. (RICHARD N. SWIFT)

      This updates the article United Nations.

▪ 1995

      The United Nations in 1994 fell victim to its members' uncertainty about their objectives and about the best way to use their resources in a post-Cold War world. Unclear goals led to disappointments, especially in Somalia, former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. In other, nonmilitary endeavours, however, the UN made progress.

      Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali reported on January 6 that the international community was suffering "unmistakable signs of fatigue" in trying to assist Somalia. The Security Council on February 4 revised the mandate of the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II). It charged the peacekeepers—understrength at fewer than 19,000 after the U.S. withdrew its troops on March 25 and even weaker after the U.S. removed its remaining heavy equipment in the late summer—to assist the Somalis in disarming factional forces; protecting major ports, airports, and communications systems; supplying humanitarian relief to the needy; reorganizing the police and judicial systems; repatriating and resettling refugees and displaced persons; establishing a democratically elected government; protecting UN personnel, installations, and equipment; and guarding nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) providing food and fighting cholera. A Commission of Inquiry investigating armed attacks on mission personnel in Somalia noted on June 1 that member nations were unprepared "to accept substantial casualties for causes unrelated to their national interests," a position that severely limited international efforts to enforce peace.

      The secretary-general cautioned on May 24 that the political and military situation continued to be unfavourable because of lagging cooperation by Somali leaders. Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid, chairman of the Somali National Alliance, and Ali Mahdi Muhammad, spokesman of the "Group of 12" (the country's other factions), called for national reconciliation in the March 24 "Nairobi Declaration." On June 19, 19 Somali leaders signed a peace agreement at the Lower Juba Reconciliation Conference, but in October the parties failed to agree on how to establish an interim government. Factional fighting continued, and UNOSOM II forces, which suffered over 25 fatalities during the year, remained largely confined to fortified compounds in the capital, Mogadishu. On November 4 the Security Council decided to recall UNOSOM II on March 31, 1995, even without a political settlement. NGO personnel feared that the UN departure would lead to looting and violence that would destroy their relief programs.

Former Yugoslavia.
      Successive cease-fire agreements collapsed as the UN tried to end the conflict in former Yugoslavia. Meeting with top officials of NATO in Brussels on June 29, Yasushi Akashi, the secretary-general's special representative for Yugoslavia and chief of the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR), reported "no large-scale offensives under way from either party." In October, however, Bosnian Muslim forces broke the Bosnian Serb siege of the city of Bihac, a UN-designated "safe area" in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian and Croatian Serbs counterattacked, even using napalm and cluster bombs, and resumed shelling Sarajevo.

      Because of the attack on Bihac, NATO, with unanimous Security Council approval and at the request of UN commanders, sent 39 planes on November 21 to bomb the runway at Udbina, whence Serbs had launched their bombing run. The Serb offensive continued relentlessly, and by the end of November, Serb forces had surrounded Bihac and were holding as many as 450 UN personnel hostage against further air strikes. Boutros-Ghali flew to Sarajevo in hopes of arranging yet another cease-fire, but Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic refused to meet with him, and the mission failed.

      In March the Security Council sought to send 10,000 additional peacekeeping troops to the region, but the U.S. blocked that effort, fearing that the U.S. Congress might not agree to pay its share of the extra cost. The Council then deployed only 3,500 additional troops. The U.S. consistently refused to supply troops unless the contending parties agreed to a truce. On April 25 Akashi criticized the U.S. for being "somewhat afraid . . . and tentative" after its Somalian experience.

      On April 22, NATO Secretary-General Manfred Wörner (see OBITUARIES (Worner, Manfred )) informed Boutros-Ghali that NATO was prepared to launch air strikes to support UN efforts to protect Bihac and five other "safe areas" and to provide air support for UNPROFOR or other UN and relief agency personnel throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina if attacked by Bosnian Serb forces.

      British Lieut. Gen. Sir Michael Rose (see BIOGRAPHIES (Rose, Sir Michael )), the UN commander in Bosnia, continued reluctant to retaliate, however, despite many Bosnian Serb provocations. He did authorize NATO forces to attack a Serbian tank on September 22 near Sarajevo after Serbs repeatedly violated a weapons ban and used machine guns and rockets against UN troops patrolling the city, wounding two French UNPROFOR soldiers. Criticized for ordering so mild a reprisal, Rose said that peacekeeping required "patience, persistence, and pressure," or the UN might find itself in a shooting war, as in Somalia. In December it was announced that Maj. Gen. Rupert Smith, who had been commander of the First British Armoured Division in the 1991 Gulf war, would assume command of the UN forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina when Rose's one-year term expired on Jan. 24, 1995.

      NATO on October 10 formally requested the right to retaliate without warning against four targets at once in "robust and effective" fashion. On the other hand, UNPROFOR warned that the Bosnian Serbs, who controlled 70% of Bosnia, could lawfully ask UNPROFOR to leave. UNPROFOR would then be unable to supply three Muslim enclaves in eastern Bosnia. NATO and the UN consulted on mutually acceptable retaliatory standards and on October 27 agreed on unannounced air strikes only when little danger of civilian casualties existed. In August Serbian Pres. Slobodan Milosevic cut off arms and other supplies to Bosnian Serbs, and on September 24 the Security Council rewarded him by suspending (for 100 days) sanctions against Yugoslavia. It then imposed sanctions on the Bosnian Serbs for rejecting a peace that the "Contact Group" (France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S.) had endorsed in July. The U.S. asked the Council on October 28 to lift the arms embargo against the Bosnian Muslim government by May 1995 and unilaterally stopped enforcing the embargo on November 12. Other Group members, fearing that the Bosnian Serbs might retaliate against their personnel, threatened to withdraw their troops from UNPROFOR if the embargo was lifted. Nonetheless, on November 3 the General Assembly recommended (97- 0, with 61 abstentions) ending the embargo.

      A UN commission of experts agreed in June that Bosnian Serbs had committed "crimes against humanity" and "genocide," engaged in "ethnic cleansing," and systematically raped Muslim and Croat women. It sent its report to the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague for prosecution, and the tribunal indicted Dragan Nikolic on November 7 for killing eight Muslim prisoners, torturing seven others, and illegally imprisoning more than 500 Bosnian Muslims in 1992 in Susica camp.

      On April 6 Rwandan Pres. Juvénal Habyarimana (see OBITUARIES (Habyarimana, Juvenal )) died in a plane crash that observers deemed suspicious. He was returning from a meeting at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he purportedly agreed to surrender power to a broad-based transitional government. In the succeeding 10 weeks, Hutu militiamen, the army, and some Hutu civilians slaughtered at least one million mainly Tutsi men, women, and children, including the country's prime minister and leaders of six independent human rights organizations. As many as two million more were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge elsewhere.

      On April 21, May 17, and June 8, the Security Council adjusted the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR II), trying to make it a more effective instrument for protecting civilians and humanitarian operations. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights José Lasso visited Rwanda in early May and reported that the violence had exceeded any previous outbursts of hatred and intolerance between Hutus and Tutsis. On May 25 Boutros-Ghali condemned the killings as "genocide" and called the world's unwillingness to act speedily to stop it a "scandal." On November 8 the Security Council authorized an international tribunal to try persons accused of genocide and other serious crimes committed in 1994.

      Many states, scarred by their Somalian and Bosnian experiences, proved reluctant to provide the UN with troops and matériel for Rwanda. The U.S. refused in May to sanction the immediate dispatch of 5,500 UN troops. Consequently, the Security Council accepted a French offer to send about 2,500 troops to Rwanda for one month to provide temporary security and humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of refugees.

      On November 21 the secretary-general asked the Security Council to send 12,000 troops to stem growing violence in refugee camps in Zaire and Burundi and to protect private relief organization workers.

      Hoping to press the Security Council to lift sanctions against Iraq enacted in August 1990, Pres. Saddam Hussein moved troops close to the Kuwaiti border in October. The threat backfired, however, when the U.S. sent troops to guard Kuwait and the Security Council unanimously condemned the renewed threat to Kuwait and demanded that Iraq withdraw.

      Rolf Ekeus, head of the special commission on Iraqi compliance with UN orders, reported on October 13 that the UN had created an effective arms-inspection system in the country, but he indicated later that Iraq was again threatening inspectors and not giving "straight and factual answers" about past suppliers of weapons material. France and Russia, eager to reestablish commerce with Iraq, favoured setting a timetable for lifting sanctions, but the Council refused on November 14 after the U.S. proved that Hussein had spent $500 million on palaces for himself and his family while Iraqis lacked food and medicine. A few days earlier, Iraq had met one Council requirement by formally recognizing Kuwait.

      On October 15 a UN force, mostly from the U.S., acting under a Security Council resolution adopted July 31 (authorizing "all necessary means" to restore democracy to the island) and an agreement made on September 18 with the Haitian military regime, returned Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide (see BIOGRAPHIES (Aristide, Jean-Bertrand )) to power. A joint mission from the Organization of American States and the UN, ordered out of the island on July 11 by the Haitian military authorities, resumed its work in October. The Security Council on October 16 lifted the trade embargo against Haiti imposed on May 6. On November 15 Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali arrived in Haiti to discuss the multinational force due to take over from U.S. troops in preparation for 1995 elections.

Economic and Social Matters.
      Political failures in Somalia, former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda tended to mask successful UN humanitarian efforts. In Somalia UNOSOM II-trained civilian police secured airports and seaports for humanitarian-aid convoys and helped NGO personnel engaged in relief efforts to move safely, deployed a World Health Organization (WHO) task force supported by a Swiss disaster-relief team to coordinate the fight against a widespread cholera epidemic, and repatriated thousands of Somali refugees.

      On July 3 the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) marked the second anniversary of the longest sustained humanitarian airlift in history, which averaged 14 flights a day and supplied Sarajevo's 300,000 people with more than 119,000 metric tons of goods, surpassing records set during the 1948-49 Berlin airlift. During the worst fighting, UNHCR supplied more than 95% of the assistance given to the besieged Bosnian capital. The World Food Program (WFP) appealed in January for $45 million in food and cash for thousands of needy refugees in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zaire. Although member nations were slow to respond, the WFP and the NGOs provided safe water, tons of food, and medical assistance.

