For Sweden, my homeland, the United Nations is a sacred cow. But today, many Swedes, like others around the world, are having second thoughts. Three events incited these doubts.
The first was the slaughter in Rwanda a decade ago of more than 800,000 people within 100 days – probably the fastest genocide ever. The well-documented fact is that Kofi Annan, then the UN’s Deputy Secretary General, ordered UN soldiers in Rwanda not to intervene or protect the victims. That Annan, after this enormous failure, was promoted to Secretary General of the UN remains a puzzle.
Doubts about the UN, and Annan personally, were compounded by the ongoing scandal within the UN administration concerning the Oil for Food program. Although reports have so far not implicated Annan directly, his management failures are abundantly clear.
The third – and perhaps the most disillusioning – scandal concerns the Commission on Human Rights, for it lays bare much about the structural and permanent lack of balance and morality within key UN agencies. Most people assume that this Commission exists to promote human rights and democratic freedoms. Yet some of the worst human rights violators are Commission members. These enemies of freedom are permanently silent about torture, oppression, and mass murder carried out by their fellow dictatorships, but are quick to rant against the world’s democracies, in particular the United States.