After World War II, the founding members of the United Nations adopted the UN Charter to offer a way out of war and a path to peace and security, to end genocide, to enshrine human rights for all, and to move towards human dignity and social advancement. On the occasion of the UN’s 75th Anniversary, it is a good time to examine the successes and failures of the United Nations and to measure whether the legal and political framework envisioned in the UN Charter has lived up to its promise and ideals.
The response to the British-French-Israeli invasion of the Sinai in 1956-1957 and the UN response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990-1991 are examples of the United Nations at its best.
Two days after the Israeli army invaded Egypt on 29 October 1956 with the participation of two permanent members of the Security Council, the UK and France, Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld reminded the Security Council of the necessity that “all Member nations honor their pledge to observe all Articles of the Charter” and that “those organs which are charged with the task of upholding the Charter will be in a position to fulfil their task.” In response to the deadlock in the Council, the General Assembly invoked the “Uniting for Peace” resolution to convene an emergency special session, which called on all foreign troops to withdraw from Egypt and established the UN Emergency Force – the first UN peacekeeping mission.
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