March 13,2003

CAN THE U.N. ASSEMBLY STOP THE WAR?

From 'Democracy Now' today:

"A coalition of lawyers and activists are spearheading an effort to stop the war by invoking a little-known United Nations resolution called 'United for Peace'. Under the procedure, the UN General Assembly can demand an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal.

The Security Council adopted Resolution 377 so the UN can act even if the Security Council is stalemated. Resolution 377 states that if there is a 'threat to peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression' and the permanent members of the Security Council can't agree on action, the General Assembly can convene and recommend measures to 'maintain or restore international peace and security.'

The 'Uniting for Peace' mechanism has been used ten times. It was most recently invoked by the US. When Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt and began advancing on the Suez Canal. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower demanded that the invasion stop. Resolutions in the UN Security Council called for a cease-fire-but Britain and France vetoed them. Then the US appealed to the General Assembly and proposed a resolution calling for a cease-fire and a withdrawal of forces. The General Assembly held an emergency session and passed the resolution. Britain and France withdrew from Egypt within a week."

[Interview with people who have been meeting with United Nations delegations about this little-known resolution - Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights, and Stephen Sawyer, Political Adviser for Greenpeace International. Sawyer has spent the last 25 years working on issues from climate change to peace and disarmament issues. Yesterday, he spent the day meeting with governments at the UN to talk about the Uniting for Peace resolution.] http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow/dn20030313.html