      An analysis by UNICEF on October 6 showed that in Central and Eastern Europe, the transition from communism to free-market democracies left the people there significantly poorer, less healthy, worse fed, and more prone to accidental death and homicide. More infectious diseases, stress, malnutrition, and alcoholism, already noted in Russia, were now affecting far wider areas.

      The UN continued to ask member states to make peacekeeping troops available and announced that by April 12, 15 states had pledged at least 54,000 troops and specialists toward a UN inventory for future operations. On July 12, German courts ruled that German nationals might legally participate in UN operations. As of September 30, member states owed the UN $2.3 billion.

      On October 26 the General Assembly adopted a resolution 101-2, with Israel and the U.S. opposed and 48 abstentions, calling on the U.S. to lift its embargo against Cuba. Supporters said that the embargo violated basic tenets of the UN Charter and ran counter to principles of international law, including freedom of trade and navigation.

      On November 1 the U.S. notified the Trusteeship Council that Palau, the last remaining part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (itself the last UN trust territory), had opted for independence. Palau was admitted to the General Assembly as the UN's 185th member on December 15.


      This updates the article United Nations.

▪ 1994

      Calls on the United Nations for more peacekeeping forces rose dramatically, and some of the troops were authorized, for the first time, to enforce order, not just monitor peace agreements. The UN's estimated expenditures rose to $3.6 billion, but where the funds would come from remained a mystery. "Demands made upon the United Nations are not being matched by resources to do the job," said Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. A Ford Foundation panel suggested in February that governments charge peacekeeping costs to national military budgets and authorize the UN to charge interest on arrears. (See Military Affairs .)

      Members continued paying dues late; only 18 met the January 31 deadline. The United States on October 6 redeemed the pledge made by Pres. Bill Clinton the previous week and paid $533 million ($233 million in dues and $300 million for field operations). The U.S. remained the largest debtor, however, still owing $284 million in dues and $188 million for peacekeeping.

      The former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia joined the UN in April, despite Greek protests that the name Macedonia rightfully belonged to a Greek province. The other new members in 1993 were Andorra, the Czech Republic, Eritrea, Monaco, and the Slovak Republic, bringing the membership total to 184.

      Under a Security Council resolution adopted unanimously on March 26, a 26-nation UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II) assumed operational command on May 4. It was the first UN force established under Chapter VII of the Charter and was thereby authorized to employ force to disarm Somali warlords and to ensure that relief supplies reached needy people.

      In January and March representatives of 15 Somali factions at UN-sponsored conferences in Ethiopia agreed to disarm and start rebuilding the country politically. On June 5 forces of Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid (see BIOGRAPHIES (Aydid, Gen. Muhammad Farah )), head of the Somali National Alliance, broke the cease-fire and ambushed and killed 24 Pakistani UN peacekeepers. The next day the Security Council called on states to restore a national government and imprison those responsible for the killings—namely, Aydid.

      In mid-June U.S. gunships and attack helicopters pounded Aydid's headquarters and armouries, destroying much weaponry and a radio station, and in August the U.S. sent 400 Army Rangers to capture Aydid, but they failed. Then, after 18 U.S. soldiers died in combat on October 3, the idea of capturing Aydid receded. The Rangers withdrew from Somalia on October 19, and on November 7 Aydid warned that if American troops returned to the streets of Mogadishu, he might break the cease-fire again. On November 16 the Security Council accepted a suggestion Aydid had made on September 13 that it appoint a special commission to examine charges against him, effectively canceling its June resolution.

      Friction between the U.S. and the UN over Somali policy and the deaths of U.S. servicemen led Clinton to set March 31, 1994, as his deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Somalia, one year earlier than the Security Council had authorized on September 22. On November 18 the Council extended the UNOSOM mandate to May 1994. Boutros-Ghali reportedly believed that the U.S. was turning him and the UN into scapegoats for the disastrous October raid, though it had been conceived and executed by the U.S. alone. In any case, the Somali experience cooled U.S. enthusiasm for Boutros-Ghali's 1992 proposal to create an international standing army, and the U.S. seemed increasingly unwilling to have its troops serve under UN commanders.

      The UN managed during the year to get food supplies distributed in Somalia, possibly saving one million lives, and restored order in most of the country, though strife in Mogadishu remained intense. On November 24 the UN began, whenever possible, to use armed vehicles to protect UN civilian personnel in the capital. A conference on Somali reconstruction met in Addis Ababa (November 29-December 12) but failed to agree on how to compose a transitional council to help restore legitimate government in the country.

Former Yugoslavia.
      Despite continuing peacemaking efforts, successive cease-fire agreements did not hold in the civil war in former Yugoslavia. Observers estimated that Serbs had killed 200,000 of their Muslim countrymen, expelled more than two million from their towns and villages in the name of "ethnic cleansing," and destroyed the cities of Vukovar and Sarajevo by blockade, shelling, and sniping.

      Attacks on UN personnel, the shelling of convoys, vehicle thefts, and countless delays at roadblocks hampered relief efforts, and the UN frequently had to suspend them. Nonetheless, the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) escorted relief convoys throughout the year in order to get humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of starving people under siege, and the Security Council twice unanimously extended its mandate (June 30 and October 4).

      Despite violence by both the government and Khmer Rouge forces, UN-supervised elections in Cambodia took place as scheduled between May 23 and 28, with 90% of the 4.7 million voters whom the UN had registered casting ballots. The UN declared the elections "free and fair," and on September 21, by a vote of 113-5-2, Cambodia's National Assembly adopted a new constitution and proclaimed Prince Norodom Sihanouk king. (See BIOGRAPHIES (Sihanouk, Norodom ).)

South Africa.
      On September 23, Pres. F.W. de Klerk made the first visit by any South African head of state to UN headquarters. He asked Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress, to support the lifting of economic sanctions against South Africa in view of the new interim constitution. Mandela obliged when he addressed the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid the next day and asserted that "the countdown to democracy in South Africa has begun."

      On October 4 the Security Council adopted a resolution to assist in implementing the peace agreement signed in Rwanda in August.

      For most of the year, Iraq ingeniously denied UN inspectors access to its nuclear facilities. Allied forces on January 13 launched a "restrained and modest" air strike against Iraqi command posts and radar installations. Under threats of further attacks, Iraq dropped its ban on UN flights into Iraqi territory but then rapidly imposed other restrictions. Continuing aggravations and reports that Iraqi aircraft and surface-to-air missiles were violating flight-exclusion zones led the U.S. to respond with a Tomahawk cruise missile attack on January 17 against a Baghdad industrial area. On June 27 the U.S. told the Security Council that it had launched another missile attack against Iraqi Intelligence Service headquarters the day before as "self-defence" against an Iraqi attempt to murder former U.S. president George Bush during his visit to Kuwait City in April.

      On September 16 the UN sent helicopters equipped to detect atomic radiation emanating from possible secret nuclear weapons sites in Iraq. These aircraft intensified the hunt for weapons by the special UN commission charged with disarming Iraq, and on September 27 between 50 and 100 UN inspectors began the largest of 63 inspections of Iraqi weapons sites, "declared and undeclared," since the end of the Gulf war. (Intelligence sources suggested that Iraq was hiding 200 Scud missiles.) On September 24 Iraq allowed the UN to activate monitoring cameras previously installed at two missile test sites.

      On November 16 and 20, Iraqis protested UN demarcation of the Kuwait-Iraqi frontier by briefly marching into Kuwait, but in a letter to the Security Council on November 26, Iraq accepted all the UN's international monitoring requirements. It hoped thereby to persuade the Council to allow it to sell its oil on world markets.

      Under an agreement signed on July 3 on Governors Island, N.Y., by Lieut. Gen. Raoul Cédras, the Haitian army commander, and the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the president deposed in September 1991, UN personnel were supposed to help the transition to democratic government by separating the police force from the army. On October 11, however, 40 or 50 "toughs" protected by police prevented a U.S. troop ship carrying 194 U.S. and 25 Canadian instructors and military engineers from landing at Port-au-Prince. The U.S. and the UN said that the troops would not return until Haitian military authorities guaranteed their safety. When Cédras and his unelected government indicated that they would not resign as agreed, the Security Council imposed an international oil and arms embargo, enforced by an international fleet, to take effect on October 16.

      Aristide, addressing the 48th General Assembly on October 28, asked the UN to impose a total trade embargo on Haiti to force Cédras out. He said that he would not return or ask the Haitian parliament to approve an amnesty for his opponents until they surrendered power, although the Governors Island agreement called for an amnesty beforehand. The General Assembly on December 6 called for Aristide's return to office and the restoration of democracy and human rights in Haiti.

Human Rights.
      In April and September the International Court of Justice ordered authorities in the former Yugoslavia to stop committing genocide and not to back "military, paramilitary or irregular armed units" that might be committing such acts in Bosnia. On February 22 and May 25 the Security Council established a UN War Crimes Tribunal to prosecute persons responsible for violations of international humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia since 1991. On September 17 the General Assembly elected 11 judges, who held their first meeting (on procedural matters) at The Hague on November 17.

      The Commission on Human Rights condemned The Sudan and Iraq on March 10 for employing terror against people and arbitrarily executing them. It also called for an inquiry into other human rights violations in The Sudan and requested monitors in Iraq to check on reports of "massive" human rights abuses. During the year it levied serious criticisms at Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Iran, Israel (in southern Lebanon), Myanmar (Burma), and Togo. On March 12 the commission adopted a resolution expressing its "deep concern" at human rights violations in East Timor, mainly against Roman Catholics by the predominantly Muslim Indonesian police and armed forces. The commission criticized Cuba for refusing to admit a UN special investigator. Nonetheless, the General Assembly on November 3 condemned the U.S.-led embargo against Cuba by a vote of 88-4. The U.S. was joined by Albania, Israel, and Paraguay in voting against the measure.

