The Security Council (SC) obviously is the most powerful institution in the UN. Also, it has a right to enforce the UN charter and the UN international human rights treaties. In fact, the SC could use its instruments to stop any violations against human rights, if it considered that violation as a threat to international peace. In which case, the SC has played a significant role in dealing with violation of human rights in the East Timor region within the territory of Indonesia.
The case is that East Timor’s people claim to be independent nation. Thus, in respect to the sovereignty, the Indonesian government has considered that as a threat to national stability and therefore acted against them without respect to the international human rights treaties. In this case, the SC intervened and finally gave East Timor an independent status. Despite of such a notable role of the SC in dealing with human rights violations within state, there are many cases where the SC was silenced or has not responded in time.
The Kosovo crises would be an appropriate example in the case of the ineffectivity of the role of the UN and specifically of the SC in its task of protecting human rights within states. This massive human rights abuse was made by Yugoslavia against people who lived in Kosovo. In this case, the UN did not use any type of enforcement against Yugoslavia to stop and deter it due to the absence of legal ground. In spite of the situation, the NATO used its armed forces before was given any authorization from the SC and also without any reference to the two bases which the United Nations’ charter asserts.
The humanitarian norms and the instability in the region were the basis for the NATO intervention. Even that act was made outside the framework of the UN charter and without the SC authorization; Kofi Annan stated that the use of force could be a legitimate action in the case of keeping peace. This statement from the Secretary-General of the UN at that time seems to be agreement with action that NATO took. This case shows that the UN charter was unable to protects the rights of the people in Kosovo from being violated.
Even with humanitarian intervention, the contraventions still occurred. At last, the SC was encouraged and made a decision that could stop the war by providing the NATO and Yugoslavia with a military agreement and permitting a peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Obviously, the response by the SC was late enough for Kosovo to be destroyed. In fact, until the SC intervened, many people were already killed, missed and tortured. This example comes up with a concern about the role of the UN, especially after the statement of Kofi Annan.
To support the previous argument that the SC has insufficient mechanism and power for preventing humanitarian crisis within states, the Bosnia crisis would be another example to show how the SC was ineffective in saving Muslim Bosnia from being abused. In that case, Serbs and Croatia made a pact to eradicate Muslim civilians from their territory. This issue was considered as an ethnic cleansing because the violators treated the victims using cruel methods. About 60,000 Bosnian women were raped, more than two hundred thousand 200,000 were killed, 30,000 were missed and about 2.
7 were left million homeless. Later in 1992, the UN reported that action as a human rights violation and described it as a form of genocide. The UN and its institutions recognized and asserted that the ethnic cleansing is a violation of human rights but it took long enough for the UN to act and stop the disaster. This instance portrays the role of the UN and the SC no more than a reporter or advisory. Again, this example constitutes that the intervention of the SC happens only after human rights were already violated.
Finally, the issue of Darfur Sudan as previously mentioned is one of the most ineffective pictures of the SC. According to the UN report in 2003, the conflict in Darfur Sudan is the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. Even the UN and the SC dealing with that issue directly and started many missions, the situation of human rights violations still occurred. This status shows that the role of the SC is insufficient and unable to aid the humanitarian crisis within states.
To sum up, the concept of human rights was known a long time ago, but concern was just brought recently after the Second World War. At that time, the international community viewed human rights violations within states as threat of the international peace. Thus, the UN was established to protect the world from any new war and to keeping peace. It made a remarkable work in relation to establish an international legal framework and address human rights norms. However, the UN and its institutions failed to prevent all human rights contraventions within states equally.
The state sovereignty has challenged the role of the UN in relation to protect human rights within states. Also, the lack of enforcement mechanism in the UN system is another obstacle that faced the UN and its institutions in their task of preventing human rights violations. Concisely, governments are the main violators of human rights, but at the same time they are the one which can protect human rights. This illogicality constitutes the weaknesses of the whole international human rights system.