Whose UN is it anyway?
by Parakum Jayasinghe
October 24, 2016

There are many people in this country who think United Nations Organization is their enemy. They say UN is imperialist, pro-west, anti-Sri Lanka, conspiracy and so forth. All know that at least one government Minister has staged a protest against UN in front of its Colombo office so far.

What is this UN? Who are its owners?

UN is an inter-governmental organization formed by states of the word.

“In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. Those delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States in August-October 1944.

“The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States.

“The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year.” (Source: History of the United Nations)

Sri Lanka applied for the membership as soon as the country was granted the Independence by British colonial rulers. But there was delay in granting the UN membership to Sri Lanka. The reason was Russia rejecting our application on the basis Sri Lanka was on dominion status and not fully independent state.

This is how the then opposition MP Hon. J.R. Jayawardane spoke about the problem on September 02, 1963 in the parliament debate on appropriation bill for 1963-64.

“You admit that we became independent in 1948. We submitted an application to join the United Nations soon after that. I think you know that Russia objected to it. They rejected our application. Sri Lanka was not granted the membership of the United Nations because Russia had been objecting to accepting us since 1948 to 1955.” (Source: Hanzard)

Thus we applied, waited, waited and eventually got the member of UN in 1955, not so easily. We have paid our regular membership fees since then. Every year, Sri Lanka represented UN General Assembly and the country was very active in all its functions and activities. A number of Sri Lankans provided expert services to the UN and its agencies since the times before Sri Lanka was a UN member. Therefore, it is us the UN, definitely not an aliUN (alien).

UN is the best multi-lateral, international organization the humans have so far created in the history. We need such organization to regulate many of modern needs such as international mail, telecommunication, sea and air travel, migration, trade and finance, maritime borders, pollution, outer space etc. Moreover UN is vital in standardizing international peace, security, development, good governance, health, education and livelihood etc.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of the modern world. It is an issue that individual nations cannot address at all. We can divide the land as countries and guard the borders. But sky is one.

So is UN.


Parakum Jayasinghe
Blogging for Social Change
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