      On October 12 a mob of 300 protesters in Hinche, Haiti, threatened a UN observer team, smashed a UN vehicle, and aroused concern for the safety of observers in a joint UN-Organization of American States mission monitoring human rights in Haiti.

      Warring factions in the three-year civil war in Liberia signed a peace accord on July 25, but the truce did not last. On September 17 a three-member investigating panel blamed troops for massacring more than 400 refugees, including 103 infants, in the town of Harbel. On September 22 the Security Council established a UN Observer Mission in Liberia to monitor the cease-fire.

      Libya ignored an October 1 deadline for turning over two suspects in the bombing of Pan American Airlines Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot., in 1988 and for cooperating with a French investigation into the bombing of a French airliner over Niger in 1989. Libya said on September 29 that it would not object to the men's being tried in Scotland for the bombing, in which 270 people died, if the suspects themselves consented. The men's lawyers advised them, however, not to leave Libya. On December 1 a Security Council decision taken November 11 froze Libya's overseas assets, barred sales to Libya of oil-refining and pipeline equipment, restricted commercial air links, and required member states to reduce the size of Libyan diplomatic missions and close all Libyan airline offices.

      A UN "Commission on the Truth," investigating violations of human rights during the 12-year civil war in El Salvador, held active and retired military officers responsible for the killing of thousands of civilians, including Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero (in 1980), and on March 15 called for the government to dismiss them and bar them from holding leadership posts for at least 10 years. The commission considered 22,000 cases of alleged violence and suggested that former U.S. officials (specifically former UN ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick and former secretary of state Alexander M. Haig, Jr.) who had denied or justified some of the Salvadoran government's worst violence and had supported giving the country $6 billion in aid during the 1980s were either cynical or badly misinformed. On October 31 the commission accused government death squads of committing over a dozen political killings during 1993. The General Assembly on December 20 established a new office of High Commissioner on Human Rights.

      Representatives of more than 120 nations signed a treaty in Paris on January 15 banning the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons, which were to be destroyed within 10 years of the treaty's coming into force (Jan. 15, 1995, at the earliest).

      The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on December 6 called North Korea's offer to allow only limited inspections of nuclear installations inadequate for ensuring that it had abandoned its nuclear weapons program. The secretary-general visited North Korea in December, presumably hoping to persuade the government to accept IAEA standards. (See Military Affairs .)


      This updates the article United Nations.

* * *

  international organization established on October 24, 1945. The United Nations was the second multipurpose international organization established in the 20th century that was worldwide in scope and membership. Its predecessor, the League of Nations (Nations, League of), was created by the Treaty of Versailles (Versailles, Treaty of) in 1919 and disbanded in 1946. Headquartered in New York City, the UN also has offices in Geneva, Vienna, and other cities. Its official languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. For a list of UN member countries and secretaries-general, see below (United Nations).

      According to its Charter, the UN aims:

to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,…to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,…to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

      In addition to maintaining peace and security, other important objectives include developing friendly relations among countries based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; achieving worldwide cooperation to solve international economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems; respecting and promoting human rights; and serving as a centre where countries can coordinate their actions and activities toward these various ends.

      The UN formed a continuum with the League of Nations in general purpose, structure, and functions; many of the UN's principal organs and related agencies were adopted from similar structures established earlier in the century. In some respects, however, the UN constituted a very different organization, especially with regard to its objective of maintaining international peace and security and its commitment to economic and social development.

      Changes in the nature of international relations resulted in modifications in the responsibilities of the UN and its decision-making apparatus. Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union deeply affected the UN's security functions during its first 45 years. Extensive post-World War II decolonization in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East increased the volume and nature of political, economic, and social issues that confronted the organization. The Cold War's end in 1991 brought renewed attention and appeals to the UN. Amid an increasingly volatile geopolitical climate, there were new challenges to established practices and functions, especially in the areas of conflict resolution and humanitarian assistance. At the beginning of the 21st century, the UN and its programs and affiliated agencies struggled to address humanitarian crises and civil wars, unprecedented refugee flows, the devastation caused by the spread of AIDS, global financial disruptions, international terrorism, and the disparities in wealth between the world's richest and poorest peoples.

History and development
      Despite the problems encountered by the League of Nations in arbitrating conflict and ensuring international peace and security prior to World War II, the major Allied powers agreed during the war to establish a new global organization to help manage international affairs. This agreement was first articulated when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Franklin D.) and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Churchill, Sir Winston) signed the Atlantic Charter in August 1941. The name United Nations was originally used to denote the countries allied against Germany, Italy, and Japan. On January 1, 1942, 26 countries signed the Declaration by United Nations, which set forth the war aims of the Allied powers.

      The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) took the lead in designing the new organization and determining its decision-making structure and functions. Initially, the “Big Three” states and their respective leaders (Roosevelt, Churchill, and Soviet premier Joseph Stalin (Stalin, Joseph)) were hindered by disagreements on issues that foreshadowed the Cold War. The Soviet Union demanded individual membership and voting rights for its constituent republics, and Britain wanted assurances that its colonies would not be placed under UN control. There also was disagreement over the voting system to be adopted in the Security Council (Security Council, United Nations), an issue that became famous as the “veto problem.”

      The first major step toward the formation of the United Nations was taken August 21–October 7, 1944, at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, a meeting of the diplomatic experts of the Big Three powers plus China (a group often designated the “Big Four”) held at Dumbarton Oaks, an estate in Washington, D.C. Although the four countries agreed on the general purpose, structure, and function of a new world organization, the conference ended amid continuing disagreement over membership and voting. At the Yalta Conference, a meeting of the Big Three in a Crimean resort city in February 1945, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin laid the basis for charter provisions delimiting the authority of the Security Council. Moreover, they reached a tentative accord on the number of Soviet republics to be granted independent memberships in the UN. Finally, the three leaders agreed that the new organization would include a trusteeship system to succeed the League of Nations mandate system.

      The Dumbarton Oaks proposals, with modifications from the Yalta Conference, formed the basis of negotiations at the United Nations Conference on International Organization (San Francisco Conference) (UNCIO), which convened in San Francisco on April 25, 1945, and produced the final Charter of the United Nations. The San Francisco conference was attended by representatives of 50 countries from all geographic areas of the world: 9 from Europe, 21 from the Americas, 7 from the Middle East, 2 from East Asia, and 3 from Africa, as well as 1 each from the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (in addition to the Soviet Union itself) and 5 from British Commonwealth countries. Poland, which was not present at the conference, was permitted to become an original member of the UN. Security Council veto power (among the permanent members) was affirmed, though any member of the General Assembly was able to raise issues for discussion. Other political issues resolved by compromise were the role of the organization in the promotion of economic and social welfare; the status of colonial areas and the distribution of trusteeships; the status of regional and defense arrangements; and Great Power dominance versus the equality of states. The UN Charter was unanimously adopted and signed on June 26 and promulgated on October 24, 1945.

Organization and administration

Principles and membership
      The purposes, principles, and organization of the United Nations are outlined in the Charter. The essential principles underlying the purposes and functions of the organization are listed in Article 2 and include the following: the UN is based on the sovereign equality of its members; disputes are to be settled by peaceful means; members are to refrain from the threat or use of force in contravention of the purposes of the UN; each member must assist the organization in any enforcement actions it takes under the Charter; and states that are not members of the organization are required to act in accordance with these principles insofar as it is necessary to maintain international peace and security. Article 2 also stipulates a basic long-standing norm that the organization shall not intervene in matters considered within the domestic jurisdiction of any state. Although this was a major limitation on UN action, over time the line between international and domestic jurisdiction has become blurred.

      New members are admitted to the UN on the recommendation of the Security Council and by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly. Often, however, the admittance of new members has engendered controversy. Given Cold War divisions between East and West, the requirement that the Security Council's five permanent members (sometimes known collectively as the P-5)—China, France, the Soviet Union (whose seat and membership were assumed by Russia in 1991), the United Kingdom, and the United States—concur on the admission of new members at times posed serious obstacles. By 1950 only 9 of 31 applicants had been admitted to the organization. In 1955 the 10th Assembly proposed a package deal that, after modification by the Security Council, resulted in the admission of 16 new states (4 eastern European communist states and 12 noncommunist countries). The most contentious application for membership was that of the communist People's Republic of China, which was placed before the General Assembly and blocked by the United States at every session from 1950 to 1971. Finally, in 1971, in an effort to improve its relationship with mainland China, the United States refrained from blocking the Assembly's vote to admit the People's Republic and to expel the Republic of China (Taiwan); there were 76 votes in favour of expulsion, 35 votes opposed, and 17 abstentions. As a result, the Republic of China's membership and permanent Security Council seat were given to the People's Republic.

      Controversy also arose over the issue of “divided” states, including the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), North and South Korea, and North and South Vietnam. The two German states were admitted as members in 1973; these two seats were reduced to one after the country's reunification in October 1990. Vietnam was admitted in 1977, after the defeat of South Vietnam and the reunification of the country in 1975. The two Koreas were admitted separately in 1991.

      Following worldwide decolonization from 1955 to 1960, 40 new members were admitted, and by the end of the 1970s there were about 150 members of the UN. Another significant increase occurred after 1989–90, when many former Soviet republics gained their independence. By the early 21st century the UN comprised nearly 190 member states.

Principal organs
      The United Nations has six principal organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.

      The only body in which all UN members are represented, the General Assembly exercises deliberative, supervisory, financial, and elective functions relating to any matter within the scope of the UN Charter. Its primary role, however, is to discuss issues and make recommendations, though it has no power to enforce its resolutions or to compel state action. Other functions include admitting new members; selecting members of the Economic and Social Council, the nonpermanent members of the Security Council, and the Trusteeship Council; supervising the activities of the other UN organs, from which the Assembly receives reports; and participating in the election of judges to the International Court of Justice and the selection of the secretary-general. Decisions usually are reached by a simple majority vote. On important questions, however—such as the admission of new members, budgetary matters, and peace and security issues—a two-thirds majority is required.

