ISSN 2330-717X

COVID-19: The UN Remains As A Cosmetic Body – OpEd

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While the world community is shaken  by the ongoing COVID 19 crisis and most governments are struggling to prevent spread of virus, one organization that appears to be conspicuous by near silence on COVID 19 issue is United Nations Organisation (UNO).

The World Health Organisation (WHO ), a wing of UNO, has been widely accused of not fulfilling it’s responsibility in forewarning the world about the COVID 19 crisis.   WHO is criticized and ridiculed and some countries  have even blamed it for “patronizing” China, by not finding fault with China for not sharing the information with the world with regard to the virus spread in China in November / December 2019.

Now, China claims that it is almost free of the virus but has not cared to inform the world as to what strategy it adopted. Further, China has not allowed any country in the world  as well as WHO to visit Wuhan and inspect the conditions there.

In the event of such serious crisis, WHO is entitled to demand that its team should be allowed to visit the infected area, so that it can evolve its recommendation for the benefit of the world community.

Neither China has permitted WHO to visit  Wuhan, nor WHO has demanded such visits.

On the other hand, when China recently opened the wet markets, which could be a source of Wuhan virus that spread around the world and several countries expressed concern about China’s decision to open the wet market, surprisingly WHO supported China’s decision.

Suspicion about the role and competence of WHO are now very much evident across the world and President Trump has no alternative other than withdrawing the fund support to WHO for its suspected dubious role.  

View of UN Secretary General :

What is worse is that Secretary General of UNO has supported WHO, inspite of WHO’s failure to forewarn the world about the Wuhan crisis.

the UN Secretary General has not cared to offer any reasons or explanations for his stand supporting WHO.

The statement of the UN Secretary General is viewed with contempt by  many countries, as nothing but a scrap of paper.

Today, the world does not understand why the virus developed in Wuhan and why it spread rapidly across the world.

There is certainly a strong case for ordering an international enquiry about the Wuhan virus crisis, due to which several countries have been forced to declare lockdown, the world economy has suffered a big beating, billions of people in different countries have lost jobs and the world is threatened with negative economic growth in the coming  period.

On the insistence of some members of the UN Security Council, a meeting was organized to discuss the COVID 19, that produced no results. In such circumstances, many people wonder as to whether the UN Security council / UNO has become  a mere debating forum that can provide no decisive results for the benefit of the world community.

The UN Security Council has become an anachronism, since five countries have membership in the UN Security Council with veto power for each member, whereas advanced countries like Japan, Germany, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan and a populous country like India are not members of the UN Security Council.

While the five permanent members of Security Council were chosen after the end of World War II, these five members themselves have been the source of conflicts and war in the world on several occasions in the past, since the end of World War II.

Germany and Japan, which were branded as villains after the World War II, are now more committed to peace than the five permanent members of the Security Council.

For conducting the much needed worldwide enquiry on Wuhan crisis, UNO has to take the initiative.

Will UNO act on these lines? It is extremely doubtful in its present  structure.

The time has now come to reform the UN Security council / UNO and reinvent the organization to make it play a useful role.

Who will carry out such a reinventing exercise for UNO?

Obviously, the UN Secretary General has to play a proactive role and by voicing his concern and develop his image as the conscience keeper of the world.

The demand for reinventing UNO should start from the office of the UN Secretary General.

If this were to happen, the choice of person for UN Secretary General post must be done with much more care, based on the ethical and moral credibility and global standing of the person.

As of today, there is no indication that such a development would take place in the UNO.

In any case, all said and done, it is clear that after COVID 19, at best, UNO, in its present form and structure, can remain only as a cosmetic club and a meeting forum, giving no hope for emergence of a world of peace and harmony. 

It is high time that the world community should understand that UNO has become a failed body and the COVID 19 crisis highlights this failure, more than ever before.


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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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