Time for reform — global issues
  • opinion Written by Andrew Firmin (London)
  • interpress service

Today’s conflicts around the world have resulted in untold atrocities and suffering targeting civilians and civil society, not only in Gaza, but also in Sudan, Ukraine and, sadly, many other places. 1 in 6 people People are currently exposed to conflict. International rules ensure that atrocities do not occur, and when atrocities occur, the international community works to stop the bloodshed and bring those responsible to justice. But states have repeatedly ignored the rules.

Latest Civil society status reportfrom the global civil society alliance CIVICUS, highlights how international institutions are wavering as national policies advance. hypocritical decision Anything that undermines the rules-based international order. Belligerents brazenly ignore long-established doctrines of international human rights and humanitarian law. Because they expect to get away with it. Civil society has plans for global governance reform, but it has no seat at the table.

Powers including Russia and the United States have shown selective respect for rules, harshly criticizing enemies while defending allies. This is clear from the number of countries rushing to defend Ukraine but hesitant to criticize Israel. At the most despicable level, some states exhibit racism because they show concern for the human rights of white people but not the human rights of people of color.

The Security Council moved incredibly slowly, hampered by veto powers from powerful states, and despite the urgency of the situation, resolutions were watered down by a lengthy process. Countries that want to end conflicts participate in other forums, such as the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, but these do not have the same influence as the Security Council.

Human rights should be one of the responsibilities of the United Nations. three pillars, alongside peace and security and sustainable development. But they have a very bad relationship.The pillars of human rights can be obtained by 4.3 percent of the regular budget of the United Nations. Problems with funding were evident in January, when the UN office was in Geneva. shutdown A liquidity crisis has temporarily made it impossible to cover heating costs in the midst of a human rights emergency. It was reported that approximately 50 UN member states have not paid their 2023 contributions in full or in part.

Some countries have withdrawn from UN human rights investigations. uganda and Venezuela Advocating for the closure of the country’s human rights institutions, Sudanese The military ousts the United Nations mission tasked with restoring democracy. ethiopia He successfully lobbied for the abolition of the commission, which scrutinizes many human rights violations committed during conflicts.

At the same time, oppressive states are retaliating against activists who participate in UN human rights processes.Latest report A report on retaliation against people who cooperate with the United Nations documents that last year, 40 states punished people who used the United Nations to protect human rights. Amazingly, 14 of them were members of the Human Rights Council, almost 30% of the members of the Human Rights Council. This is a shameful statement that points to a broader problem of lack of respect for human rights by many countries working in the United Nations.

It’s not just that human rights cannot be protected in times of conflict. The short-term calculations of unaccountable leaders are undermining international agreements designed to tackle major transnational challenges such as the climate crisis and climate crisis. sustainable development, delivery has been significantly delayed.Towards sustainable development goals summit At an international conference last September, civil society proposed innovative ideas to raise the resources needed to finance development and climate resilience, but these were ignored. Civil society is often denied access and, at best, forced to watch the opening ceremonies of annual high-level meetings. united nations general assembly.

Today’s crises are exposing fundamental design flaws in international institutions and testing them beyond their limits. If trust in the United Nations erodes, people may embrace more authoritarian alternatives. To prevent this, states and the United Nations must incorporate civil society’s many practical reform ideas. The United Nations needs to become more democratic and fully include civil society as an essential partner.

It can start by implementing some civil society reform proposals. The first of these, and the easiest to adopt, is civil society envoy, who can encourage best practices on civil society engagement across the United Nations, ensure diverse civil society engagement, and advance the United Nations’ engagement with civil society groups around the world. At a time when civil society is under attack in so many countries, this move would signal that the United Nations takes civil society seriously and could enable further progress.

Taking another step forward is global citizen initiative, will be able to mobilize people and collect signatures to put the issue on the UN agenda. This could ensure that issues that have proven to have high levels of public support globally are considered, including by the Security Council. Many in civil society also united nations parliament It complements the General Assembly and gives voice not only to the government but also to the people. This could serve as a valuable corrective to the state-centric nature of decision-making and serve as a source of scrutiny and accountability for the decisions the UN does or does not take.

Civil society is a rules-based order in which clear laws and policies are followed to tackle climate change, eradicate poverty, address deep economic inequalities, alleviate conflict, and prevent gross human rights violations. will continue to seek.united nations future summit In September 2024, we must commit to advancing this vision. Civil society is fully committed to this process, demanding real reforms that put people at the center of decision-making, not more banalities.

Andrew Firmin I am the editor-in-chief, co-director, and writer of CIVICUS. civilus lens And its co-author is Civil society status report.

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© Inter Press Service (2024) — All rights reservedSource: Interpress Service

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