      The Assembly convenes annually and in special sessions, electing a new president each year from among five regional groups of states. At the beginning of each regular session, the Assembly also holds a general debate, in which all members may participate and raise any issue of international concern. Most work, however, is delegated to six main committees: (1) Disarmament and International Security, (2) Economic and Financial, (3) Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural, (4) Special Political and Decolonization, (5) Administrative and Budgetary, and (6) Legal.

      The General Assembly has debated issues that other organs of the UN have either overlooked or avoided, including decolonization, the independence of Namibia, apartheid in South Africa, terrorism, and the AIDS epidemic. The number of resolutions passed by the Assembly each year has climbed to more than 350, and many resolutions are adopted without opposition. Nevertheless, there have been sharp disagreements among members on several issues, such as those relating to the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and human rights. The General Assembly has drawn public attention to major issues, thereby forcing member governments to develop positions on them, and it has helped to organize ad hoc bodies and conferences to deal with important global problems.

      The large size of the Assembly and the diversity of the issues it discusses contributed to the emergence of regionally based voting blocs in the 1960s. During the Cold War the Soviet Union and the countries of eastern Europe formed one of the most cohesive blocs, and another bloc comprised the United States and its Western allies. The admission of new countries of the Southern Hemisphere in the 1960s and '70s and the dissipation of Cold War tensions after 1989 contributed to the formation of blocs based on “North-South” economic issues—i.e., issues of disagreement between the more prosperous, industrialized countries of the Northern Hemisphere and the poorer, less industrialized developing countries of the Southern Hemisphere. Other issues have been incorporated into the North-South divide, including Northern economic and political domination, economic development, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and support for Israel.

      The UN Charter assigns to the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Security Council originally consisted of 11 members—five permanent and six nonpermanent—elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. From the beginning, nonpermanent members of the Security Council were elected to give representation to certain regions or groups of states. As membership increased, however, this practice ran into difficulty. An amendment to the UN Charter in 1965 increased the council's membership to 15, including the original five permanent members plus 10 nonpermanent members. Among the permanent members, the People's Republic of China replaced the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1971, and the Russian Federation succeeded the Soviet Union in 1991. After the unification of Germany, debate over the council's composition again arose, and Germany, India, and Japan each applied for permanent council seats.

      The nonpermanent members are chosen to achieve equitable regional representation, five members coming from Africa or Asia, one from eastern Europe, two from Latin America, and two from western Europe or other areas. Five of the 10 nonpermanent members are elected each year by the General Assembly for two-year terms, and five retire each year. The presidency is held by each member in rotation for a period of one month.

      Each Security Council member is entitled to one vote. On all “procedural” matters—the definition of which is sometimes in dispute—decisions by the council are made by an affirmative vote of any nine of its members. Substantive matters, such as the investigation of a dispute or the application of sanctions, also require nine affirmative votes, including those of the five permanent members holding veto power. In practice, however, a permanent member may abstain without impairing the validity of the decision. A vote on whether a matter is procedural or substantive is itself a substantive question. Because the Security Council is required to function continuously, each member is represented at all times at the UN's headquarters in New York City.

      Any country—even if it is not a member of the UN—may bring a dispute to which it is a party to the attention of the Security Council. When there is a complaint, the council first explores the possibility of a peaceful resolution. International peacekeeping forces may be authorized to keep warring parties apart pending further negotiations. If the council finds that there is a real threat to the peace, a breach of the peace, or an act of aggression (as defined by Article 39 of the UN Charter), it may call upon UN members to apply diplomatic or economic sanctions. If these methods prove inadequate, the UN Charter allows the Security Council to take military action against the offending country.

      During the Cold War, continual disagreement between the United States and the Soviet Union coupled with the veto power of the Security Council's permanent members made the Security Council an ineffective institution. Since the late 1980s, however, the council's power and prestige have grown. Between 1987 and 2000 it authorized more peacekeeping operations than at any previous time. The use of the veto has declined dramatically, though disagreements among permanent members of the Security Council—most notably in 2003 over the use of military force against Iraq—have occasionally undermined the council's effectiveness. To achieve consensus, comparatively informal meetings are held in private among the council's permanent members, a practice that has been criticized by nonpermanent members of the Security Council.

      In addition to several standing and ad hoc committees, the work of the council is facilitated by the Military Staff Committee, sanctions (sanction) committees for each of the countries under sanctions, peacekeeping forces committees, and an International Tribunals Committee.

      Designed to be the UN's main venue for the discussion of international economic and social issues, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) directs and coordinates the economic, social, humanitarian, and cultural activities of the UN and its specialized agencies. Established by the UN Charter, ECOSOC is empowered to recommend international action on economic and social issues; promote universal respect for human rights; and work for global cooperation on health, education, and cultural and related areas. ECOSOC conducts studies; formulates resolutions, recommendations, and conventions for consideration by the General Assembly; and coordinates the activities of various UN programs and specialized agencies. Most of ECOSOC's work is performed in functional commissions on topics such as human rights, narcotics, population, social development, statistics, the status of women, and science and technology; the council also oversees regional commissions for Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Western Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

      The UN Charter authorizes ECOSOC to grant consultative status to nongovernmental organizations (nongovernmental organization) (NGOs). Three categories of consultative status are recognized: General Category NGOs (formerly category I) include organizations with multiple goals and activities; Special Category NGOs (formerly category II) specialize in certain areas of ECOSOC activities; and Roster NGOs have only an occasional interest in the UN's activities. Consultative status enables NGOs to attend ECOSOC meetings, issue reports, and occasionally testify at meetings. Since the mid-1990s, measures have been adopted to increase the scope of NGO participation in ECOSOC, in the ad hoc global conferences, and in other UN activities. By the early 21st century, ECOSOC had granted consultative status to more than 2,500 NGOs.

      Originally, ECOSOC consisted of representatives from 18 countries, but the Charter was amended in 1965 and in 1974 to increase the number of members to 54. Members are elected for three-year terms by the General Assembly. Four of the five permanent members of the Security Council—the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union (Russia), and France—have been reelected continually because they provide funding for most of ECOSOC's budget, which is the largest of any UN subsidiary body. Decisions are taken by simple majority vote.

      The Trusteeship Council was designed to supervise the government of trust territories and to lead them to self-government or independence. The trusteeship system, like the mandate system under the League of Nations, was established on the premise that colonial territories taken from countries defeated in war should not be annexed by the victorious powers but should be administered by a trust country under international supervision until their future status was determined. Unlike the mandate system, the trusteeship system invited petitions from trust territories on their independence and required periodic international missions to the territories. In 1945 only 12 League of Nations mandates remained: Nauru, New Guinea, Ruanda-Urundi, Togoland and Cameroon (French administered), Togoland and Cameroon (British administered), the Pacific Islands (Carolines, Marshalls, and Marianas), Western Samoa (Samoa), South West Africa, Tanganyika, and Palestine. All these mandates became trust territories except South West Africa (now Namibia), which South Africa refused to enter into the trusteeship system.

      The Trusteeship Council, which met once each year, consisted of states administering trust territories, permanent members of the Security Council that did not administer trust territories, and other UN members elected by the General Assembly. Each member had one vote, and decisions were taken by a simple majority of those present. With the independence of Palau, the last remaining trust territory, in 1994, the council terminated its operations. No longer required to meet annually, the council may meet on the decision of its president or on a request by a majority of its members, by the General Assembly, or by the Security Council. Since 1994 new roles for the council have been proposed, including administering the global commons (e.g., the seabed and outer space) and serving as a forum for minority and indigenous peoples.

      The International Court of Justice, commonly known as the World Court, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, though the court's origins predate the League of Nations. The idea for the creation of an international court to arbitrate international disputes (international law) arose during an international conference held at The Hague (Hague, The) in 1899. This institution was subsumed under the League of Nations in 1919 as the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) and adopted its present name with the founding of the UN in 1945.

      The court's decisions are binding, and its broad jurisdiction encompasses “all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force.” Most importantly, states may not be parties to a dispute without their consent, though they may accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the court in specified categories of disputes. The court may give advisory opinions at the request of the General Assembly or the Security Council or at the request of other organs and specialized agencies authorized by the General Assembly. Although the court has successfully arbitrated some cases (e.g., the border dispute between Honduras and El Salvador in 1992), governments have been reluctant to submit sensitive issues, thereby limiting the court's ability to resolve threats to international peace and security. At times countries also have refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction or the findings of the court. For example, when Nicaragua sued the United States in the court in 1984 for mining its harbours, the court found in favour of Nicaragua, but the United States refused to accept the court's decision.

      The 15 judges of the court are elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council voting independently. No two judges may be nationals of the same state, and the judges are to represent a cross section of the major legal systems of the world. Judges serve nine-year terms and are eligible for reelection. The seat of the World Court is The Hague.

      The secretary-general, the principal administrative officer of the United Nations, is elected for a five-year renewable term by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly and by the recommendation of the Security Council and the approval of its permanent members. Secretaries-general usually have come from small, neutral countries. The secretary-general serves as the chief administrative officer at all meetings and carries out any functions that those organs entrust to the Secretariat; he also oversees the preparation of the UN's budget. The secretary-general has important political functions, being charged with bringing before the organization any matter that threatens international peace and security. Both the chief spokesperson for the UN and the UN's most visible and authoritative figure in world affairs, the secretary-general often serves as a high-level negotiator. Attesting to the importance of the post, two secretaries-general have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace: Dag Hammarskjöld (Hammarskjöld, Dag) in 1961 and Kofi Annan (Annan, Kofi), corecipient with the UN, in 2001.

