The Arab States in the Middle East region faced lots of dramatic upheavals that came to be known as the Arab Spring. The popular uprisings were triggered by an economic downturn and a long-standing political criticism but instead of triggering democracy and development of a nation, the outcome hit back with violence and instability in the region.
United Nation actions in Middle East region before and after Arab spring raise questions as to whether the UN has the right tools to help states address the cause of conflict and maintain peace in the region and promote human rights.
UN’s principle and set of rules prevent them from living up to its objectives. There is a complex inner play between the UN Security Council rule and the determination and non-interference, and the external actor states have no right to interfere within the jurisdiction of any state. Without the consent of the government, the United Nations will never promote human rights and democracy in Arab states.
Before the Arab Spring outbreak, the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) focus was investing in human rights and democratic governance in the Middle East region. For example, Egypt supported the project and electoral reforms and exchange talks between the government and civil society. The project also promoted human rights, rule of law in the entire region.
It was all going well and on track, all the effort by UNDP was welcomed but Libya and Tunisia were later affected by the revolution for freedom from dictatorship. They did not accept democratic governance measures in their region. Other Arab countries accepted the less political steps like building parliaments but these were not enough for them to address the frustration building in Arab countries from a lack of freedom, democracy, and human rights.
Economic support was given by UNDP in the region of Egypt from 1994-2010. UNDP supported Egypt in building private sector development and infrastructure and Syria for a rising standard of living and micro-financing and Tunisia for job creation but there are no steps taken in terms of lack of rule and law and political participation lot of political drama going on during Arab spring.
“The main thing that hasn’t changed at the UNSC is the veto power of Russia and China, and the two countries’ reluctance to confront bad actors in the international system. In the case of the Libya resolution, Russia and China agreed not to veto, but they didn’t vote in the affirmative either. They have since expressed regret, and as other matters like Syria before the council, they remain difficult to persuade. The lesson is that while UNSC blessing may contribute to the perceived legitimacy of an effort, the lack of security council resolution doesn’t necessarily discredit cause, it just reflects the obstinacy of two countries often doesn’t share our interest.”