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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who guards the guardians)?

Mike McCartney

29th June 2022

Indeed. A must watch documentary on the United Nations

If you are a student following the Global option, you will know that the study of institutions is part of the course, and that questions about the role of the UN are in there, mainly about how well it fulfils. Well, this video suggest that there something written at its core. And I would argue that the film is so powerful that it is worth watching even if you aren't being completely utilitarian (and just want evidence to back up exam answers).

According the the BBC blurb:

"For more than 70 years, the UN has been at the forefront of work to uphold human rights and promote global peace. But what happens when the fixer of the world’s problems is itself faced with allegations of wrongdoing and corruption? What happens when UN staff try to call out their own managers and colleagues?

Told by insiders with decades of experience working at the world’s top diplomatic institution, The Whistleblowers: Inside the UN gives first-hand accounts of what happens to staff when they report allegations of wrongdoing. Their stories reveal a culture of untouchability that reaches the highest levels of the organisation."

Source is here

As is often the case when recommending a TV programme, I'll turn to those who get paid to review such things. In this instance the Guardian gives it 5/5, and the reviewer says:

"Anyone who has studied the mechanics of the UN security council knows the United Nations is an instrument of iniquitous power, not a check upon it, but Whistleblowers suggests the parts you could still naively have thought of as pure – the collective effort to fight disease, hunger and climate change – ripple with the familiar stench of powerful people who are concerned, it seems, only with how to preserve and abuse their positions. The documentary combines disparate accounts from former senior UN staff, to accumulate a breadth and depth of evidence that becomes crushing."

Source is here

This comes with a bit of a caveat emptor. It's not Saturday night viewing.

The link to iPlayer is here.

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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