      The Secretariat influences the work of the United Nations to a much greater degree than indicated in the UN Charter. It is responsible for preparing numerous reports, studies, and investigations, in addition to the major tasks of translating, interpreting, providing services for large numbers of meetings, and other work. Under the Charter the staff is to be recruited mainly on the basis of merit, though there has been a conscious effort to recruit individuals from different geographic regions. Some members of the Secretariat are engaged on permanent contracts, but others serve on temporary assignment from their national governments. In both cases they must take an oath of loyalty to the United Nations and are not permitted to receive instructions from member governments. The influence of the Secretariat can be attributed to the fact that the some 9,000 people on its staff are permanent experts and international civil servants rather than political appointees of member states.

      The Secretariat is based in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi (Kenya), and other locales. It has been criticized frequently for poor administrative practices—though it has made persistent efforts to increase the efficiency of its operations—as well as for a lack of neutrality.

Subsidiary organs
      The United Nations network also includes subsidiary organs created by the General Assembly and autonomous specialized agencies. The subsidiary organs report to the General Assembly or ECOSOC or both. Some of these organs are funded directly by the UN; others are financed by the voluntary contributions of governments or private citizens. In addition, ECOSOC has consultative relationships with NGOs operating in economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related fields. NGOs have played an increasingly important role in the work of the UN's specialized agencies, especially in the areas of health, peacekeeping, refugee issues, and human rights.

Specialized agencies
      The specialized agencies report annually to ECOSOC and often cooperate with each other and with various UN organs. However, they also have their own principles, goals, and rules, which at times may conflict with those of other UN organs and agencies. The specialized agencies are autonomous insofar as they control their own budgets and have their own boards of directors, who appoint agency heads independently of the General Assembly or secretary-general. Major specialized agencies and related organs of the UN include the International Labour Organisation (International Labour Organization) (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (UNESCO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Two of the most powerful specialized agencies, which also are the most independent with respect to UN decision making, are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The United Nations, along with its specialized agencies, is often referred to collectively as the United Nations system.

Cecelia M. Lynch Karen Mingst Ed.

Global conferences
      Global conferences have a long history in multilateral diplomacy, extending back to the period after World War I, when conferences on disarmament and economic affairs were convened by the League of Nations. With the UN's establishment after World War II, the number and frequency of global conferences increased dramatically. The trickle of narrowly focused, functional meetings from the early 1950s became a torrent in the 1990s with a series of widely publicized gatherings attended by high-level representatives and several thousands of other participants.

      Virtually all matters of international concern have been debated by UN global conferences, including the proliferation of nuclear weapons, small-arms trafficking, racism, overpopulation, hunger, crime, access to safe drinking water, the environment, the role of women, and human rights. The format and frequency of the conferences have varied considerably over time. The increasing number of meetings has led to complaints of “conference fatigue” by some countries.

      Global conferences have served a number of significant functions. Considered “town meetings of the world,” they provide an arena for discussion and for the exchange of information. The conferences take stock of existing knowledge and help to expand it through the policy analyses that they trigger. They also serve as incubators of ideas, raise elite consciousness, and may also identify emerging issues. For example, the dramatic acceleration in the growth of the world's population in the second half of the 20th century was a challenge first identified by conferences organized by the UN in the 1950s and '60s. Global conferences have nurtured public support for solutions to global issues. Thus, NGOs have played a key role in many of the UN global conferences. At some conferences, the NGOs have organized parallel conferences to discuss the major issues; at others, they have participated alongside government representatives, serving on national delegations and presenting position papers.

      Global conferences have faced a number of criticisms. Some observers claim that they are inefficient and too large and unwieldy to set international agendas. Others argue that they have been captured by different constituencies, of the North or the South, depending on the issue. Still others contend that such conferences have become too politicized, with the result that unrelated issues are sometimes linked to serve political purposes. For example, the global conferences on racism in 1978 and 2001, according to these critics, were unduly politicized by declarations asserting a link between racism and Zionism.

Jacques Fomerand Karen Mingst

      The secretary-general must submit a biennial budget to the General Assembly for its approval. The Charter stipulates that the expenses of the organization shall be borne by members as apportioned by the General Assembly. The Committee on Contributions prepares a scale of assessments for all members, based on the general economic level and capacity of each state, which is also submitted to the General Assembly for approval. The United States is the largest contributor, though the proportion of its contributions has declined continually, from some two-fifths at the UN's founding to one-fourth in 1975 and to about one-fifth in 2000. Other members make larger per capita contributions. The per capita contribution of San Marino, for example, is roughly four times that of the United States.

      The U.S. contribution became a controversial issue during the 1990s, when the country refused to pay its obligations in full and objected to the level of funding it was required to provide. In 1999 the U.S. Congress passed a UN reform bill, and after intense negotiations UN members agreed to reduce the U.S. share of the budget and to increase contributions from other states to make up the shortfall.

      When the cost of the special programs, specialized agencies, and peacekeeping operations is added to the regular budget, the total annual cost of the United Nations system increases substantially. (Special programs are financed by voluntary contributions from UN members, and specialized agencies and peacekeeping operations have their own budgets.) Partly because of a rapid increase in the number of appeals to the UN for peacekeeping and other assistance after the end of the Cold War and partly because of the failure of some member states to make timely payments to the organization, the UN has suffered continual and severe financial crises.

Privileges and immunities
      A general Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, approved by the General Assembly in February 1946 and accepted by most of the members, asserts that the UN possesses juridical personality. The convention also provides for such matters as immunity from legal process of the property and officials of the UN. An agreement between the UN and the United States, signed in June 1947, defines the privileges and immunities of the UN headquarters in New York City.

      The General Assembly decided during the second part of its first session in London to locate its permanent headquarters in New York (New York City). John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (Rockefeller, John D., Jr.), donated land for a building site in Manhattan. Temporary headquarters were established at Lake Success on Long Island, New York. The permanent Secretariat building was completed and occupied in 1951–52. The building providing accommodations for the General Assembly and the councils was completed and occupied in 1952.

United Nations, flag of the The UN flag, adopted in 1947, consists of the official emblem of the organization (a circular world map, as seen from the North Pole, surrounded by a wreath of olive branches) in white centred on a light blue background. The Assembly designated October 24 as United Nations Day.

Cecelia M. Lynch Karen Mingst Ed.


Maintenance of international peace and security
      The main function of the United Nations is to preserve international Lpeace and security. Chapter 6 of the Charter provides for the pacific settlement of disputes, through the intervention of the Security Council, by means such as negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and judicial decisions. The Security Council may investigate any dispute or situation to determine whether it is likely to endanger international peace and security. At any stage of the dispute, the council may recommend appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment, and, if the parties fail to settle the dispute by peaceful means, the council may recommend terms of settlement.

      The goal of collective security, whereby aggression against one member is met with resistance by all, underlies chapter 7 of the Charter, which grants the Security Council the power to order coercive measures—ranging from diplomatic, economic, and military sanctions to the use of armed force—in cases where attempts at a peaceful settlement have failed. Such measures were seldom applied during the Cold War, however, because tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union prevented the Security Council from agreeing on the instigators of aggression. Instead, actions to maintain peace and security often took the form of preventive diplomacy and peacekeeping. In the post-Cold War period, appeals to the UN for peacekeeping and related activities increased dramatically, and new threats to international peace and security were confronted, including AIDS and international terrorism.

      Notwithstanding the primary role of the Security Council, the UN Charter provides for the participation of the General Assembly and nonmember states in security issues. Any state, whether it is a member of the UN or not, may bring any dispute or situation that endangers international peace and security to the attention of the Security Council or the General Assembly. The Charter authorizes the General Assembly to “discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security” and to “make recommendations with regard to any such questions to the state or states concerned or to the Security Council or to both.” This authorization is restricted by the provision that, “while the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.” By the “Uniting for Peace” resolution of November 1950, however, the General Assembly granted to itself the power to deal with threats to the peace if the Security Council fails to act after a veto by a permanent member. Although these provisions grant the General Assembly a broad secondary role, the Security Council can make decisions that bind all members, whereas the General Assembly can make only recommendations.

      International armed forces were first used in 1948 to observe cease-fires in Kashmir and Palestine. Although not specifically mentioned in the UN Charter, the use of such forces as a buffer between warring parties pending troop withdrawals and negotiations—a practice known as peacekeeping—was formalized in 1956 during the Suez Crisis between Egypt, Israel, France, and the United Kingdom. Peacekeeping missions have taken many forms, though they have in common the fact that they are designed to be peaceful, that they involve military troops from several countries, and that the troops serve under the authority of the UN Security Council. In 1988 the UN Peacekeeping Forces were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

      During the Cold War, so-called first-generation, or “classic,” peacekeeping was used in conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and in conflicts stemming from decolonization in Asia. Between 1948 and 1988 the UN undertook 13 peacekeeping missions involving generally lightly armed troops from neutral countries other than the permanent members of the Security Council—most often Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, India, Ireland, and Italy. Troops in these missions, the so-called “Blue Helmets,” were allowed to use force only in self-defense. The missions were given and enjoyed the consent of the parties to the conflict and the support of the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries.

      With the end of the Cold War, the challenges of peacekeeping became more complex. In order to respond to situations in which internal order had broken down and the civilian population was suffering, “second-generation” peacekeeping was developed to achieve multiple political and social objectives. Unlike first-generation peacekeeping, second-generation peacekeeping often involves civilian experts and relief specialists as well as soldiers. Another difference between second-generation and first-generation peacekeeping is that soldiers in some second-generation missions are authorized to employ force for reasons other than self-defense. Because the goals of second-generation peacekeeping can be variable and difficult to define, however, much controversy has accompanied the use of troops in such missions.

      In the 1990s, second-generation peacekeeping missions were undertaken in Cambodia (1991–93), the former Yugoslavia (1992–95), Somalia (1992–95), and elsewhere and included troops from the permanent members of the Security Council as well as from the developed and developing world (e.g., Australia, Pakistan, Ghana, Nigeria, Fiji, India). In the former Yugoslav province of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Security Council created “safe areas” to protect the predominantly Bosniac (Bosnian Muslim) population from Serbian attacks, and UN troops were authorized to defend the areas with force. In each of these cases, the UN reacted to threats to peace and security within states, sometimes taking sides in domestic disputes and thus jeopardizing its own neutrality. Between 1988 and 2000 more than 30 peacekeeping efforts were authorized, and at their peak in 1993 more than 80,000 peacekeeping troops representing 77 countries were deployed on missions throughout the world. In the first years of the 21st century, annual UN expenditures on peacekeeping operations exceeded $2 billion.

