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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 28, 2003
9:48 AM
CONTACT:  MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Organization
Sarah Widmer, (212) 627-0444 email:madre@madre.org
Women's Organizations Worldwide Urge General Assembly to "Unite for Peace"
 
NEW YORK - March 28 - International women's organizations, including MADRE, Women of Color Resource Center, Center for Women's Global Leadership, and the International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic, today joined other women's organizations worldwide as they called on the member states of the United Nations General Assembly to enact an emergency application of UN Resolution 377 ("Uniting for Peace") to stop the US-led bombing of Iraq and protect Iraqi civilians.

Uniting for Peace provides that in the event of a "threat to the peace or act of aggression," which the Security Council does not counter, the General Assembly "shall consider the matter immediately." The Assembly can recommend collective measures, including the use of armed forces, to member states to "maintain or restore international peace and security."

This action follows a recent call in New Delhi made by women's organizations from over 35 countries condemning the Bush Administration's war against Iraq and urging the General Assembly to challenge US aggression. The organizations also condemn the Bush Administration's attempts to undermine the United Nations, which have been reported in the Chilean newspaper, La Tercera, and other sources. According to those reports, the US has issued a warning to the 191 UN member states, demanding that the General Assembly not convene an emergency session to address the US attack on Iraq.

In their open letter to the UN General Assembly, the group of organizations stated, "The bribery and bullying that the Bush Administration calls diplomacy reflects its brazen contempt for democracy both in the US and abroad. Bush has claimed that the United Nations would render itself irrelevant if it did not submit to his demands. But as the decrepit state of the US Democratic Party reveals, it is those who collude with illegitimate power that render themselves irrelevant. Meanwhile, the resolve of many UN member states to stand firm against the US, reinforced by the call to enact Uniting for Peace, offer hope for a revitalized international system better able to fulfill the United Nation's founding mission to 'save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.'"

The groups first issued the call to enact Uniting for Peace on September 12, 2002, when Bush declared, in a speech at the United Nations, his intent to escalate hostilities against Iraq. Since then, the threat posed by his Administration to the people of Iraq, and indeed, to the people of the world, has mushroomed. The world now faces a nuclear-armed religious fundamentalist who, according to journalists who have interviewed him extensively, believes that he was placed in the White House by God to carry out a divine mission. With Bush's doctrine of preventive war justifying an attack against any country that he claims is a threat to present or future US interests, the world is his target. The Bush Administration is indeed a grave threat to international peace and security and must be challenged by a multi-lateral effort aimed at protecting the principles and practices of international cooperation and the rule of law. The organizations made the following declarations to the General Assembly:

* "We therefore reiterate our call on the United Nations General Assembly to convene an emergency session to enact United Nations resolution 377, Uniting for Peace to halt the US-led bombing and protect the human rights of Iraqi civilians.

* "We condemn the Bush Administration's plan to sideline UN relief agencies and turn Iraq's reconstruction into a bonanza for US-based corporations. We urge the General Assembly to address the issue of reconstruction and to guarantee the social and economic rights of Iraqi women and their families in the reconstruction process."

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