On May 1, International United Nations Watch (IUNW) sent two letters to Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salamé, and President of the Human Rights Council Coly Seck, that outlined IUNW objections to the shortcomings of UN activities in Libya and Yemen.
IUNW spokesperson Maya Garner made clear that in both Libya, and Yemen, the United Nations has not done enough to rein in the negative impact of certain member states. Garner also wrote that the UN needs to do more to measure up to its own stated values and standards, particularly as it relates to humanitarian catastrophe, and the often hostile aspirations of some countries, in the two states.
“The UN has achieved some success in mediation efforts among Libya’s different warring factions, and has attempted to help build new democratic institutions in the country,” Garner wrote to Dr. Salamé, going on to push for accountability for states currently involved in Libya such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. “However, it has failed to adequately challenge the ways in which its member states have sought to promote interests in the country that are contrary to UN values, as well as those of the 2011 uprising that overthrew Muammer Gaddafi.”
“This is in contradiction of the United Nations’ own objectives in supporting the Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, and is certainly not in the best interests of the Libyan people.”
Garner had similar criticisms for Mr. Seck, stating that “the current situation in Yemen is an affront to the values of peace, stability, and good governance that are embedded in the UN’s guiding principles.”
“Although the UN has tried to mediate between different sides of the conflict, and has done everything from arranging ceasefires, to pushing back against extreme violence, it has been unable to pressure countries like Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates, to subordinate their political and strategic interests in Yemen, to their legal and ethical obligations as members of the UN.”
While IUNW continues to applaud efforts by the United Nations to find diplomatic solutions to ongoing conflicts in Libya and Yemen, it also urgently believes that the UN needs to do more to hold its member states accountable to its moral and institutional framework. Otherwise, the result will be hypocrisy, rather than the properly international governance and cooperation that it promises.