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Humanitarian Intervention Essay

The United Nations is an international organization that fights for world peace, and strives to control international law, international security, economic development, social progress, and human rights. In the United Nation’s preamble, it states the organization is “determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…” and “…to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” However, the U.N. can often be ineffective and it has been an ongoing debate between the world’s leaders whether or not intervention is justified when inhumane acts are committed in foreign lands. Too many human beings have been victims of violence, rape and/or other crimes on the U.N.’s watch all because the organization is not authorized to forcefully intervene in another country. The United Nations Security Council is responsible for preserving peace between nations and even within nations, and when a nation is committing atrocious acts against its citizens, the U.N. and other nations should have the right to intervene militarily to end those abuses.

Just as if a teenager would take on the responsibilities of providing a home and food for themselves when they move out, a country assumes the responsibility of taking care of its citizens when it becomes independent. When a country proves to the outside world it is not capable of controlling its citizens and maintaining a peaceful nation, blue helmeted U.N. troops may invade these unstable regions. It would be inhumane for the U.N., any country, or any human to witness a population suffering and not try to interfere in some way. To look the other way would be immoral and an inhumane act of itself. When trying to obtain peace in foreign countries, peaceful negotiations are not always successful and other means are necessary. In the past, the U.N. has not been able to aid suffering populations militarily and has failed to protect the citizens from vicious crimes. In a survey taken by the U.N. in 2007, “which covered a total of 14 countries, plus the Palestinian Territories, [it] found that solid majorities in each of 12 national pools believe that the U.N.

Security Council should have the right to authorize the use of military force to protect innocent people from genocide and other massive abuses, even against the will of their own government” (Lobe). Even with the support of the majority of world, the U.N. still does not have the authority to forcefully protect innocent people from cruelty. When tens of thousands of people were being killed in Darfur, and Rwanda, it was the U.N.’s responsibility to step in and save the lives of those living in a country at an unfortunate time. However, by following their rules of procedure, the U.N. troops were not allowed to use force unless fired upon. Since 2003, “tens of thousands of people have being killed and over one million people displaced” in Darfur and in 1994, Hutus killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda (Spectators to Genocide). “As a result of the massacre [in Rwanda], there are more than one million orphans” (Rust).

But when the blue helmeted troops entered the Rwandan chaos, there was not much they could do to stop the genocides that were taking place right before their eyes. It took the United Nations three years after the United States declared the events taking place in Darfur as genocide to interfere, and even still the U.N. has done nothing beneficial to help those suffering in Darfur. Unable to seize weapons, the blue helmets stand by powerless. Had the United Nations involved itself earlier in Rwanda and Darfur and at full force, millions of people’s lives could have been saved or bettered. If the U.N. involved itself militarily, it is possible that the U.N. may have a few casualties, but the United States Army has lost a good number of soldiers over the years while fighting for causes they believe in. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made, and if a few members of the U.N. were lost in effort to protect the lives of thousands of people and potentially save a population, it would be an admirable sacrifice.

It should be the world’s responsibility to defend civilians when its government is guilty of neglecting to “protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity” (Reeves). Had the United Nations acted quicker when the Hutus began killing the Tutsis, and put an end to the vicious attacks that took place during those days, future genocides could have possibly been prevented. Instead, the word genocide can be heard more frequently and little is being done to stop that. Thousands of lives could have been saved or altered had the United Nations been able to step in and militarily defend the helpless populations of Rwanda and Darfur. Justification of humanitarian intervention is essential in order to protect the lives and rights of those suffering from genocide.

The U.N. should want a reputation of not allowing genocides to take place, but instead the organization is being criticized for the lack of effort and aid being lent to those countries in need. Over the years, too many lives have been lost or damaged due to genocide and other inhumane acts. Humanitarian intervention needs to be allowed when a country is not protecting its citizens, in effort to save the lives of populations. The United Nations’ ineffectiveness in the past should be enough of a reason for why humanitarian intervention should be justified. It is imperative that the United Nations be entitled to militarily involve itself when innocent lives are in danger.

Works Cited
“Charter of the United Nations: Preamble.” Welcome to the United Nations: It’s Your World. Web. 03 Nov. 2010. .
Jim Lobe. “U.N.: POLL SHOWS BROAD SUPPORT FOR U.N. ACTION AGAINST GENOCIDE. ” Global Information Network 6 April 2007 Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 3 Nov. 2010. Reeves, E. “Failure to Protect: International Response to Darfur Genocide. ” Harvard International Review 29.4 (2008): 84-85. Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 3 Nov. 2010. Rust, Selina. “RWANDA: REMEMBERING THE UNFORGETTABLE. ” Global Information Network 9 April 2010 Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 9 Nov. 2010. “Spectators to Genocide. ” Wall Street Journal 2 Aug. 2007, Eastern edition: National Newspaper Abstracts (3), ProQuest. Web. 3 Nov. 2010.


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