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Letter to all member states of the United

Sep 30, 2001 05:19 PM
by Pendragon

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2001 10:03 PM
Subject: [change-links] URGENT ACTION Re: General Assembly Meeting

In a message dated 9/29/01 11:35:44 PM Eastern
Daylight Time

Dear friends,

We would like to inform you of a matter of
extreme importance and urgency.
As many of you know by now, the Security Council
of the United Nations
quickly adopted a resolution no. 1373 (2001)
which requires all states to
take sweeping measures to 'combat' terrorism and
opens the door to the use of
force as one means of doing so. The text of this
resolution can be found at

While passing resolutions aimed at maintaining
or restoring international
peace and security is the primary responsibility
of the Security Council, it
is a responsibility that must be discharged with
utmost care and diligence
ensuring that such actions do not pose a further
threat to the international

While some aspects of the current Security
Council resolution are
commendable and will go a long way in dealing
with terrorism, there are other
aspects which have the potential to cause further
threats to international

One alarming aspect of the resolution is that
terrorism is not defined for
purposes of the resolution which mandates
sweeping measures to combat
terrorism. On the issue of the lack of a
consensus about what terrorism is,
Britain's UN Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock simply
said: ``for most of the
time, if something looks like a terrorist and
makes a noise like a terrorist,
it's a terrorist - and we now know what to do
about it in terms of what we
set out in this resolution.''

Another matter of concern is the manner in which
this resolution was passed.
Since the September 11, 2001 attack on the WTC
and the Pentagon, the United
Nations has heightened security around its
building. NGO access to the
building is restricted. As such there was no
presence of civil society to
know what was going on and intervene in the
process. Some who had
information on the impending resolution
understood the resolution would be
passed on Monday Oct.1, 2001.

However, the resolution was hurriedly passed on
Friday evening. Clearly,
the US wanted the full support and backing of the
United Nations to any
actions or use of force against any states they
claim to be responsible for
the September 11, 2001.

A high-level debate on terrorism is scheduled IN
the General Assembly on
Monday and Tuesday October 1-2, 2001. In light of
this rushed resolution by
the Security Council, it is now even more
important that states hear from
people from their respective countries of the
danger some of the language of
the Security Council poses to international peace
and security and of its
potential interpretation to seriously curtail
civil, political and human
rights of asylum seekers, refugees and other
members of minority groups

We reproduce below a statement that we plan to
send by email and/or fax to
member states of the United Nations by evening of
September 30, 2001. We
ask you to either sign on to this letter or draft
your own with a few points
as bottom line i.e. danger of Security Council
sanction of use of force to
combat terrorism, urge primacy of rule of law and
resolution of international
issues through justice and courts of law. We ask
that you send the letter to
your government mission at the United Nations and
to all fifteen members of
the Security Council.

The contact information of the members of the
Security Council is reproduced
below. You will find the email address of your
government missions at New
York and Geneva at
We further ask
that you send this urgent action alert to
networks in your own countries to
generate as many individuals and organizations to
send emails to your
respective missions.

Through these actions we hope to get governments
to qualify the Security
Council resolution so as not to interpret the
resolution as a sanction for
any states to use force unilaterally to combat


Letter to all member states of the United

While some aspects of Security Council
resolution 1373 (2001), which was
hurriedly debated and passed on September 28,
2001, are necessary and
appropriate to address terrorist acts, certain
aspects of the resolution give
cause for concern.

First among those concerns is that the
resolution details sweeping measures
to combat terrorism without defining what
terrorism is. In light of the
differing opinions among the international
community as to what constitutes
terrorism, we are extremely concerned that the
open-endedness of the
resolution is vulnerable to abuse. Further, we
are concerned that parts of
the resolution could be used to justify:

 Independent actions by states, acting singly
or in concert but outside the
direction and command of the United Nations,
against alleged perpetrators of
terrorism and/or states allegedly supporting such
acts (Preamble para 5 and
para 3 ( c ));

 Serious curtailment of civil, political and
human rights of citizens and
persons, in particular, refugees, immigrants and
other individuals presumed
to have such status or be from targeted minority
groups (para 3 (f & g)).

