The role of Inter-governmental Organizations

By Peter Reat Gatkuoth

“The international organization (UN) will always remain the only Universal Agency in which countries with widely differing political institutions and at the different stages of economic development may exchange views, share their problems and experiences; probe each other’s reactions to politics of mutual interest and initiate collective action” (Dag Hammarskjold’s speech in 1960).

November 8, 2011 (SSNA) — In the wake of globalization across the continents, human beings in international community had realized that there are many things that matters in international arena. These concerns need the collective responsibility regardless of the differences that had emerged during the two World Wars (I and II). Human suffering was noticed in many areas which does not only need the State government to tackle such an increasingly issues because some of the states neglect and torture their own citizens. Poor people in different States live without fundamental freedoms of action and choices that better-off take granted. Security, health, education, natural disasters and economic concerns became the major obstacles in some countries on the world stage especially the global South nations.

Despite the impressive advancement of the global South nations in term of government structures, majority of the people live under poverty and 85% of the population lack an adequate food, education, health, shelter and deprivation that keep them from leading the kind of life that everyone values. It is these chronic and entrenched problems that keep the scientific community, scholars and international leaders to create a viable and unique international organization that can play a vital role to protect the life of human beings and bridge the gap within the international arena. Therefore, it worth to argued that the international organizations play a very important role in our contemporary society by not only creating a unique relationship between states and mediating the warring community to live in harmony and in peace but to extend its collective help to the poor nations.

In the aftermath of the cold war, the world faces more challenges that threatened human peaceful co-existence, be it natural disasters or human made disasters. It became an urgent request or decision to establish a unique international organization that will bring all the signatories members to dialogues in the matters that need international actions and attention. “International organizations became an umbrella association of States, established on the basis of a treaty in accordance with international law” in order to unifies and bring all people together through international treaty and conferences.

Inter-governmental organizations work alongside the State government “on the basis of international agreement (charters, statutes or other constituent instruments) for certain specific tasks and therefore, they are the associations of States for the performance of the specific functions in accordance to international treaties.” These specific treaties, charters, statutes and other constituent instruments enable the international organizations to “possessing international rights and duties to maintain its responsibility in its capacity by bringing international claims through the international court of justice.”

International organizations have a vital role or legal capacity to “espouse claim of the compensation through international court of justice in reparation case.” For instance, if someone that work under the United Nations got killed intentionally or tortured, the organization has right to bring the culprit to justice and sought the advice of International Court of Justice. One of the good examples was the case of “Swedish Citizen, Count Bernadottee, who was killed in 1948 in Jerusalem by the group of terrorists while working as an official representative of United Nations. The international Court of justice held that the United Nations was a legal person with capacity to bring claims against both members and non-member states for direct injuries to the organizations.” The court laterally gave right to the International claims against the government of Israel. The Israel government pay the whole sum of claims in respect to the court’s ruling.

It is to be noted that international organizations have a collective responsibility to protect citizens and bring those who committed crime to justice. “Without recognition of international organizations’ role, we shall never have peace and it is only within the framework of peace that human rights can be fully developed.”   For instance, in some developing nations, government does not care about the lives of human beings. People are being killed, tortured and arrested daily as like animals without clear reasons and due process. Security concern matter beyond the state level and achieving greater security requires a heightened international responsibility and focus on how insecurity affect the lives and the prospects of the poor communities.

The international organizations usually take a serious major when the state objectively turned against its citizens by killing and slaughtering the populations. The good example is the case of Kosovo, Congo and Rwanda when thousands of troops, under the direction of Security Council, were dispatched to the regions in order to protect the life and the destruction of their properties by the dictator regimes. The ideas that international organization can involve in the issue that endanger the lives of human being is always been the main focus and the objectives of inter-governmental organizations.

It worth knowing that after freedom from the anxieties of the traditional wars and uncivilized system, the right to security and freedom from fear faces a new threat from the dictatorship governments in developing nations such as in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and the issue of terrorists that had emerged as an invisible enemy presented in all civilian population. With absent of international organizations’ involvement, mass slaughtering and torturing of human being would have been increase to the level that could exceed the number of the people that had died in the second world war. This is very clear by then that with the growth of terrorism, the spiral of violent grows on all fronts and “the new fears emerge that weapons of mass destruction will get into the hands of terrorists and criminal groups beyond the control with catastrophic consequences.”   

In the Middle East alone for instance, thousands of the civilian live on fear because their governments failed to protect them from those who threat their lives in daily bases and the call to rescue them has never stopped as we have seen in Syria, Iran and so forth. It is one of the role of international organizations to eliminated those terrorists’ activities and protect the right of the citizens through the collective responsibility of the international community of nations when the case has been identifies collectively with the support of the General Assembly and the Security Council as a threat to human life.

Devising and implementing these changes in the global arena always require strong international political will and participation, especially when the changes fundamentally challenge social values or entrenched interests. With the unifies effort, the international organizations “increase focus of public spending on poor people, particularly expanding the supply of the basic social and economic services and relaxing the constraints on the demanding side such as scholarship for the poor people in the developing nations.”

Although political and social difficulties abstract the change needed in the globe level, international organizations through collective agreements always involve generating political and economic support against the poverty in the international stage. “This action to improve the function of the state and social institution improves both the growth and equity by reducing bureaucratic and social constraints to economic action and upward mobility.” This perspective serves the poor people and offered them a huge opportunity for job and income in agriculture, industry and other services implemented to keep the provider accountable.

The international organizations are “subjects of international law and responsibility in the events of violation of international norms. It has legal capacity as necessarily for the performance of its function.”   It is role and function is not always limited to some nations as to who sign the treaty when it comes to the issue of human right violations and other major concerns such as natural disasters and genocide across many continents. It broke the chain of promises when it comes to the issue of human live.

Different interventions at the international level are needed to address different risks and different segments of the population as the actions in the State or national level are often not enough to bring the change. Wider shocks are often the hardest for poor to cope with especially when the shocks are persisted and therefore, it has to be agreed that international organizations are the umbrella government that play a legitimate role and serve the lives of all human being in our contemporary society regardless of the all these differences emerged in the modern days.

The author lives and study in Central America. You can reach him at [email protected] or visit his blog at He is the holder of BA in Sociology and Political Science and currently pursuing Master Degree in International Law and Human Right.

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