The power politics in the United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Violations: A case study of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide
Ametowoyona, Apedoh Ami
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The study was about power politics in the UNSC which entails the ability of P5 members to influence the voting system in the council through their veto powers in order to protect their national interest. This caused deadlock in the council that eventually affected decision making which often led to inaction or unsatisfactory action. This state of affairs could result in escalation of human rights and their negative effects in the affected areas. The study analysed the causes of the inaction in the council and had found out that there were many other factors that could be as well responsible for this problem. Among them sovereignty, lack of political will, lack of resources, inability to determine the right means of intervention for the right conflict, lack of powerful regional forces and strong standby UN troops, failure of some countries to accept the intervening forces, bureaucracy in the United nation system and involvement of geopolitics were highlighted. However this study focused on the wrong use of veto power by the P5 members as the major obstacle to inaction in the UNSC. The importance of the UNSC as far as the maintenance of international peace and security is concerned was looked at. It was identified that the UNSC was the body in charge of peace and security in the world. Procedures in the council including the way the veto powers are used by the P5 members were also examined. Realism theory was used to explain the phenomena. The response of the UNSC towards the Rwanda crises that culminated into the 1994 Genocide was investigated. The international community and Security Council’s preventive, peace enforcing and peace building roles towards the genocide were looked into Human rights violations and their implications as a result of inaction or unsatisfactory action of the UNSC was carefully explored. Like in every war and genocide almost all human rights were most times violated. However this study focused on the right to life, the right not to be tortured and the right not to be discriminated against. This is because they are interrelated and most violated human rights in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Rise in poverty, dependency, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and its associated health problems were identified to be the implications of the genocide, in addition to trauma, anxiety, increase in street children, school drop up, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). All these factors lead in turn, to more wars and conflicts. The main purpose of this study was to highlight the effects of inaction or nonsatisfactory action of the UNSC on conflict areas applying human rights perspectives. The 1994 genocide was used as a case study. The study also tried to give strategies through which the UNSC could be made more effective. The study was carried out in Kigali Rwanda and in Kampala among the survivors of the genocide, the eye and ear witnesses. It was a fact finding study of human rights implications of the genocide. In order to obtain information from the field, the researcher used both qualitative and quantitative methods. These included the use of questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Library research was also made. The population sample constituted 60 respondents from each case study. The main conclusion was that national interests that generate political will were the driving impetus of humanitarian interventions. The main recommendations were that; a reform in the UNSC was necessary to replace the P5 members’ veto power with democratic votes of all nation states and there should be an establishment of powerful standby UN troops for timely interventions in conflict zones or strengthening of regional military forces that could successfully keep peace in their own regions.