US PANEL CALLS FOR MAJOR UNITED NATIONS REFORM IN SCATHING REPORT

Autor: ---- Fuente: C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute)

A bipartisan task force of the Untied States Congress released a report on Wednesday stating that that the UN is in "urgent" need of "sweeping reforms." The report finds "tragic failures" in peacekeeping, a Human Rights Commission that is "a blot on the [UN's] reputation," "systematic hostility" towards Israel, and poor management with "bloated staffing" and a lack of accountability and transparency. The report endorses the UN Secretary-General's proposed reforms in his recent "In Larger Freedom" while also suggesting additional reforms.

The Task Force on the United Nations is one of seven ongoing US investigations of the UN, and is chaired by Newt Gingrich, Republican former speaker of the House of Representatives, and George J. Mitchell, Democratic former majority Senate leader. The US, as the "largest donor to the United Nations system, contributing 22 percent of the regular budget and nearly 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget," has a significant interest in UN effectiveness. The U.S. "paid an estimated $3.845 billion in contributions to the UN system in 2004."

The report notes that the Oil-for-Food program, "flawed by a combination of incompetence, gross mismanagement, and alleged corruption and criminality," created a "rare opportunity" for major UN reform, and the U.S. should "bring its considerable diplomatic leverage to bear to take advantage of this opportunity."

According to the report, the UN is weighed down by a "deadwood of useless programs" because once programs are mandated, they "face little scrutiny and can live on forever without having to justify their existence." The report recommends the creation of an independent audit committee, as currently "there does not appear to be an effective system to monitor results nor to link those results back to budgetary decisions."

The UN also has a "heavy load of staff who lack the skills or the motivation to perform their duties, or whose duties are no longer necessary," and there is a "high level of discontent, distrust and pessimism among staff concerning the integrity of the organization." "Morale is dismal," according to the report.

The report recommends that the Human Rights Commission "be abolished" because it has become "so distorted" that "countries with appalling, even monstrous, human rights records . . . could be seated there." To replace the Commission, the report endorses Kofi Annan's proposal for a Human Rights Council as "a body ideally consisting of democracies committed to upholding and promoting the highest standards in human rights."

The report also says that the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) be "reoriented towards a useful function." ECOSOC has been "greatly weakened" by the addition of more "autocratic governments," and currently has "scant impact on its mandated issues" of "fundamental human rights," "social progress" and "larger freedom." Its deliberations are often "redundant," as ECOSOC "hashes and rehashes pronouncements and resolutions, including those espousing ideas antithetical to US interests." Moreover, the General Assembly's committees "largely replicate" the purposes of ECOSOC.

Volume 8, Number 26
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