Photo of PNUD Ukraine/Oleksandr Ratushnia
Criticised for its powerlessness since the start of the Ukrainian conflict, the UN seems outdated. Once the guarantor of international law, the United Nations today looks like a forerunner of international law without any real efficacy. But what has the United Nations done since the beginning of the conflict? Is that organization really sitting on its hands?
February 24, 2022
Launch of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
UNHCR calls on neighboring countries to keep their borders open to Ukrainian people seeking safe haven
February 25, 2022
Security Council: draft resolution deploring “aggression” against Ukraine rejected due to Russian veto.
February 26, 2022
UN Secretary General promises Ukrainian President more UN humanitarian aid.
February 27, 2022
Security Council votes to call for an emergency meeting of the General Assembly on Ukraine
February 28, 2022
Emergency General Assembly meeting on Ukraine: UN chief calls for immediate halt to fighting.
March 1, 2022
UN denounces arbitrary arrest of peaceful anti-war protesters in Russia.
March 2, 2022
General Assembly adopts resolution demanding withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.
March 4, 2022
The UN Human Rights Council decides to create a commission of inquiry.
March 5, 2022
As urgent aid arrives, the UN calls for a humanitarian pause.
March 6, 2022
UN chief calls for safe evacuation of conflict areas.
March 7, 2022
UN calls for “windows of silence” and “safe passage” for civilians denied aid.
Russia reduced Genocide Convention to confetti, Ukraine tells ICJ.
Humanitarian chief calls on warring parties to spare civilians.
March 8, 2022
UNESCO strengthens measures to protect endangered heritage.
March 11, 2022
UN condemns indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian property.
UN political affairs chief condemns destruction caused to cities by Russian forces.
March 13, 2022
Three UN agencies call for end to attacks on health care in Ukraine.
March 14, 2022
WHO sends emergency medical aid to preserve Ukraine’s health care system.
In response to a worsening situation in Ukraine, the UN allocates an additional $40 million in humanitarian aid.
March 16, 2022
ICJ orders Russia to “immediately suspend” military operations in Ukraine.
March 23, 2022
The International Labor Organization suspends all cooperation with Russia as long as the conflict lasts.
March 24, 2022
General Assembly adopts resolution demanding immediate cessation of hostilities by Russia against Ukraine.
March 28, 2022
UN report documents “widespread” use of explosive weapons in Ukraine conflict UN humanitarian chief tasked by Guterres to explore possibility of ceasefire.
March 30, 2022
Former President of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to lead UN investigation.
April 6, 2022
UN confirms more than 1,563 civilian deaths in Ukraine.
WHO to provide HIV antiretroviral drugs to Ukraine.
April 7, 2022
General Assembly decides to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.
April 8, 2022
UN calls for swift investigation of sexual violence allegations.
UN condemns deadly attack on Kramatorsk train station.
April 11, 2022
UN warns Security Council of catastrophic impact of war on women and children.
April 12, 2022
UNHCR confirms 4.6 million Ukrainian refugees have fled.
April 18, 2022
UN chief calls for immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
April 20, 2022
5 million refugees passed, according to the UN. UN chief asks to meet with President Putin and President Zelensky.
April 21, 2022
The UN reports large-scale devastation with a quarter of the population in need.
April 22, 2022
Nearly One Million Displaced People to Benefit from IOM Shelter Rehabilitation Program.
April 24, 2022
UN calls for immediate halt to fighting in Mariupol to allow trapped civilians to escape.
April 26, 2022
UN doubles emergency humanitarian appeal to $2.25 billion. Russia agrees “in principle” to UN and Red Cross participation in Mariupol evacuations. U.N. General Assembly to meet whenever veto is used in Security Council.
April 28, 2022
Describing Ukraine as “the epicenter of unbearable grief and pain,” the U.N. chief stood with the Ukrainian president in Kyiv on Thursday, pledging to increase support for the suffering population and the millions displaced by the Russian invasion.
Thus, the United Nations has, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, condamned, warned, called, postponed, decided and requested without real effect on the duration of the conflict. If the UN system does not seem to be an influential actor in the resolution of the conflict, this system remains indispensable on the humanitarian level. With several billion dollars financing humanitarian aid and 207 local partners, it seems to me legitimate to call the UN Refugee Agency a safeguard against a catastrophe worthy of the Second World War.
UNICEF/Tom Remp Families reach Berdyszcze, Poland, after crossing the border into Ukraine, fleeing the escalating conflict.
Furthermore, the United Nations does not have the role of coercing a country to keep the peace. According to Article 1, paragraph 1 of the San Francisco Charter, the purpose of the United Nations is to: “to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to achieve by peaceful means, in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of disputes or situations, of an international character, which might lead to a breach of the peace;”
Therefore, to consider that the UN is ineffective is more a matter of ignorance than of relevant analysis, since one cannot force someone to listen. Thus, the UN is effective because of its persistence.
“It is not strength, but perseverance, that makes great works” (Samuel Johnson).
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