If ever there was a need for the United Nations to rise to the
challenge it was conceived to meet, now is that time.
When the majority of world opinion stands opposed to war, who
should represent those voices in the halls of the United Nations?
The Security Council was built on the premise that the strongest
nations, those with nuclear weapons, should have an unequal say in
what's right and what's wrong. The five permanent members of the UN
all hold vetoes, and while they may have been deadlocked over a
motion to authorise force against Iraq, they would be equally
deadlocked should anyone introduce a resolution condemning the US
for acting without that authorisation.
Not so the General Assembly, in which all nations participate
equally. Through a little-used mechanism known as Resolution 377A,
the "Uniting for Peace" resolution, the General Assembly may be the
last hope for disarming Iraq peaceably and stopping the US war
The Uniting for Peace resolution empowers the General Assembly
to meet in emergency session to address acts of aggression or a
breach of the peace when the Security Council has been unable to
act. Its was first used to bring about a cease-fire in the Suez
crisis of 1950, forcing Britain and France to withdraw from Egypt
within a week, even after they had vetoed calls for a cease-fire in
the Security Council. It has been used ten times since then, most
often at the request of the United States.
The General Assembly can meet immediately and recommend
collective measures to UN members to "maintain or restore
international peace and security," including the deployment of
peace-keeping forces. But more importantly, the General Assembly
can give political shape to the world-wide outcry against this war.
A war that has until now simply not been authorised by the gathered
nations of the world should now be forcefully condemned, and those
responsible for crimes against innocent victims be called to
If you believe, as we do, that the very future of the world, and
of the United Nations, is being put at risk in the name of a
pre-emptive war, please join the
call for the UN General Assembly to respond. Ask that the
Uniting for Peace resolution be invoked, that the war on Iraq be
condemned, and that peaceable means of disarming Iraq be
The next hours may provide our last chance to change a dangerous
course of history. The United Nations must not allow a world order
based on multilateralism to be replaced with one in which the
mightiest and richest make the rules.
action now -- ask the UN to convene an emergency session under the
Uniting for Peace resolution.
Download a legal opinion on the Uniting for Peace resolution and
how it might be applied.