US laughs at the powers of the UN

We must all ensure it doesn't become a joke

Feature story - 26 March, 2003
"Frustrated with the United Nations' consistent, blatant regard for the will of its 188 member nations, the US announced Monday the formation of its own international governing body, the USUN." Some would merely laugh off this satirical story in America's Finest News Source, The Onion. But as the Arab League calls for an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly to halt the illegal, unilateral war on Iraq we must ask, is it really just a laugh?

Greenpeace activists stage action in front of Hong Kong Legislative Council, calling on the government not to be complicit in the illegal war on Iraq

The US, UK and Spain refused to get the backing of the UN Security Council for a war on Iraq saying that France would clog up the system with its veto. But now that the Security Council will vote on a resolution calling for a ceasefire and to condemn the war on Iraq, it seems certain that the US and UK will use their veto to block the resolution.

Walking all over international treaties like sand in the dessert, the US is ignoring one of the founding principles of the United Nations. UN Charter Article 51 gives states a sovereign right to start military action in self-defense only if they have suffered an armed attack. There is no basis in international law for the use of force as a preventive measure when there has been no actual or imminent attack.

As a next step the Arab League can call for an emergency session of the UN General Assembly invoked under UN Resolution 377, known as Uniting for Peace.

Resolution 377 can be called either by a majority of the members of the UN Security Council, or by a majority of the General Assembly. It has been invoked 10 times in the last 50 years, when the Security Council, due to a 'lack of unanimity' among the permanent members, is unable to perform its primary task of maintaining international peace and security.

It's time that the US and UK governments are confronted by the breadth and depth of global opposition to this illegal war. If a resolution is tabled, an overwhelming majority of UN member states will support it, reflecting both a desire to respect international law as well as the overwhelming global public opposition to US unilateralism and to the loss of life in Iraq.

There are already reports that the US and the UK have been threatening countries with reprisals if they invoke 'Uniting for Peace'. But we must all take a stand together against a new world order dictated by the US, and use every legal instrument available within the UN system to stop the war.

Otherwise, we won't be laughing much longer when the US says "I can't tell you how much easier it is to achieve consensus when you don't have to worry about dissent."

Join the coalition of the UNwilling calling for a emergency session of the UN General Assembly to vote against the war.