UN: Security Council resolution 1373 to combat terrorism

This is an URGENT request for you to endorse a letter circulated today by the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice for the International Criminal Court (ICC), New York. Sign on by MONDAY 1st October 10 am NY time or fax on MONDAY directly to Security Council members.
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: www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/sc7158.doc.htm.

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 community.

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 peace.

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 internationally.

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 above. You will find the email address of your government missions at New York and Geneva at:
www.reachingcriticalwill.org/govcontacts/govindex.html.

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 terrorism.
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Women's Caucus for Gender Justice
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caucus@iccwomen.org
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Women's Caucus for Gender Justice