The Tipperary International Peace Award was presented to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon during a ceremony in the Premier county yesterday.
His visit is a reminder of the often unacknowledged peacekeeping, economic, and humanitarian assistance delivered by the UN throughout the world.
Despite this and other valuable work around the raising of awareness of humanitarian rights and climate change issues, the UN is not — and should not be — immune to criticism.
Most of this criticism centres, rightly, around the undemocratic veto held by the five nuclear powers which form the permanent members of its security council and the perceived and inevitable bias — and inaction — displayed towards these economic and geopolitical powerhouses.
There is little doubt that history — and much of it recent — has shown these criticisms are not without foundation and require all nations, but particularly nations like Ireland which have a proud tradition of neutrality, to highlight the injustices experienced by smaller nations who fall prey to these failings. That being said it should be acknowledged, as it was in Tipperary, that we would all live in a much less safe and certainly less humane world were it not for the work of the UN and its thousands of activists across the globe.
In that regard the UN’s detractors should never lose sight of the ashes from whence it was formed.
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