Seventy years ago the United Nations came into being in a historic atmosphere of goodwill and hope. President Harry Truman talked of “a victory against war itself.” Indeed, there is much to be proud of in what the U.N. has achieved over the past seven decades — in peacekeeping, humanitarian work, and combating poverty. But Truman also warned of what would happen if governments failed to use the U.N. Charter, which reaffirmed the values of human rights and equality and committed to maintain international peace and security, as intended. In that case, he said, “we shall betray all those who have died so that we might meet here in freedom and safety to create it.”
Today, that sense of betrayal is real.
The opportunities that the creators of the United Nations gave to the world — for the U.N. Security Council to act robustly to help protect civilians and prevent crimes against humanity — have been repeatedly and shamefully squandered.
At Amnesty International, we have documented unimaginable suffering in Syria. More than 250,000 people have died there. Twelve million — almost half the country’s population — have been forced to flee their homes or their country. Huge numbers continue to risk and lose their lives in fleeing the conflagration. Decisive action to protect civilians has never been more pressing.
Yet the powerful Security Council, which has been entrusted with the most precious kind of responsibility, has again and again failed to act…
The full piece can be read at Foreign Policy: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/23/the-united-states-hamstrung-united-nations-mission-crimes-humanity-syria-russia/