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[casi] Robert Fisk March 14/UN Resolution 377

In the text of UN Resolution 377, which Robert Fisk quotes in his
article, are the following paragraphs (in Section E):

"The General Assembly...

"14. Is fully conscious that, in adopting the proposals set forth above,
enduring peace will not be secured solely by collective security
arrangements against breaches of international peace and acts of
aggression, but that a genuine and lasting peace depends also upon the
observance of all the Principles and Purposes es-tablished in the
Charter of the United Nations, upon the implementation of the
resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly and other
principal organs of the United Nations intended to achieve the
maintenance of international peace and security, and especially upon
respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for
all and on the establishment and maintenance of conditions of economic
and social well-being in all countries; and accordingly

"15. Urges Member States to respect fully, and to intensify, joint
action, in co-operation with the United Nations, to develop and
stimulate universal respect for and observance of human rights and
fundamental freedoms, and to intensify individual and collective efforts
to achieve conditions of economic stability and social progress,
particularly through development of under-developed countries and

I don't know anything about international law, but, on the face of it,
there appears to be a case for some of the following:

- for NGOs and others supplying medicines and other necessities to Iraqi
people, especially if those doing so are from 2 or more UN member
countries acting jointly, to continue to break the sanctions, quoting
Resolution 377 (one bit of UN law at odds with another?)

- for Iraqi citizens to take legal action against those who have caused
their current dire conditions (a class action?)

- for Iraqi citizens to take legal action after the war, if it happens,
against the US/any other countries who attack their country.

Did this resolution form the basis for having UN peacekeepers, and for
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Where should we look if so
for the final wording?

We implement some of the more crazy bits of International law (men being
told to wear a tie is discrimination, for example) - surely someone has
got the money to support an action which is really important.


In message <002f01c2eab2$958b2e40$>, ppg
<> writes
>[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]
>  Robert Fisk: The forgotten power of the General Assembly
>  14 March 2003
>  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
>  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 we are
>told by George Bush Junior 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
>Soviet veto at the time of the Korean conflict, and actually used at the time
>  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
>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 White House – and readers of The Independent, and perhaps a few UN
>officials – can look up the 377 resolution at
>  If Mr Bush takes a look, he probably wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry.
>But today the General Assembly – dead dog as we have all come to regard it –
>might just be the place for the world to cry: Stop. Enough. -- Rbt Fisk
>Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Cathy Aitchison

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