There is an urgent need for reforms at the UN to meet the challenges of international terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and promotion of human rights, former Under-Secretary-General of the global body Shashi Tharoor has said here.
“The UN is indispensable and has no alternative. Absence of reforms could discredit it and there is an urgent need for reforms,” he said at a programme here yesterday.
Tharoor, a Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram who quit the UN in 2007 after losing the race for the post of Secretary General to Ban Ki-moon, said already there was a danger that countries in groups were attaching importance to other fora like the G-20.
He quoted former US president Harry Truman who said “If we fail to do that (maintain UN), we will betray those who have died (read in the Holocaust, Hiroshima bombings and the two World Wars)”.
There is now a need for even a stronger UN to meet the challenges of international terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and promotion of human rights, he said.
Regarding India’s permanent membership to the UN Security Council, he said “that issue has been flogged to death”. “That issue is reflecting the geo-political situation of 1945 and not of today,” Tharoor said.
The UN, which completed 70 years of its existence two years ago, had been criticised for failing to meet the objectives of its charter but it has done many things which have prevented more damage to humanity, Tharoor said.
“What UN achieved is that it prevented the Cold War (between the US and USSR) from turning hot, vetoing the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, mounting peace settlements and ended numerous regional conflicts,” he said at a session on UN at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
It has also ended many civil wars through mediation and facilitated more than 500 treaties though at times UN itself had been at the receiving end by all sides, said Tharoor, who spent 29 years of service at the UN.
Stating that UN was an attempt to convert the wartime alliances into peacetime organisation with an aim to guide international behaviour to cooperate for common good, Tharoor said although there were voices from some quarters to dismiss it, it needs to be seen how the next US president and the one who succeeds Secretary General Ban navigates the world body to become more responsive to the voices of less powerful member countries and usher in a new order.