Ala Amirshahi – Founder and co-ordinator of Democratise UN*

The United Nations organisation, as the most important international institution in the world is structured in the most undemocratic manner imaginable.

Its present structure according to its charter, both in its general assembly and particularly in the Security Council which is the most important body within the organisation is as far away from democratic as one can find.

Accordingly the decisions made by the security council are very often completely ignored by many countries so much so that , for example Mr Ahmadi Nejad, the president of the Islamic republic of Iran referred to these resolutions as useless pieces of meaningless papers.

In addition to the facts mentioned above, promotion of democracy in the world by such an institution is not only ridiculous but also hypocritical.

In order to expand on the subject, perhaps it is necessary to begin this argument by giving a brief history of the organisation since its formation.

The very first person who teased and made fun of the United Nations was General De Gaulle. He never referred to this institution with any respect or had any positive views about it. Of course his vision in this regard was unique and unlike any others who have expressed negative views relating to this institution. He, having studied the detailed contents of the structure according to which this organisation was to operate, could foresee its future. He clearly referred to the future of the United Nations as a farcical show.

The United Nations organisation was established at the end of the Second World War with the intention to replace the empty place of the League of Nations and to preserve peace and security in the world.

In the year 1919 after the First World War the League of Nations was formed.  But After 20 years, this international institution played such a weak and meaningless part in the world affairs to the extent that it could not even manage its own internal affairs. In the year 1939, the year that the Second World War started, out of the 60 members, 16 nations had already left the organisation and the remaining 44 members had no power to influence the world affairs and to deal intelligently and positively with those in favour of the war. Therefore starting with  The assassination on 28 June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, is seen as the immediate trigger of the war. Long-term causes, such as imperialistic foreign policies of the great powers of Europe, such as the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the British Empire, France, and Italy, played a major role. Ferdinand’s assassination by a Yugoslav nationalist resulted in a Habsburg ultimatum against the Kingdom of Serbia.  Several alliances formed over the past decades were invoked, so within weeks the major powers were at war; as all had colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world. (1)

In the year 1945, and after the Second World War the United Nations organisation was established, which had 51 members in the beginning. And now has, 192 member states taking part in its various activities.

In fact all the countries of the world regardless of their differences in the area of politics, religion and race became members.

Alas, this organisation in the first decade of the 21st century, with such a number of members embracing the world and with its vast institutional hierarchy could be easily compared with the ineffective actions taken by the League of Nations which were largely negative in the third decade of the 20th century.

What positive and favourable action has been taken and what are the aims and objectives of such a vast institution and what international difficulties have they been able to resolve? Almost none.

This organisation has one main operative side and an important body named the Security Council.  It has also a number of affiliated bodies such as UNESCO, FAO, IMF, IDB and UNICEF, International Court of Justice, Human Rights Organisation,  just to mention a few.

Which one of the above affiliated bodies can make a claim to any meaningful success in the areas of their responsibilities and can claim any success at all? Practically none.

Whilst the whole charter of the United Nations should be carefully examined and revised, line by line, and all people of the world who have any interests on the subject, and particularly specialists and academics, must be invited by appropriate means to participate in this imperative practice by expressing their views, suggestions and criticisms, but for the purpose of this brief and abridged article, I find it necessary to mention and discuss the structure and the voting regime of the two of the most important bodies of this organisation,  the current operative system  of which make a complete and utter mockery   of the entire operation and decisions of the United Nations organisation and therefore make it unfit for purpose.

However and before I embark upon commenting on those two most important bodies of the United Nations, I must admit that I have been absolutely flabbergasted to find that nobody has ever to date, thought or perhaps dared to talk about these apparent difficulties inherent in the system according to which the United Nations operates.

This, in itself, whilst appears to be very strange, made me more determined to pursue this path and convinced me that somebody must initiate this movement whatever the cost.

Now I come back to make some comments and discuss the unjust and the undemocratic operative details of the two most important parts and bodies of the United Nations as follows:

1-      The General Assembly.

At the present moment there are 192 member states participating in the discussions about world affairs all of whom are obliged to adhere to the rules as contained in the charter regarding the decisions as suggested and presented to them. Each member state has the same and equal rights as all the others, namely one vote. This is not only totally unfair and unjust but also completely undemocratic.

This is so because no account is taken with regard to the huge differences between different member states. Demographics (Population, Geographical circumstances, GDP, level of literacy, etc) just to mention a few, is not considered and regardless of these immense variations, each member state has one vote when a resolution is to be considered and a decision is to be made. How can any reasonable person justify this ridiculous operational system, is beyond my imagination.


2-      Permanent members and the existence of veto rights

Whatever the circumstances, over 60 years ago, the victors of the Second World War along with some other nations (Fifty one) decided to form the United Nations in order to ensure peace and security in the world. Gradually the Security Council, as the most important body in the United Nations, comprising of the 15 member states (ten of whom to be elected by the general assembly) was formed but the five other members were not only permanent but also had a veto right. This method has been in operation up to the present time which is most undemocratic and unjustifiable.

These permanent members, with the unique advantage of having a veto right are America, Russia, China, England and France.

At present as mentioned before there are 192 member states and only one of the permanent members with the veto right can through the implementation of this right, in effect negate the unanimous decisions of all the others and one wonders how the decent and peace loving people of the world can accept  and indeed tolerate this most dictatorial arrangements. No wonder many nations of the world and on numerous occasions have completely ignored some of the resolutions passed by the Security Council.


The anachronism, the ridiculousness of the existence of such dictatorial system and the danger that this ugly fact has created and can create in the world in future is so obvious that it hardly needs any further explanation.


In conclusion, I firmly and sincerely believe that this outrageous right (VETO) along with and simultaneous to a complete restructuring of the United Nation’s charter and its voting systems both in the general assembly and the Security Council must be undertaken  and this is in any event inevitable.

In closing, I would challenge anybody or any organisation including United Nations itself to prove me wrong on any of the points raised.  This should of course be based on clarified and confirmed evidence and show that the results of their past decisions backed by an honest and tangible case study, has ever been positive.



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