Main purpose of UN, to prevent war, has clearly not been achieved.

The UN was set up with the express purpose of preventing global wars, yet it has done
absolutely nothing to prevent them. Indeed, the UN has often served merely as a forum for
countries to abuse and criticise each other, rather than resolve disputes peacefully.
In some cases, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, UN resolutions have arguably been used as
a justification for wars, rather than to prevent them. Research shows that the number of
armed conflicts in the world rose steadily in the years after 1945 and has only begun to
plateau or fall since the end of the Cold War.
It is unfair to say that the United Nations has failed just because conflict has not been
eradicated from the world. The causes that drive nations to war with one another often cannot
be resolved by diplomatic means; to set global peace as the test for the UN’s efficiency is
clearly unfair. Nonetheless the UN has served as an effective forum for behind the scenes
diplomacy in many international crises. It has come to the aid of countries when attacked, as
in the examples of [South] Korea and Kuwait in 1950 and 1990 respectively; it has also kept
the peace in, for example, the former Yugoslavia, Cyprus and East Timor. The fact that armed
conflicts around the world have become less common since 1990 is, arguably, at least partly
down to the good offices of the United Nations.

UN ignores or enables human rights abuses.
Despite the development of the concept of human rights in the post-war world, the UN has
totally failed to protect the rights of citizens, ethnic minorities, women and children. It has
stood by during episodes of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, Congo and Yugoslavia among
many others [1], tolerates some of the world’s worst dictatorships as members, and does
nothing to improve the situation of women in developing nations. Indeed, where UN
peacekeepers have been sent into war-torn countries, they have sometimes been guilty of the
most horrendous human rights abuses themselves.[2]
As of 2011, the UN’s Human Rights Council itself is comprised of members such as Saudi
Arabia, Cuba and China


The General Assembly is little more than a forum for world leaders and ambassadors to lambast each other. Where the UN has failed to prevent genocide or human rights violations. and certainly not as a body of coherent international law. For example. In the UN’s 65 years. the UN has in fact been instrumental in developing the modern concept of human rights. The UN displays all the worst traits of bureaucracies the world over. As an analogy. such as the US. through United Nations agencies every day. The Security Council is systemically unable to take decisive action in many of the world’s troublespots due to its outdated permanent membership structure. national governments have often been accused of being slow to change and reform. the Human Rights Council consists of some the worst human rights abusers in the world. the veto has been used nearly 300 times Counterpoint Stories of bureaucracy and delay in the General Assembly obscure the vital work that goes on. it has generally been due to the failure of the international community rather than the UN itself.As argued below (Opposition argument 2). the bloodshed in Rwanda went unstopped not because the UN was unconcerned. but because those nations that might have intervened.not a failure that can fairly be laid at the door of the UN. such as the Security Council veto. It is true that the UN’s decisionmaking processes are not terribly efficient but in a body comprising nearly 200 members this is probably inevitable. which prior to its foundation essentially did not exist as an idea. [1] . which gives five nations a totally disproportionate power to prevent the world body from acting against their interests. The NGO UN Watch has accused the HRC focusing almost exclusively on alleged human rights abuses by Israel to the exclusion of almost every other country. often unnoticed. And the UN has acted to prevent and condemn human rights abuses all over the world. As mentioned above. were unable or unwilling to do so . If there are problems with the structure of the UN. UN decision-making procedures are very inefficient. the answer is to reform those institutions to fit the challenges of the 21st Century. but we do not conclude from this that “government has failed” and seek to abolish them! Many UN bodies are corrupt or compromised. France or neighbouring African countries.

much less national governments. It is true that the Human Rights Council contains some nations with bad records on civil liberties but it is surely better to engage with such regimes and shame them into slowly improving their human rights standards. in that case NATO. than simply excluding them from UN organs and losing any influence over how they treat their citizens.[1] In any case. WTO and so on. Even if many decisions are now taken outside the UN framework that does not reflect badly on that body. which serve as the vehicle for international cooperation Counterpoint Despite the proliferation of supranational organisations. many international organisations work very closely with the United Nations. this debate is about whether or not the United Nations has failed. Even where the UN does get involved in international affairs – such as in the Libyan crisis of 2011 – it is other bodies. and far more transparent than many comparable institutions. political and trade issues around the world are almost all dealt with either through bilateral agreements between nations or by specialised bodies set up for that purpose – the World Bank. in a way this expansion in the number and range of international organisations is a testament to the success of the UN model. it is to the UN Security Council that it reports. or even partially within its system. In all of these fields the UN is little more than an irrelevance. Most international co-operation can takes place outside UN framework The major economic. [2] It is for these reasons that the US long refused to pay its full dues to the United Nations and threatens to do so again in future. NATO.[3] Counterpoint The United Nations is no more corrupt than any large organisation. Furthermore. EU. when the International Atomic Energy Authority assesses the compliance of nations such as Iraq or Iran with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Indeed. as well as withholding funding from UNESCO in 2011 after it voted to recognise Palestine as an independent state. . ASEAN. For example.There have been widespread allegations of corruption in UN bodies. IMF. the United Nations remains the indispensable global forum for meeting to discuss world affairs.