FILE - United Nations headquarters. Former SA president Jacob Zuma addresses the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit. 270915. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
FILE - United Nations headquarters. Former SA president Jacob Zuma addresses the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit. 270915. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Peacekeeping body should be less Eurocentric

By Salman Khan Time of article published Sep 19, 2021

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OPINION: The time has come for the UN to be decolonised and reformed so that it becomes less Eurocentric and does not continue to be a forum for pursuing western agendas, writes Salman Khan.

Western countries are increasingly focused on strengthening their political and economic presence in Africa to counter the rising power of China. But in doing so, they are merely paying lip service to the global human rights agenda and the fight against racism.

In fact, a number of South Africa’s major western trading partners – the US, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada and Australia are refusing to participate in the events commemorating the anniversary of the Durban declaration against racism on the grounds of its alleged anti-Israeli nature. This month marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations World Conference Against Racism that was held in Durban in 2001.

The objectives of the Durban Conference were, according to UN resolution 52/111, to review existing racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, and to formulate concrete recommendations to further action-oriented national, regional, and international measures to combat them.

The reason for boycotting the 20th-anniversary event at United Nations headquarters this September is due to concerns that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement would launch protests again in the capitals of developed countries, wreaking havoc on the streets. What is absurd is the fact that Germany has acknowledged its genocide against the Herero and Nama people in Namibia but is this year boycotting the UN event known as the Durban conference.

Reconciliation cannot be taken for granted — now the hard work should begin, but Berlin has a different opinion.

The US, which is an outspoken critic of BRICS, is the country leading the boycott. The White House has repeatedly voiced its arguments against the election of China and Russia to the United Nations’ premier body for protecting human rights – the UN Human Rights Commission. Human rights clauses were selectively used against African and Muslim leaders in the case of Saddam Hussain and Muammar Gadaffi, while the war crimes committed by George Bush, Tony Blair and Barack Obama have been ignored.

Recently, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made references to the human right abuses in Afghanistan, but ignored the mass rape, double lockdown and extra-judicial killings in the areas under Indian occupation in Kashmir. Gaddafi was murdered, even though he had wanted to empower Africa, and had a plan to create a new African Union, based on a new continental economic system.

The fact that he wanted to introduce the Gold Dinar to back African currencies so they could become free from the dollar and he wanted to protect Africa's vast natural resources from Western looting may have been some of the reasons which led to his demise.

In the meantime, the West is trying to protect its multinational companies, which are involved in organising illicit financial flows out of Africa and damaging the environment on the continent. But what has the western world got to offer to Africa right now other than the values of consumerism and Hollywood movies? These have absolutely nothing to do with principles of Ubuntu – communality, respect, dignity and social justice.

The time has come for the UN to be decolonised and reformed so that it becomes less Eurocentric and does not continue to be a forum for pursuing western agendas. The UN Security Council has repeatedly demonstrated its anti-Muslim and African agenda and has at times promoted Islamophobia and Afrophobia.

The UN Security Council issued a resolution on Libya, authorising Nato forces to intervene to protect the "human rights of the Libyan people," which were supposedly under threat by Gadaffi's regime. But there have been no similar resolutions issued by the UNSC to authorise force to protect the people of Palestine or Kashmir from the human rights abuses of Israel or India. The double standards have given rise to accusations that certain leaders will never be held accountable for their human rights abuses.

The International Court of Justice laid charges against former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on five counts of crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape. In addition, he was charged on two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population or against individual civilians.

But what about the thousands who have been extra-judicially killed, raped and abducted in Indian occupied Kashmir? These crimes have been widely documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, but there is no protection for the victims.

The time has come to re-examine the mandate of the UN, to re-evaluate its relevance, and determine whether the UN is fulfilling its mandate, or is merely serving a western agenda.

* Salman Khan is a human rights activist based in South Africa

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL and Independent Media.

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