What’s Next?

BY ALEJANDRA GUARNEROS — Chapter I, Article I of the United Nations Charter states that the purpose of the United Nations is “[t]o maintain international peace and security, and to that end: 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 bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.” In compliance with this article the UN has become involved in a variety of conflicts to reestablish peace in areas that lack political stability. For the past months Syria has become area of turbulence in pursuit of political control over the country.

With this ongoing conflict in Syria, the United Nations has time and again tried to agree upon a resolution that would end the tensions. In February, the United Nations Security Council met in order to vote on a resolution to deal with the crisis in Syria. The resolution stated that the United Nations would support the Arab League plan, which included Mr. Assad’s cessation of power. This resolution was blocked by a 13 to 2 vote. In this proposal, the two opposing votes were those of Russia and China, two of the five permanent members of the Security Council.  Pursuant to Chapter 5 Article 27 of the United Nation’s Charter, in order for a non-procedural proposal to pass, there needs to be a vote of nine members, including the five permanent members. Thus, the above proposal was missing two permanent member votes to pass the resolution.

The Security Council, an organ of the United Nations, pursuant to their duties specified in Chapter 7 Article 39 of the UN Charter, passed resolution 2042 in response to the ongoing crisis in Syria, which states “a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties.” A six-point plan submitted by Kofi Annan, Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, was to be implemented as quickly as possible. Then, a second resolution was passed, resolution 2043, “a supervision mission,” to monitor the cessation of violence in Syria.

Now, the number of Syrians fleeing the country due to escalating tensions has risen and will likely continue to rise.

At the annual United Nations General Assembly, no solution was agreed upon. Several countries submitted proposals, like France’s proposal for “U.N. protected safe havens in Syria,” and Qatar’s plan “to send a pan-Arab force into the country.”  But no new resolution was passed. The leaders present, at this meeting, voiced their frustration at the actions being taken by the United Nations in response to the rising conflict in Syria.

Legally, the Security Council’s primary responsibility is, pursuant to Chapter 7 Article 23 of the United Nation’s Charter, “to the maintenance of international peace and security.”  The Security Council has, as mentioned above, passed two resolutions in response to the tension in Syria, but the violence has continued to rise. The tensions continue, and Syria has not complied with the resolution passed by the UN. Thus, pursuant to Article 40 of the United Nation’s Charter, “The Security Council shall duly take account of failure to comply with such provisional measures.” According to Article 41, the Security Council can take measures that don’t involve the use of armed force, which “may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.”  The tensions in Syria continue, as the international community continues to work to establish peace in this country.

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