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Greenpeace has joined CCR in calling for the UN General Assembly to prevent a possible war in Iraq by using UN resolution 377, "Uniting for Peace", a little known resolution that can be used when the Security Council is split on the issue of how to maintain international peace and security.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and Greenpeace are calling on all members of the United Nations today to uphold the UN Charter by holding an Emergency Session of the General Assembly to avoid an illegal war on Iraq by using UN resolution 377. Known as 'Uniting for Peace', the resolution allows the General Assembly to call an emergency session because the Security Council is split on the issue of how to maintain international peace and security.
Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, stated: “The 'Uniting for Peace' resolution may be the last hope to avert war. If passed, it will put the U.S. and the U.K. on notice that a war without Security Council authorization is utterly illegal and a crime against the peace.”
While in the U.N. system the Security Council has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security throughout the world, another procedure exists to ensure peace when the Council fails to do so. That procedure, the Uniting for Peace resolution, allows the General Assembly to meet to consider the threat to international peace and it can then recommend collective measures to U.N. Members to maintain or restore peace.
If one U.N. Member State requests that a meeting be convened to consider adoption of such a resolution and either seven Members of the Security Council or a majority of the Members of the General Assembly agree, an emergency special session will be called and the General Assembly will come together to discuss the threat to international peace. CCR and Greenpeace are seeking to find the requisite support for the convening of such a session. The resolution has been invoked ten times in the past 50 years.
According to Steve Sawyer, spokesman for Greenpeace at the United Nations headquarters in New York, “It's clear that the United States and United Kingdom will not succeed in ramming through a resolution to go to war. Yet it's also clear that, even without UN backing, those countries intend to wage a reckless war which would make the world a much more dangerous place. It's now up to all the world’s countries, not just a few of the powerful, to meet together to avert this march to war.”
“If it wanted the world to be ruled by the cowboy with the biggest guns, the international community wouldn’t have created the UN in the first place,” added Sawyer. “The UN, including the General Assembly, was created to preserve the rule of law and promote multilateralism. It's time the UN fully exercises its mandate and unites as a whole to defend its founding principles and stop the impending attack on Iraq, which would be the most horrific example of unilateralism. It must take this last chance for peace," he added.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.