The United Nations, the international body formed to prevent conflicts and provide a platform of global diplomacy for peace, has been failing to stop the ongoing violent crisis in Syria.
On Friday, at least 50 people, including 13 children, were killed in the town of Homs in western Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Despite the U.N. ceasefire implemented back in April, the violence has been relentless as the Syrian government continues to use brutal force to quell the uprising to overthrow the oppressive Assad regime.
Friday’s killings marked an especially bloody day for the conflict. A special envoy headed by Kofi Annan attempting to resolve the conflict also began in April for an initial 90-day period. However, the lack of progress and the ongoing violence is showing signs of no end. Some are saying a civil war may break out, which admittedly has put the U.N. in a precarious situation.
Since the uprising began in spring of 2011, an estimated 12,000 people have been killed, about half of which were civilians. Inspired by the wave of uprisings that occurred throughout the Middle East region from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen, the Syrian protesters demanded an end to the near five decades of Ba’ath Party rule currently led by Bashar al-Assad. However, the regime has used brutal counter-revolutionary tactics to crack down on the protesters but has been met with ongoing opposition. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring Turkey, Jordon and Lebanon.
The UN Security Council has failed to agree on a resolution over Syria, as member nations Russia and China vetoed attempts at supporting the Arab League plan to end violence and support a political transition. It’s clear Russia and China’s decision to veto the resolutions demonstrates their unease in supporting the protesters’ demands, in fear of seeing uprisings in their countries as well. Despite the fact that member nations of the Security Council should act to represent all the members, they’ve clearly been acting in their own interests.
Recently, Amnesty International berated the Security Council’s failure to reach effective action in Syria, calling it “unfit” for its purpose. Secretary general of Amnesty, Salil Shetty said, “There is a clear and compelling case for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court for investigation of crimes against humanity. The determination of some U.N. Security Council members to shield Syria at any cost leaves accountability for these crimes elusive and is a betrayal of the Syrian people.”
Amnesty believes failure to act decisively over the violent events in Syria is evidence of a wider failure by the Security Council itself. It’s evident that the Syrian government is committing gross human rights violations but has yet to be stopped and held accountable. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reported to the Security Council “There is a continuing crisis on the ground, characterized by regular violence, deteriorating humanitarian conditions, human rights violations and continued political confrontation.” He blamed the Assad regime for much of the “unacceptable” violence and abuses occurring every day in the ongoing crisis
At the rate the crisis is headed, the U.N. will face bigger repercussions if it does not take stronger actions in Syria and contain the violence. The possibility of an all out civil war will have devastating consequences and will be a bigger burden to handle if more pressure is not implemented to stop it. The U.N., the highest stage of diplomacy in the world, must act quickly to bring an end to the violence in Syria and redeem itself from further disapproval. The conflict has gone on far too long.