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Uniting for Peace - Center for Constitutional Rights


Most of the documents here are also on the Center for Constitutional Rights website, but are mostly in pdf form. For those who wish to read them in html, I've posted the texts here.

There is a Way to Stop the War


The Center for Constitutional Rights recently called upon member states of the General Assembly of the United Nations to act to avert an aggressive war with Iraq. Under a little-discussed resolution, aptly titled Uniting for Peace, when there is a stalemate among members of the Security Council regarding the use of force, the General Assembly can be convened to consider the threat to international peace and recommend collective measures to maintain or restore peace.

Description and Status

The Charter gives the UN Security Council "the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security." But long ago, the members of the United Nations recognized that due to the permanent members veto powers, impasses would occur within the Security Council. They set up a procedure for insuring that such stalemates would not prevent the UN from carrying out its mission to "maintain international peace and security." The aptly titled "Uniting for Peace" Resolution 377 was the solution to this problem. The resolution provides that, if because of the lack unanimity among permanent members of the Security Council, the Council cannot maintain international peace, the General Assembly "shall consider the matter immediately" The General Assembly can meet within 24 hours to consider such a matter and can recommend collective measures to "maintain or restore international peace and security."

CCR believes that due to the current impasse in the Security Council, Resolution 377 "Uniting for Peace" should be used to require that no military action be taken against Iraq without the explicit authority of the Security Council. It could also mandate that the inspection regime be permitted to complete its inspections. We believe it unlikely that the United States and Britain would ignore such a measure. A vote by the majority of countries in the world, particularly if it were unanimous, would make the unilateral rush to war more difficult. A letter has been circulated to activists around the world to encourage them to contact their UN representatives to call for a special session under the "Uniting For Peace" resolution.


From the Center for Constitutional Rights
666 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 U.S.A.
Tel 212.614.6464 Fax 212.614.6499


Dear Friend:

We are writing you to ask for your help in a very important action. We hope to create a movement in support of the adoption of a Uniting for Peace Resolution by the United Nations General Assembly to prevent an attack on Iraq by the United States, the United Kingdom and other nations. If even one country requests such a meeting, that alone can trigger this procedure.

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 GA will come together to discuss the threat to international peace. We are hoping to find the requisite support for the convening of such a session.

The United States and the United Kingdom have become increasingly vocal about their willingness to use force against Iraq without explicit Security Council authorization. Because of the veto power of these two countries, the Security Council will be stymied in its responsibility to maintain international peace and security in the Persian Gulf. In these circumstances, the General Assembly has the right and indeed the responsibility to assume this duty.

For your information and use, please see the following materials:

(1) A U.N. Alternative to War: "Uniting for Peace", an Op-Ed written by Michael Ratner and Jules Lobel <> and in html at <>,

(2) a draft of a possible General Assembly "Uniting for Peace" resolution <>, and

(3) a draft of a possible letter that a Permanent Representative from any U.N. Member State could send to the Secretary-General to initiate the process <>.

We urge you to contact your U.N. representative (see contact information below), other members of your government, and other governments to request that they write to the Secretary-General to call for an emergency special session under the Uniting for Peace Resolution.

Please also circulate these materials to other groups and individuals and encourage them to do the same.

_ _ _ _ _


1) Another article in support of this action:
CounterPunch - March 5, 2003
What Can the World Do if the US Attacks Iraq?
by Jeremy Brecher -

2) UN General Assembly Resolution 377 "Uniting for Peace" Full Official Text- <>

_ _ _ _ _


A center of this campaign, based on activist John Leonard's organizing work <>, includes a list of 200 addresses of UN Missions in New York. Faxes are probably even more effective, and Leonard provides a list of fax numbers of UN missions at <>. On <> he even explains clearly how to "broadcast" a one-page fax to every country's UN representative for about $11 (or personalize it for about $22) via Efax Broadcast at <> .

If you can only do a few messages, probably France, Russia and China are good prospects. Here is contact information for all the members of the Security Council.



5 Members with VETO Power

USA Phone: (212) 415-4000 E-Mail: Fax: (212) 415-4443

France Phone: (212) 308-5700 E-Mail: Fax: (212) 421-6889
or (212) 207-9765

Britain Phone: (212) 745-9250 E-Mail Fax: (212) 745-9316

China Phone: (212) 655-6100 E-Mail Fax: (212)

Russia Phone: (212) 861-4900 E-Mail Fax: (212) 628-0252


"The Middle Six," votes undecided, countries under extraordinary pressure
to comply with the USA.

Cameroon Phone: (212) 794-2296 E-Mail Fax: (212)

Guinea Phone: (212) 687-8115 E-Mail Fax: (212) 687-8248

Mexico Phone: (212) 752-0220 E-Mail Fax: (212) 688-8862

Angola Phone: (212) 861-5656 E-Mail Fax: (212)

Chile Phone: (212) 832-3323 E-Mail Fax: (212) 832-0236

Pakistan Phone: (212) 879-8600 E-Mail Fax: (212) 744-7348


Against USA resolution:

Germany Phone: (212) 940-0400 E-Mail Fax: (212)

Syria Phone: (212) 661-1313 E-Mail Fax: (212) 983-4439


For USA resolution:

Bulgaria Phone: (212) 737-4790 E-Mail: Fax: (212) 472-9865

Spain Phone: (212) 661-1050 E-Mail Fax: (212) 949-7247

Draft Letter to U.N. Secretary General


Center for Constitutional Rights Draft Letter to Secretary General Requesting Emergency Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly to Consider "UNITING FOR PEACE" Resolution


Letter dated XX March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of XXXX to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General


We are becoming increasingly concerned by the escalation in Member States' military forces in the Gulf and the continuing threat by the United States and the United Kingdom to use force against Iraq without resorting to the U.N. Security Council.

