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Last Updated:
Apr 21st, 2005 - 21:10:55 



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Voices of Peace



Let's Pursue UN Resolution 377

"This arcane but intriguing piece of UN legislation passed in 1950 and (was) originally known as the 'Uniting for Peace'resolution" -from Robert Fisk's article

By Kathleen Pequeño

Posted on Mar 19, 2003

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Hi friends,

I have been looking around on the web, and I found this intriguing proposal to invoke UN Resolution 377 --- passed by the General Assembly in 1950. It's called the "Uniting for Peace" resolution, and it means that the matter would go before the whole General Assembly -- it was written for times when the Security Council could not agree. I've pasted an article below about the resolution, that's appeared in media outside the US (of course) -- namely, in UK and Pakistan. I've also pasted some additional links about the issue below.

This resolution has been used before, apparently on 10 separate occasions. At this point, there seems to be nothing to lose, so I've sent my email asking (begging, really) the Security Council members (it only takes seven to get this thing started) to save the world from our current administration. And even more importantly, it moves this back into the realm of international law and international accountability.

Sample message:

Please immediately request an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly to enact Resolution 377, "Uniting For Peace," to authorize collective measures to maintain international peace and security in the matter of Iraq.

There now exists a lack of unanimity that cannot be resolved between the Permanent Members of the Security Council regarding the action needed in enforcing Security Council Resolution 1441, "The Situation Between Iraq and Kuwait."

The United States and Great Britain have blatantly stated that they may use military force against Iraq without Security Council authority. This poses an imminent threat to international peace and security. This constitutes a violation of international law and the primary responsibility of the Security Council.


Who to send it to:

Seven united security council members can call for this, or a majority of the members of the General Assembly. Here is a list security Council members (except the US, plus some the addresses were unavailable):

france-presse@un.int, rusun@un.int, guinea@un.int, mexico@un.int, ang-un@angolamissionun.org, chile@un.int, Pakistan@un.int, contact@germany-un.org, syria@un.int, info@cameroonmission.org, chinamission_un@fmprc.gov.cn

The "Emergency Kit" link below has instuctions for how to email the whole UN if you're so inclined. And please, remember to ask nicely -- after all, it's not their fault that we can't count on our own government.

Also, please forward this message far and very wide (with your own inspiring words).

One interesting note -- I did a search on the Internet for "last-minute efforts to stop the war" and most of the results I got were from last October. This story isn't written in any way like Mr. Bush was planning --- let's see if we can see that the ending is not what he expected either.

Peace,

Kathleen

World Views: The forgotten power of the General Assembly


By Robert Fisk

For 30 years, America's veto policy in the United Nations has been central to its foreign policy. More than 70 times the United States has shamelessly used its veto in the UN, most recently to crush a Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli killing of the British UN worker Iain Hook in Jenin last December.

Most of America's vetoes have been in support of its ally Israel. It has vetoed a resolution calling for the Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights (January, 1982), a resolution condemning the killing of 11 Muslims by Israeli soldiers near the al-Aqsa mosque (April, 1982), and a resolution condemning Israelis slaughter of 106 Lebanese refugees at the UN camp at Qana (April, 1986).

The full list would fill more than a page of this newspaper. And now George Bush Junior tells us that the Security Council will become irrelevant if France, Germany and Russia use their veto? I often wonder how much further the sanctimoniousness of the Bush administration can go. Much further, I fear.

So here's a little idea that might just make the American administration even angrier and even more aware of its obligations to the rest of the world. It's a forgotten UN General Assembly resolution that could stop an invasion of Iraq, a relic of the Cold War. It was, ironically, pushed through by the US to prevent a Soviet veto at the time of the Korean conflict, and actually used at the time of Suez.

For UN resolution 377 allows the General Assembly to recommend collective action ---if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

This arcane but intriguing piece of UN legislation passed in 1950 and originally known as the "Uniting for Peace"resolution might just be used to prevent Messrs Bush and Blair going to war if their plans are vetoed in the Security Council by France or Russia. Fundamentally, it makes clear that the UN General Assembly can step in as it has 10 times in the past if the Security Council is not unanimous.

Of course, the General Assembly of 1950 was a different creature from what it is today. The post-war world was divided and the West saw America as its protector rather than a potential imperial power. The UN's first purpose was and is still supposed to be to maintain international peace and security.

Duncan Currie, a lawyer working for Greenpeace, has set out a legal opinion, which points out that the phrase in 377 providing that in "any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression", the General Assembly "shall consider the matter immediately"means that since "threat"and "breach"are mentioned separately the Assembly can be called into session before hostilities start.

These "breaches", of course, could already be alleged, starting with the American air attack on Iraqi anti-ship gun batteries near Basra on 13 January this year.
The Independent
March 14, 2003



Good page with links to sample letters and more info ---
http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/reports/report.asp?ObjID=o3ONGr1exC&Content=207

The original text of Resolution 377 --- http://habitat.igc.org/peace/unga337a.htm (links to the document in five languages!).

"Emergency Kit to Stop the War" (includes info on Resolution 377):
http://www.waronfreedom.org/uniting4peacekit.html

Peace,

Kathleen Pequeño
Portland, OR




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