The U.N., established following the Holocaust, focuses on developing and maintaining “international peace and security” and “friendly relations among nations.”
Far from Trump’s portrait of the U.N. as “just a club” for people to “have a good time,” in the broadest strokes, the U.N. works to protect universal human rights.
The U.N. works extensively in all aspects of human rights.
In 1946, the U.N. created the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to assist children in need of food, clothing and health care following World War II.
Today, UNICEF operates in more than 190 countries, providing winter clothes to children in war-ravaged Aleppo, promotes gender equality, and has created and established programs throughout the world to reduce child malnutrition.
According to a 2013 report, UNICEF estimates it’s saved the lives of more than 90 million children.
In 1948, the U.N. created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with a pointed focus on “the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women."
Since then, the 193 Member States of the U.N. have established international and economic sanctions against people and countries that violate or threaten to violate human rights, thoroughly supports gay rights and classifies a lack of access to abortion as "torture."
The group has closely monitored the Syrian civil war and plans to create a team to investigate accusations of war crimes and human rights abuses committed by Assad’s government.
The World Health Organization (a U.N. agency, created in 1948) spearheaded efforts to eradicate smallpox. By 1980, WHO declared smallpox extinct. By 1996, an AIDS epidemic was sweeping the globe – and the U.N. stepped up to establish UNAIDS, a joint U.N. program to combat HIV and AIDS around the world.
The U.N.’s UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement are the largest unified effort to combat climate change.
The UNFCCC, or United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was "entered into force” (approved by the member states of the United Nations) in 1994 to prevent “dangerous human interference with the climate system."
While the UNFCCC doesn’t have legally binding power, it helps boost cooperation and communication between countries to improve wildlife conservation and reduce harmful emissions.
Efforts have included the Kyoto Protocol and its extension the Paris Climate Agreement.
UNODA and the U.N.’s NPT helped reduce the threat of a nuclear war.
On November 30th, 2016, the U.N. imposed the "toughest ever” sanctions on North Korea following its fifth nuclear test of the year. In response, North Korea has threatened “imminent war,” calling the sanctions “as good as a declaration of war."
Beyond North Korea, however, the U.N.’s focus on disarmament and limitation has been widely embraced.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was the U.N.’s first resolution, adopted in January 1946 and entered into force in 1970.
The NPT’s purposes were threefold: to "prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy" and “to further the goal of … nuclear disarmament.”
Just a social club? Read more (especially if you’re Donald Trump)
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