We also note that stalemate now exists amongst members of the Security Council with respect to the use of force against Iraq and the Council's resulting inability to effectively maintain international peace and security in the region.

We believe that the actions of certain Member States, in particular the United States and United Kingdom, now pose an imminent threat to international peace and security. It is also possible, we believe, that should these Member States resort to the use of force they will do so in violation of international law, including Security Council resolution 1441.

In these circumstances, we consider that an emergency special session of the General Assembly should be convened pursuant to its resolution 377 A (V) of 3 November 1950, entitled "Uniting for Peace", to consider "The Threat of Member States to Use Force Against Iraq."

Accordingly, and in my capacity as Permanent Representative of the XXXXX to the United Nations, I request that an emergency special session of the General Assembly be convened pursuant to resolution 377 A (V), entitled "Uniting for Peace", in order to consider this important matter.

I will be grateful if you would initiate the necessary procedures for the convening of this emergency special session.



Draft Uniting for Peace Resolution


The General Assembly,

CALLING TO MIND the United Nation's fundamental goal since its founding to work towards international peace and security and to end aggressive war, and especially article 2(4) of the UN Charter which demands that, "states shall refrain in their international relations from the threat of use or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,"

RECALLING its resolution 377(A) (1950) entitled "Uniting for Peace," which "resolves that if the Security Councilfails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security 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 with a view to making appropriate recommendation to Members for collective measures,"

RECOGNIZING that ten emergency sessions have been called under the auspices of resolution 377(A) since its adoption and that those sessions have contributed towards pacification of violent or possibly violent situations,

CONVINCED that each Member State has an obligation as a UN Member to work to maintain international peace and security,

MINDFUL of the long history of Security Council resolutions about the situation in Iraq, which date back to the invasion of Kuwait in 1991, including resolution 661 (1990), 678 (1990), resolution 687 (1991), resolution 688 (1991), resolution 707 (1991), resolution 986 (1995), resolution 1154 (1998), and resolution 1284 (1999),

NOTING WITH REGRET Iraq's refusal to comply with the first weapons inspection regime after 1998,

CONSCIOUS of the recent attention to the situation in Iraq and the consequent renewal of weapons inspections in Iraq,

RECALLING especially Security Council resolution 1441, which called for immediate reinstatement of weapons inspections and complete Iraqi compliance,

RECALLING further the joint statement issued by Security Council Members, France, China, and Russia in concert with the adoption of resolution 1441 that further UN approval would be required before military action would be legal,

BEARING IN MIND the request of Hans Blix, chief United Nations inspector for chemical and biological weapons, and Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, director of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, for several more months to finish the inspections,

EXPRESSING ITS GRAVE CONCERN at the most recent developments with regards to Iraq and their implications for international peace and security,

EXPRESSING FURTHER CONCERN about the proposed use of force by certain Member States in spite of these findings,

AWARE of the build-up of military forces by the United States, the United Kingdom and other Member States in the Iraq area,

HAVING HEARD the statement by the United States Ambassador to the UN that he believes that resolution 1441 "does not constrain any Member State from acting to defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq, or to enforce relevant UN resolutions,"

NOTING that United States President Bush has stated his intention to forcibly disarm Saddam Hussein even without obtaining an additional Security Council resolution,

NOTING that officials of the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have stated that they may use force against Iraq without an additional Security Council resolution,

NOTING that the Security Council is unable to adopt a resolution preventing the use of force against Iraq because of the exercise of the veto by some of the Council's permanent Members,

NOTING that Security Council resolution 1441 does not authorize the use of force against Iraq,

NOTING that certain Member States have indicated that they will bypass the Security Council in using force against Iraq,

CONVINCED therefore that the Security Council because of lack of unanimity of the permanent Members cannot exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in a case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression,

1. REAFFIRMS the right of the people of Iraq to human rights in accordance with the Charter, including the right to determine their own future and form of government;

2. REAFFIRMS that territorial integrity is a fundamental principle of the Charter of the UN, and any violation of that principle is contrary to the Charter;

3. REITERATES the intentions and strategies approved by the Security Council in its resolution 1441;

4. DECLARES that military action against Iraq without a Security Council resolution authorizing such action is contrary to the UN Charter and customary international law;

5. CALLS UPON Iraq to comply fully with the UNMOVIC weapons inspections regime;

6. DEPLORES the latest attempts by certain Security Council Members to undermine the international consensus achieved in Security Council resolution 1441(2002);

7. CONDEMNS any use of force against Iraq without Security Council approval;

8. URGES the United States, the United Kingdom and other Member States to act according to their obligations under the principles of the Charter and international law, and therefore to not employ force against Iraq without Security Council approval;

9. CALLS UPON Member States to act in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter especially by respecting state sovereignty and the principle of non-aggression;

10. REQUESTS Member States to cooperate fully in the carrying out of this resolution;

11. REQUESTS the Secretary-General to keep Member States informed as to the progress of the implementation of this resolution.


MICHAEL RATNER 212-243-3805/
STEVEN WATT 212-614-6430/