24 October, United Nations (UN) Day, marks the anniversary of the day on which the United Nations Charter came into force in 1945. Shortly afterwards, in April 1946, after failing in its attempts to prevent a Second World War, the forerunner of the United Nations, the League of Nations (League of Nations), established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the First World War, ceased to exist. Among its main objectives was to “promote co-operation, achieve peace and international security”. When it ceased to exist, all its assets were handed over to the United Nations, including full control of its Library and archives, making it the first organisation of its kind in history. At its root were the arbitrary and onerous “reparations” conditions for the cost of war imposed on Germany at Versailles, particularly the “guilt” clause, which placed Germany as the sole nation responsible for the First World War. The punitive provisions in terms of loss of territory, reduction of its military and economic indebtedness would lead to sustained discontent and despair among a large part of the German population, which would serve to justify and encourage Nazism’s desire for revenge in the following decades. The 1930s marked the definitive failure of the League of Nations, in the global context of the so-called Great Depression that began in 1929. Germany and Japan left the League in 1933, Italy in 1936, the USSR was expelled in 1939, and the United States never fully integrated.

The United Nations officially came into being on 24 October 1945, after the majority of the 51 Member States that signed the founding document of the Organisation (UN Charter) ratified it. Today, 193 States are members of the UN and are represented in its deliberative body, the General Assembly. It is the international ambit where representatives of all the nations of the world meet, discuss and try to find agreements and solutions to the world’s vast problems. The UN has set out its intentions in the Preamble of its Founding Charter, where the principles and purposes that drive it are expressed.

The Preamble, signed by the member states, states: “To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind. To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small. To create conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising out of treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained. To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. To practise tolerance and live together in peace as good neighbours. To unite our forces for the maintenance of international peace and security. To ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the adoption of methods, that armed force shall not be used except in the common interest, and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.”

With regard to rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed in 1948, one of the most outstanding achievements of the UN. Regrettably, the UN’s aspirational statements have not been realised. After almost eight decades, they have evidently become a mere rhetorical exercise, a dead letter, with much hypocrisy and cynicism.

Humanists, when thinking about another world order, must begin by asking what is the spirit of these desires, defining the power relations that we must transform in order to make this possible.

We need to ask ourselves why a group of countries that are in the minority in the UN are dictating the functioning of that body? In the UN, majorities do not have any weight; it is military and economic power, in the hands of a small number of “developed” countries, that really have the decision-making power. It is notorious how some countries use their power to force joint decisions through pressure and blackmail, as is the case with the economic sanctions against Iran, or intervene by force in countries belonging to the UN itself, as happened with the military invasion of Libya in 2011. On other occasions, when they do not achieve a majority of votes, they decide what to do unilaterally, as is the case with the criminal US economic blockade of Cuba, often contradicting the overwhelming majority positions in the General Assembly. The UN ends up being a staging of legality in the face of the outrages committed by the so-called first world, also using an action with the appearance of philanthropy, which disguises its total disinterest in solving the root of the great problems of humanity.

On 25 September 2015, the UN adopted a set of goals as part of what it called “a new sustainable development agenda for 2030”. This agenda brings together 17 points which are as follows: 1) End Poverty; 2) Zero Hunger; 3) Health and Well-being; 4) Quality Education; 5) Gender Equality; 6) Clean Water and Sanitation; 7) Affordable and Clean Energy; 8) Decent Work and Economic Growth; 9) Industry-Innovation and Infrastructure; 10) Reducing inequality; 11) Sustainable cities and communities; 12) Responsible production and consumption; 13) Climate action; 14) Life on land; 15) Life in terrestrial ecosystems; 16) Peace, justice and strong institutions; 17) Partnerships to achieve the goals. Consistently, as we have been pointing out from the hypocritical actions of the UN, the goals linked to the damage of the private international financial system and the power of the military industrial complex are not on the agenda. The UN’s ineffectiveness is currently reinforced by its failure to promote the necessary agreements to halt the extremely dangerous military conflict between Russia and NATO on Ukrainian territory, which is bringing humanity to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.

We need then to accept the failure of the existing order for the second time, we cannot move towards true international cooperation until we move proportionally away from the order of the capitalist system in its different versions, which synergise with the nationalisms and oppression existing in each of the member nations.

We must promote that the peoples of the world govern themselves in a Universal Human Nation, in which diversity can coexist, and for this it is necessary first of all to explain that today the UN is at the antipodes of this desired world, and for this reason it is necessary to re-found it.

Humanists aspire to the creation of a Universal Human Nation governed by personal freedom, solidarity, equal rights and opportunities, non-discrimination and non-violence. A Confederation of Humanist Nations, articulated with the objective of constituting a Universal Human Nation, must uphold the full validity of the right of sovereignty and self-determination of peoples. It must prioritise nuclear disarmament, the proportional reduction of conventional armaments, the prohibition of arms trading, promoting the search for peaceful conflict resolution. A new democratically elected Security Council must be born in the New UN, where no nation has the right to veto, which includes within the category of security, issues such as overcoming poverty and misery, a solidarity-based financial architecture, promoting a network of state banks without interest, to finance development and complementary trade between member nations, dismantling the current private international financial power.

We refer to a change in the cultural paradigm, which must include everything related to the treatment of people and the decisions that allow the fulfilment in practice of all human rights, thus opening a path towards the construction of the Universal Human Nation.

Our proposals will not prosper under the current conditions of the UN and the countries that make it up, but mobilisation around them will make evident to the people the contradictions and hypocrisy that reigns in this body, and especially among the powers that run it.

Humanists will continue to propose a Universal Human Nation, seeking to generate within the peoples and public opinion in general the need for a total transformation, which includes a new design at the international level in the articulation of and between nations. This need is ultimately to bring about a profound humanist, social, political and cultural revolution.