      In addition to traditional peacekeeping and preventive diplomacy, in the post-Cold War era the functions of UN forces were expanded considerably to include peacemaking and peace building. (Former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Boutros-Ghali, Boutros) described these additional functions in his reports An Agenda for Peace [1992] and Supplement to an Agenda for Peace [1995].) For example, since 1990 UN forces have supervised elections in many parts of the world, including Nicaragua, Eritrea, and Cambodia; encouraged peace negotiations in El Salvador, Angola, and Western Sahara; and distributed food in Somalia. The presence of UN troops in Yugoslavia during the violent and protracted disintegration of that country renewed discussion about the role of UN troops in refugee resettlement. In 1992 the UN created the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), which provides administrative and technical support for political and humanitarian missions and coordinates all mine-clearing activities conducted under UN auspices.

      The UN's peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peace-building activities have suffered from serious logistical and financial difficulties. As more missions are undertaken, the costs and controversies associated with them have multiplied dramatically. Although the UN reimburses countries for the use of equipment, these payments have been limited because of the failure of many member states to pay their UN dues.

Sanctions (sanction) and military action
      By subscribing to the Charter, all members undertake to place at the disposal of the Security Council armed forces and facilities for military sanctions against aggressors or disturbers of the peace. During the Cold War, however, no agreements to give this measure effect were concluded. Following the end of the Cold War, the possibility of creating permanent UN forces was revived.

      During the Cold War the provisions of chapter 7 of the UN Charter were invoked only twice with the support of all five permanent Security Council members—against Southern Rhodesia in 1966 and against South Africa in 1977. After fighting broke out between North and South Korea (Korean War) in June 1950, the United States obtained a Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force to support its ally, South Korea, and turn back North Korean forces. Because the Soviet Union was at the time boycotting the Security Council over its refusal to seat the People's Republic of China, there was no veto of the U.S. measure. As a result, a U.S.-led multinational force fought under the UN banner until a cease-fire was reached on July 27, 1953.

      The Security Council again voted to use UN armed forces to repel an aggressor following the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. After condemning the aggression and imposing economic sanctions on Iraq, the council authorized member states to use “all necessary means” to restore “peace and security” to Kuwait. The resulting Persian Gulf War lasted six weeks, until Iraq agreed to comply with UN resolutions and withdraw from Kuwait. The UN continued to monitor Iraq's compliance with its resolutions, which included the demand that Iraq eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. In accordance with this resolution, the Security Council established a UN Special Mission (UNSCOM) to inspect and verify Iraq's implementation of the cease-fire terms. The United States, however, continued to bomb Iraqi weapons installations from time to time, citing Iraqi violations of “no-fly” zones in the northern and southern regions of the country, the targeting of U.S. military aircraft by Iraqi radar, and the obstruction of inspection efforts undertaken by UNSCOM.

      The preponderant role of the United States in initiating and commanding UN actions in Korea in 1950 and the Persian Gulf in 1990–91 prompted debate over whether the requirements and spirit of collective security could ever be achieved apart from the interests of the most powerful countries and without U.S. control. The continued U.S. bombing of Iraq subsequent to the Gulf War created further controversy about whether the raids were justified under previous UN Security Council resolutions and, more generally, about whether the United States was entitled to undertake military actions in the name of collective security without the explicit approval and cooperation of the UN. Meanwhile some military personnel and members of the U.S. Congress opposed the practice of allowing U.S. troops to serve under UN command, arguing that it amounted to an infringement of national sovereignty. Still others in the United States and western Europe urged a closer integration of United States and allied command structures in UN military operations.

      In order to assess the UN's expanded role in ensuring international peace and security through dispute settlement, peacekeeping, peace building, and enforcement action, a comprehensive review of UN Peace Operations was undertaken. The resulting Brahimi Report (formally the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations), issued in 2000, outlined the need for strengthening the UN's capacity to undertake a wide variety of missions. Among the many recommendations of the report was that the UN maintain brigade-size forces of 5,000 troops that would be ready to deploy in 30 to 90 days and that UN headquarters be staffed with trained military professionals able to use advanced information technologies and to plan operations with a UN team including political, development, and human rights experts.

Arms control and disarmament
      The UN's founders hoped that the maintenance of international peace and security would lead to the control and eventual reduction of weapons. Therefore the Charter empowers the General Assembly to consider principles for arms control and disarmament and to make recommendations to member states and the Security Council. The Charter also gives the Security Council the responsibility to formulate plans for arms control and disarmament. Although the goal of arms control and disarmament has proved elusive, the UN has facilitated the negotiation of several multilateral arms control treaties.

      Because of the enormous destructive power realized with the development and use of the atomic bomb during World War II, the General Assembly in 1946 created the Atomic Energy Commission to assist in the urgent consideration of the control of atomic energy and in the reduction of atomic weapons (nuclear weapon). The United States promoted the Baruch Plan, which proposed the elimination of existing stockpiles of atomic bombs only after a system of international control was established and prohibited veto power in the Security Council on the commission's decisions. The Soviet Union, proposing the Gromyko Plan, wanted to ensure the destruction of stockpiles before agreeing to an international supervisory scheme and wanted to retain Security Council veto power over the commission. The conflicting positions of the two superpowers prevented agreement on the international control of atomic weapons and energy.

      In 1947 the Security Council organized the Commission for Conventional Armaments to deal with armaments other than weapons of mass destruction, but progress on this issue also was blocked by disagreement between the Soviet Union and the Western powers. As a result, in 1952 the General Assembly voted to replace both of these commissions with a new Disarmament Commission. Consisting of the members of the Security Council and Canada, this commission was directed to prepare proposals that would regulate, limit, and balance reduction of all armed forces and armaments; eliminate all weapons of mass destruction; and ensure international control and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes only. After five years of vigorous effort and little progress, in 1957 the International Atomic Energy Agency was established to promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

      In 1961 the General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring the use of nuclear or thermonuclear weapons to be contrary to international law, to the UN Charter, and to the laws of humanity. Two years later, on August 5, 1963, the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty was signed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The treaty—to which more than 150 states later adhered—prohibited nuclear tests or explosions in the atmosphere, in outer space, and underwater. In 1966 the General Assembly unanimously approved a treaty prohibiting the placement of weapons of mass destruction in orbit, on the Moon, or on other celestial bodies and recognizing the use of outer space (space law) exclusively for peaceful purposes.

      In June 1968 the Assembly approved the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Treaty on the), which banned the spread of nuclear weapons from nuclear to nonnuclear powers; enjoined signatory nonnuclear powers, in exchange for technical assistance in developing nuclear power for “peaceful purposes,” not to develop or deploy nuclear weapons; and committed the nuclear powers to engage in measures of disarmament. The treaty represented a significant commitment on the part of more than 140 (now 185) signatory powers to control nuclear weapons proliferation; nevertheless, for many years the treaty, which went into effect in 1970, was not ratified by significant nuclear powers (including China and France) and many “near-nuclear” states (including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, and South Africa). Some of these states signed the treaty in the early 1990s: South Africa signed in 1991, followed by France and China in 1992.

      The UN has been active in attempting to eliminate other weapons of mass destruction of a variety of types and in a variety of contexts. In 1970 the General Assembly approved a treaty banning the placement of weapons of mass destruction on the seabed. A convention prohibiting the manufacture, stockpiling, and use of biological weapons was approved by the Assembly in 1971 and took effect in 1975, though many states have never acceded to it. In 1991 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on the registration of conventional arms that required states to submit information on major international arms transfers. During the first several years of the registry, fewer than half of the UN's members submitted the required information; by 2000 about three-fifths of governments filed annual reports. In 1993 the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibited the development, production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and called for the destruction of existing stockpiles within 10 years, was opened for signature. In 1996 the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons, was signed—though it has not yet entered into force—and two years later a treaty banning the production and export of antipersonnel land mines (Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction) was concluded. Despite international pressure, the United States refused to sign both the test ban and the land mine agreements.

      Many negotiations on disarmament have been held in Geneva. Negotiations have been conducted by the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1960); the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1962–68); the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (1969–78); and the Disarmament Commission (1979– ), which now has more than 65 countries as members. Three special sessions of the General Assembly have been organized on disarmament, and, though the General Assembly sessions have produced little in the way of substantive agreements, they have served to focus public attention on the issue. In other forums, significant progress has been made on limiting specific types of armaments, such as bacteriologic, chemical, nuclear, and toxic weapons.

Karen Mingst

Economic welfare and cooperation (economic development)
      The General Assembly, ECOSOC, the Secretariat, and many of the subsidiary organs and specialized agencies are responsible for promoting economic welfare and cooperation in areas such as postwar reconstruction, technical assistance, and trade and development.

Economic reconstruction
      The devastation of large areas of the world and the disruption of economic relations during World War II resulted in the establishment (before the UN was founded) of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in 1943. The UNRRA was succeeded by the International Refugee Organization, which operated from 1947 to 1951. To assist in dealing with regional problems, in 1947 ECOSOC established the Economic Commission for Europe and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East. Similar commissions were established for Latin America in 1948 and for Africa in 1958. The major work of economic reconstruction, however, was delegated to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( World Bank), one of the major financial institutions created in 1944 at the UN Monetary and Financial Conference (commonly known as the Bretton Woods Conference). Although the World Bank is formally autonomous from the UN, it reports to ECOSOC as one of the UN's specialized agencies. The World Bank works closely with donor countries, UN programs, and other specialized agencies.

Financing economic development
      The World Bank is also primarily responsible for financing economic development. In 1956 the International Finance Corporation was created as an arm of the World Bank specifically to stimulate private investment flows. The corporation has the authority to make direct loans to private enterprises without government guarantees and is allowed to make loans for other than fixed returns. In 1960 the International Development Association (IDA) was established to make loans to less-developed countries on terms that were more flexible than bank loans.

