The ineptitude of regional and multilateral organizations in resolving conflicts in member states and in protecting the rights of ordinary people globally has to end now. And this can be done if the member states look for sincere solutions

Adebayo Alonge

Solutions Ideator

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The conflicts in Mali and Syria have brought to the fore the need for the reorganization of regional and multilateral organizations. The ECOWAS, the Arab league and the United Nations are particularly indicted for failing to enforce international laws in member states.

Security Council of the UN, culled from

Of  the aforementioned three organizations, the United Nations has the worst record. Since the last world war, several massacres and genocides have been carried out while it deliberated e.g. Rwanda or under the watch of its army e.g. the Srebennica massacre. Many times unilateral actions by member states or by military alliances as the NATO has often been resorted to in order to enforce international laws. In view of this, the continued existence and relevance of the UN is questionable.

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The Arab league and ECOWAS are often plagued by mutual suspicions among member states and they very rarely get to act to pursue their resolutions. They are majorly political as they lack the will and possibly the means to execute their joint resolutions. Aside from the Arab-Israeli conflict of the 20th century and the Liberia-Sierra Leone conflicts, these two organizations have a poor record of acting to protect the peoples they represent and instituting rule of law. The inability of the ECOWAS to resolve the crisis caused by Gbagbo’s refusal to hand power led to the intervention of the French-an action that clearly embarrassed the organization and questioned the claims by African states that they are sovereign nations.

How then can these organizations be reformed to make them less pacifist and more in tune with reality?

  1. Reform of structure

The current structure of the UN for example is based on an out-dated global power order from the 20th century. The composition and veto power of the Security Council is undemocratic and the desire of the majority ought to be respected.

  1. Amend their constitutions

The constitutions of the UN and regional organizations have to be amended to reflect current realities. The laws should enable a more swift response to crisis and a more aggressive mobilization of troops to intervene in conflicts. The laws should spell out consequences clearly to member states that violate the rights of their citizens and these consequences should include-loss of right to sovereignty and the right of the use of force by the organization to enforce resolutions arrived at for peace. These amendments will put brutal dictators and reckless revolutionaries in check and promote universal freedoms and protection for ordinary civilians globally.

The crises in both Syria and Mali require more robust actions that include economic blockade of the Syrian government and territorial blockade of the Islamists in Mali.

The need for collaborative military action by the Arab league and the UN to oust the Syrian government is justified at this stage given its brutal disposition to its citizens and the risk of the internal crisis engulfing the whole region. Also the risk of a complete breakdown of social order in Syria may present a fantastic opportunity to Al-qaeda as Afghanistan did too previously.

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In Mali, the rise of the Islamists is a cause for concern given the operations of Al-qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). This is especially alarming given the risk of the conflict engulfing the region and the high probability that if AQIM is successful in having a rear base, it may then launch attacks against Europe- a very feasible proposition given historical peculiarities with the current situation in the Maghreb. Local terror groups as the Boko Haram in Nigeria may be further emboldened in their cause and with the ease of collaboration made possible by an AQIM victory in Mali, these groups will have more access to military training and arms. It is therefore a necessity for ECOWAS and the UN to sit up and rout these Islamists not only in Mali but also in the Maghreb as well.

The ineptitude of regional and multilateral organizations in resolving conflicts in member states and in protecting the rights of ordinary people globally has to end now. And this can be done if the member states look for sincere solutions that help to make them more useful to solving current global challenges to universal freedom  and peace.

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