A critical question -- for which history will
hold the United Nations
accountable and judge the efficacy of its
mission--is whether the world
community will endorse the use of force rather
than the processes of justice
and the rule of law. The world community is
poised to usher into being, for
the first time in history, an International
Criminal Court. The ultimate
goal of such Court is to try the perpetrators of
crimes against humanity and
other international crimes. The approval of the
Rome Treaty and the speed
with which states are ratifying that treaty
attests to the importance of
substituting justice for force as a primary means
to ensure peace and

History has demonstrated that to meet violence
with violence rather than the
rule of law perpetuates the cycle of violence.
By contrast, the hope of this
new millennium is that justice can substitute for
violence and thus break
that deadly cycle. To those who committed the
September 11 attack, the
authorization of a violent response is precisely
the victory they seek. By
contrast, those who condemn this barbarous act
must defy those expectations
and stand for justice, and through justice, the
restoration of peace and
respect for the rule of law.

As an organization that represents the rights
and needs of women, we must
insist upon the fact that the most numerous
victims of war are the women and
children. They represent the overwhelming
majority of those amassed now at
the borders of Afghanistan; it is the women and
children who are the majority
of the civilian population murdered, raped and
otherwise brutalized in time
of war.

The response to such threats as represented by
September 11 must give
primacy to the rule of law and be vested in an
international body such as the
United Nations and not in individual nations or
collectivities of nations.
We therefore call on the members of the General
Assembly to set precedents in
the interpretation of the Security Council
resolution 1373 (2001) and pass a
declaration qualifying the interpretation of the
Security Council resolution
as follows:

 it does not sanction the use of force and
repressive measures to combat
 it primarily seeks justice in international
and domestic courts for acts
of international terrorism
 it calls upon states to be guided by
principles and processes of
international law in their pursuit of justice,
including the detailing of
charges, the issuance of international warrants
and requests for extradition,
the arrest of the accused and the provision of
due process
 it lays emphasis on states becoming parties
to, implementing and using
the international conventions on prevention and
combating of terrorism
. emphasizes the need to ensure that all
actions taken to identify, prevent
and punish terrorism are consistent with the
protection of political and
civil rights, including the prevention of
discrimination and protection of

While passing resolutions aimed at maintaining
or restoring international
peace and security is the primary responsibility
of the Security Council, it
is a responsibility that must be discharged with
utmost care and diligence
ensuring that such actions do not pose a further
threat to the international

The United Nations was founded to save
succeeding generations from the
'scourge of war.' In carrying out its
responsibilities to maintain or restore
international peace and security at this moment
in time, the Security Council
must find the appropriate balance between
measures which will truly address
this heinous form of violence and those which
will exacerbate and perpetuate
the breach of international peace and security.

The General Assembly at crucial moments in the
history of the United Nations
has take important steps in the absence of
Security Council action or clarify
counsel action. We urge all member states to
take the above into
consideration during the debates on terrorism
taking place Monday and
Tuesday, October 1-2. At this critical moment, it
is necessary that the
General Assembly carefully reflect on its own
important role in the
maintenance of international peace and security.


-International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic,
New York
-Women's Caucus for Gender Justice, New York

# # #

Contact Information for Security Counsel Members
(email addresses listed
when available)

tel:212-826-0840/0841 fax: 212-826-2964

Tunisia - tel: 212-751-7503/7534 fax:

Ukraine - -tel
212-759-7003 fax:212-355-9455

United Kingdom - tel:
212-745-9200 fax:

United States -
tel:212-415-4000 fax:

tel: 212-867-3434/212-972-1267 fax: 212-972-4038

tel: 212-655-6100

tel: 212-335-7776 fax: 212-371-2813

tel: 212-308-5700 fax: 212-421-6889

Ireland-tel: 212-421-6934 fax: 212-752-4726

Jamaica-tel:212-935-7509 fax: 212-935-7607

Mali-tel: 212-737-4150/794-1311 fax:

Mauritius-tel: 212-949-0190/0191 fax:

Norway-tel: 212-421-0280/0281 fax: 212-688-0554

Russian Federation-tel: 212-861-4900/4901 fax:

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