      The UN itself has played a more limited role in financing economic development. The General Assembly provides direction and supervision for economic activities, and ECOSOC coordinates different agencies and programs. UN development efforts have consisted of two primary activities. First, several regional commissions (for Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and Africa) promote regional approaches to development and undertake studies and development initiatives for regional economic projects. Second, UN-sponsored technical assistance programs, funded from 1965 through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), provide systematic assistance in fields essential to technical, economic, and social development of less-developed countries. Resident representatives of the UNDP in recipient countries assess local needs and priorities and administer UN development programs.

Trade and development
      After the massive decolonization of the 1950s and early 1960s, less-developed countries became much more numerous, organized, and powerful in the General Assembly, and they began to create organs to address the problems of development and diversification in developing economies. Because the international trading system (international trade) and the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) dealt primarily with the promotion of trade between advanced industrialized countries, in 1964 the General Assembly established the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to address issues of concern to developing countries. Toward that end, UNCTAD and the Group of 77 less-developed countries that promoted its establishment tried to codify principles of international trade and arrange agreements to stabilize commodity prices.

      UNCTAD discussions resulted in agreements on a Generalized System of Preferences, providing for lower tariff rates for some exports of poorer countries, and on the creation of a Common Fund to help finance buffer stocks for commodity agreements. UNCTAD also has discussed questions related to shipping, insurance, commodities, the transfer of technology, and the means for assisting the exports of developing countries.

      The less-developed countries attempted a more concerted and wide-ranging effort to redistribute wealth and economic opportunities through demands for a New International Economic Order, made in 1974 by the Group of 77 (which had become a permanent group representing the interests of less-developed states in the UN and eventually came to include more than 120 states). Encouraged by the successful demonstration of economic power by the oil-producing countries during the embargo of 1973–74, developing states demanded greater opportunities for development finance, an increase in the percentage of gross national product allocated by the advanced industrialized states to foreign aid, and greater participation in the specialized agencies created to deal with monetary and development issues, including the World Bank and the IMF. These demands resulted in limited modification of aid flows and of the practices of specialized agencies and produced much greater debate and publicity surrounding development issues. Following the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, UNCTAD and other UN agencies took part in discussions aimed at creating a new international financial architecture designed to control short-term capital flows.

Social welfare (social welfare program) and cooperation
      The United Nations is concerned with issues of human rights, including the rights of women and children, refugee resettlement, and narcotics control. Some of its greatest successes have been in the area of improving the health and welfare of the world's population. In the 1990s, despite severe strains on the resources of UN development programs and agencies resulting from massive refugee movements and humanitarian crises, the UN increased its emphasis on social development.

Refugees (refugee)
      After World War II the International Refugee Organization successfully resettled, repatriated, transported, and maintained more than one million European and Asian refugees. It was abolished in 1952 and replaced by a new international refugee structure. In 1951 ECOSOC drew up, and the General Assembly approved, a Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Office of the) (UNHCR) was then appointed and directed to act under this convention, and ECOSOC appointed an Advisory Commission to assist the high commissioner.

      The work of the UNHCR has become increasingly important since the late 1980s, involving major relief operations in Africa, Asia (particularly Southeast and Central Asia), Central America, western and central Europe, and the Balkans. At the end of the 1990s approximately 20 million people had been forced to migrate or had fled oppression, violence, and starvation. The UNHCR works in more than 120 countries and cooperates with more than 450 NGOs to provide relief and to aid in resettlement. For its services on behalf of refugees, the Office of the UNHCR was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1954 and 1981.

      A separate organization, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), administers aid to refugees in the Middle East.

      Unlike the League of Nations, the United Nations incorporated the principle of respect for human rights into its Charter, affirming respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without regard to race, sex, language, or religion. According to the Charter, the General Assembly is charged with initiating studies and making recommendations, and ECOSOC is responsible for establishing commissions to fulfill this purpose. Consequently, the Commission on Human Rights, originally chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Eleanor), was created in 1946 to develop conventions on a wide range of issues, including an international bill of rights, civil liberties, the status of women (for which there is now a separate commission), freedom of information, the protection of minorities (minority), the prevention of discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, language, or religion, and any other human rights concerns. The commission prepared the nonbinding Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948.

      After the declaration, the commission began drafting two covenants, one on civil and political rights and another on economic and cultural rights. Differences in economic and social philosophies hampered efforts to reach agreement, but the General Assembly eventually adopted the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1966. The covenants, which entered into force in 1976, are known collectively, along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as the international bill of rights. Although all countries have stated support for the 1948 declaration, not all observe or have ratified the two covenants. In general, Western countries have favoured civil and political rights (rights to life, liberty, freedom from slavery and arbitrary arrest, freedom of opinion and peaceful assembly, and the right to vote), and developing countries have stressed economic and cultural rights such as the rights to employment, shelter, education, and an adequate standard of living.

      The Commission on Human Rights and its subcommission meet annually in Geneva to consider a wide range of human rights issues. Human rights violations are investigated by a Human Rights Committee set up according to the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The commission and subcommission also carry out special responsibilities delegated by the General Assembly or by ECOSOC. The commission and subcommission have strengthened human rights norms and expanded the range of recognized rights, in part by drafting additional conventions on matters such as women's rights, racial discrimination, torture, labour laws, apartheid, and the rights of indigenous peoples.

      In particular, the UN has acted to strengthen recognition of the rights of women and children. It established a special Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was approved in 1979 and has been ratified by some 170 countries, and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by more than 190 countries. In 1995 the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, developed a Platform for Action to recognize women's rights and improve women's livelihood worldwide, and follow-up meetings monitored progress toward meeting these goals. UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, has worked since 1995 to implement the Beijing Platform for Action.

      The UN, through special rapporteurs and working groups, monitors compliance with human rights standards. In 1993 the General Assembly established the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), which is the focal point within the UN Secretariat for human rights activity.

Control of narcotics (narcotic)
      The Commission on Narcotic Drugs was authorized by the General Assembly in 1946 to assume the functions of the League of Nations Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs. In addition to reestablishing the pre-World War II system of narcotics control, which had been disrupted by the war, the United Nations addressed new problems resulting from the development of synthetic drugs. Efforts were made to simplify the system of control by drafting one convention incorporating all the agreements in force. The UN established the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) in 1997 to address problems relating to drugs, crime, and international terrorism.

health and welfare issues
      The UN, through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) (UNICEF) and specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), works toward improving health and welfare conditions around the world. UNICEF, originally called the UN International Children's Emergency Fund, was established by the General Assembly in December 1946 to provide for the needs of children in areas devastated by World War II. UNICEF was made a permanent UN organization in 1953. Financed largely by the contributions of member states, it has helped feed children in more than 100 countries, provided clothing and other necessities, and sought to eradicate diseases such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, and diphtheria. UNICEF promotes low-cost preventive health care measures for children, including the breast-feeding of infants and the use of oral rehydration therapy to treat diarrhea, the major cause of death in children. UNICEF has key monitoring responsibilities under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

      WHO is the primary UN agency responsible for health activities. Among its major initiatives have been immunization campaigns to protect populations in the developing world, regulation of the pharmaceutical industry to control the quality of drugs and to ensure the availability of lower-cost generics, and efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. The UN has responded to the AIDS epidemic through the establishment of UNAIDS, a concerted program of cosponsoring agencies, including UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, UNESCO, and the World Bank. UNAIDS is the leading advocate of global action on AIDS, supporting programs to prevent transmission of the disease, providing care for those infected, working to reduce the vulnerability of specific populations, and alleviating the economic and social impact of the disease. In 2001 UNAIDS coordinated a General Assembly special session on the disease.

      In response to growing worldwide concern with environmental issues, the General Assembly organized the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which was held in Stockholm in 1972 and led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the same year. UNEP has attempted to find solutions to various environmental problems, including pollution in the Mediterranean Sea; the threat to aquatic resources posed by human economic activity; deforestation, desertification, and drought; the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer by human-produced chemicals; and global warming. Much disagreement has arisen regarding the scientific bases of environmental concerns and the question of how to combine the goals of environmental protection and development. Although both developed and developing countries recognize the need to preserve natural resources, developing countries often charge that the environment has been despoiled primarily by the advanced industrialized states, whose belated environmental consciousness now hampers development for other countries. In other instances, developed countries have objected to the imposition of environmental standards, fearing that such regulations will hamper economic growth and erode their standard of living.

      UNEP succeeded in establishing, through the General Assembly, a World Commission on Environment and Development and in 1988 outlined an environmental program to set priorities for the 1990–95 period. International conferences, such as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the “Earth Summit”), held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, have continued to focus attention on environmental issues. The Earth Summit, which was far larger than any previous intergovernmental global conference, incorporated input from numerous NGOs. It produced a declaration of principles (the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development), a plan for the sustainable development of the Earth's resources into the 21st century (Agenda 21), and guidelines for the management, conservation, and sustainable development of forests. Subsequent UN conferences on social issues continued to incorporate sustainable development policies into their programs.

Dependent areas
      The United Nations has expressed concern for people living in non-self-governing territories. Most importantly, the UN has affirmed and facilitated the transition to independence (self-determination) of former colonies. The anticolonial movement in the UN reached a high point in 1960, when the General Assembly adopted a resolution sponsored by more than 40 African and Asian states. This resolution, called the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, condemned “the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation” and declared that “immediate steps shall be taken…to transfer all powers” to the peoples in the colonies “without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire…in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.” After the decolonization period of the 1950s and '60s, new states exerted increasing power and influence, especially in the General Assembly. With the admission of the new states of Africa and Asia to the United Nations in the 1960s and '70s and the end of the Cold War in 1991, politics within the General Assembly and the Security Council changed as countries formed regional voting blocs to express their preferences and principles.

      UN efforts to gain independence for Namibia from South Africa, carried out from the 1940s to the '80s, represent perhaps the most enduring and concerted attempt by the organization to promote freedom for a former colony. In 1966 the General Assembly took action to end the League of Nations mandate for South West Africa, providing for a United Nations Council for South West Africa in 1967 to take over administrative responsibilities in the territory and to prepare it for independence by 1968. South Africa refused to acknowledge the council, and the General Assembly, secretary-general, and Security Council (Security Council, United Nations) continued to exert pressure through the 1970s. In 1978 the General Assembly adopted a program of action toward Namibian independence, and the Security Council developed a plan for free elections. In 1988, with Namibian independence and the departure of Cuban troops from neighbouring Angola implicitly linked, South Africa finally agreed to withdraw from Namibia. In the following year a UN force—United Nations Temporary Auxiliary Group (UNTAG)—supervised elections and assisted in repatriating refugees. Namibia gained formal independent status in 1990.

Development of international law
      The United Nations, like the League of Nations, has played a major role in defining, codifying, and expanding the realm of international law. The International Law Commission, established by the General Assembly in 1947, is the primary institution responsible for these activities. The Legal Committee of the General Assembly receives the commission's reports and debates its recommendations; it may then either convene an international conference to draw up formal conventions based on the draft or merely recommend the draft to states. The International Court of Justice reinforces legal norms through its judgments. The commission and the committee have influenced international law in several important domains, including the laws of war (war, law of), the law of the sea, human rights, and international terrorism.

      The work of the UN on developing and codifying laws of war was built on the previous accomplishments of the Hague Conventions (Hague Convention) (1899–1907), the League of Nations, and the Kellog-Briand Pact (Kellogg-Briand Pact) (1928). The organization's first concern after World War II was the punishment of suspected Nazi war criminals. The General Assembly directed the International Law Commission to formulate the principles of international law recognized at the Nürnberg trials, in which German war criminals were prosecuted, and to prepare a draft code of offenses against the peace and security of mankind. In 1950 the commission submitted its formulation of the Nürnberg principles, which covered crimes against peace, war crimes (war crime), and crimes against humanity. In the following year the commission presented to the General Assembly its draft articles, which enumerated crimes against international law, including any act or threat of aggression, annexation of territory, and genocide. Although the General Assembly did not adopt these reports, the commission's work in formulating the Nürnberg principles influenced the development of human rights law.

      The UN also took up the problem of defining aggression, a task attempted unsuccessfully by the League of Nations (Nations, League of). Both the International Law Commission and the General Assembly undertook prolonged efforts that eventually resulted in agreement in 1974. The definition of aggression, which passed without dissent, included launching military attacks, sending armed mercenaries against another state, and allowing one's territory to be used for perpetrating an act of aggression against another state. In 1987 the General Assembly adopted a series of resolutions to strengthen legal norms in favour of the peaceful resolution of disputes and against the use of force.

      The UN has made considerable progress in developing and codifying the law of the sea (maritime law) as well. The International Law Commission took up the law of the sea as one of its earliest concerns, and in 1958 and 1960, respectively, the General Assembly convened the First and the Second United Nations Conferences on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The initial conference approved conventions on the continental shelf, fishing, the high seas, and territorial waters and contiguous zones, all of which were ratified by the mid-1960s. During the 1970s it came to be accepted that the deep seabed is the “common heritage of mankind” and should be administered by an international authority. In 1973 the General Assembly called UNCLOS III to discuss the conflicting positions on this issue as well as on issues relating to navigation, pollution, and the breadth of territorial waters. The resulting Law of the Sea (Sea, Law of the) Treaty (1982) has been ratified by some 140 countries. The original treaty was not signed by the United States, which objected to the treaty's restrictions on seabed mining. The United States signed a revised treaty after a compromise was reached in 1994, though the agreement has yet to be ratified by the U.S. Senate.

      The UN has worked to advance the law of treaties and the laws regulating relations between states. In 1989 the General Assembly passed a resolution declaring 1990–99 the UN Decade of International Law, to be dedicated to promoting acceptance and respect for the principles and institutions of international law. In 1992 the General Assembly directed the International Law Commission to prepare a draft statute for an International Criminal Court. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted in July 1998 and later signed by more than 120 countries. The ICC, which is to be located at The Hague upon the ratification of the statute by at least 60 signatory countries, has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes of aggression, pending an acceptable definition of that term. Under the terms of the convention, no person age 18 years or older is immune from prosecution, including presidents or heads of state.

      Since 1963 the United Nations has been active in developing a legal framework for combating international terrorism. The General Assembly and specialized agencies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency established conventions on issues such as offenses committed on aircraft, acts jeopardizing the safety of civil aviation, the unlawful taking of hostages, and the theft or illegal transfer of nuclear weapons technology. In 2001, in the wake of devastating terrorist attacks that killed thousands in the United States, the General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism continued work on a comprehensive convention for the suppression of terrorism.

      The United Nations is the only global international organization that serves multiple functions in international relations. The UN was designed to ensure international peace and security, and its founders realized that peace and security could not be achieved without attention to issues of rights—including political, legal, economic, social, environmental, and individual. Yet the UN has faced difficulties in achieving its goals, because its organizational structure still reflects the power relationships of the immediate post-1945 world, despite the fact that the world has changed dramatically—particularly with respect to the post-Cold War relationship between the United States and Russia and the dramatic increase in the number of independent states. The UN is a reflection of the realities of international politics, and the world's political and economic divisions are revealed in the voting arrangements of the Security Council, the blocs and cleavages of the General Assembly, the different viewpoints within the Secretariat, the divisions present at global conferences, and the financial and budgetary processes.

      Despite its intensively political nature, the UN has transformed itself and some aspects of international politics. Decolonization was successfully accomplished, and the many newly independent states joined the international community and have helped to shape a new international agenda. The UN has utilized Charter provisions to develop innovative methods to address peace and security issues. The organization has tried new approaches to economic development, encouraging the establishment of specialized organizations to meet specific needs. It has organized global conferences on urgent international issues, thereby placing new issues on the international agenda and allowing greater participation by NGOs and individuals.

      Notwithstanding its accomplishments, the United Nations still operates under the basic provision of respect for national sovereignty and noninterference in the domestic affairs of states. The norm of national sovereignty, however, runs into persistent conflict with the constant demand by many in the international community that the UN take a more active role in combating aggression and alleviating international problems. For example, the United States appealed to the issue of national sovereignty to justify its opposition to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Criminal Court. Thus it is likely that the UN will continue to be seen by its critics as either too timid or too omnipotent as it is asked to resolve the most pressing problems faced by the world's most vulnerable citizens.

Cecelia M. Lynch Karen Mingst Ed.

United Nations members
       United Nations membership United Nations membershipThe table provides a list of UN member countries.

United Nations secretaries-general
       Secretaries-general of the United Nations Secretaries-general of the United NationsThe table provides a chronological list of the secretaries-general of the UN.

Additional Reading

General history and function
A classic treatment of the evolution of international organization is Inis L. Claude, Jr., Swords into Plowshares: The Problems and Progress of International Organization, 4th ed. (1971, reissued 1984). Other important works include Craig N. Murphy, International Organization and Industrial Change: Global Governance Since 1850 (1994). The origin of the United Nations is traced in Cecelia Lynch, Beyond Appeasement: Interpreting Interwar Peace Movements in World Politics (1999); and Dorothy B. Robins, Experiment in Democracy (1971). The UN's first half century is discussed in Stanley Meisler, United Nations: The First Fifty Years (1995). Comprehensive overviews of the tasks and functioning of the UN can be found in Evan Luard, The United Nations: How It Works and What It Does, 2nd ed., rev. by Derek Heater (1994); Peter R. Baehr and Leon Gordenker, The United Nations in the 1990s (1992); and Amos Yoder, The Evolution of the United Nations System, 2nd ed. (1993). Brian Urquhart, A Life in Peace and War (1987), is a personal history of the diplomat's involvement in the organization. The role of the UN in the post-Cold War era is examined in J. Martin Rochester, Waiting for the Millennium: The United Nations and the Future of World Order (1993); and Karen A. Mingst and Margaret P. Karns, The United Nations in the Post-Cold War Era, 2nd ed. (2000).

Global conferences
Discussion of UN global conferences generally has taken the form of single-issue volumes on particular conferences. One notable exception is Michael G. Schechter (ed.), United Nations-Sponsored World Conferences: Focus on Impact and Follow-Up (2001). Single-volume works include Dimitris Bourantonis, The United Nations and the Quest for Nuclear Disarmament (1993); Irving M. Mintzer and J. Amber Leonard (eds.), Negotiating Climate Change: The Inside Story of the Rio Convention (1994); Anne Winslow (ed.), Women, Politics, and the United Nations (1995); Stanley Johnson, The Politics of Population: The International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo 1994 (1995); William M. Lafferty and Katarina Eckerberg (eds.), From the Earth Summit to Local Agenda 21: Working Towards Sustainable Development (1998); and Pamela S. Chasek, Earth Negotiations: Analyzing Thirty Years of Environmental Diplomacy (2001).

Intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations
The relationship between the United Nations and other international organizations on particular issues is addressed in Harold K. Jacobson, Networks of Interdependence: International Organizations and the Global Political System, 2nd ed. (1984); for the economic arena in particular, Joan Edelman Spero, The Politics of International Economic Relations, 4th ed. (1990), is helpful. The role of nongovernmental organizations is examined in Thomas G. Weiss and Leon Gordenker (eds.), NGOs, the UN, and Global Governance (1996); and Ann M. Florini (eds.), The Third Force: The Rise of Transnational Civil Society (2000).

United Nations Association of the United States of America, A Global Agenda (annual), contains information on the issues before the current General Assembly. Contemporary information also can be found in several UN publications, including Basic Facts about the United Nations (irregular); Yearbook of the United Nations; UN Chronicle (monthly); and Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization (annual).Cecelia M. Lynch Karen Mingst Jacques Fomerand

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Universalium. 2010.

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