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Open letter from NGOs to the General
2 October 2001
We are writing to express our profound concern about
Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). While some aspects of the
resolution, which was hurriedly debated and passed on September
2001, are necessary and appropriate to address terrorist acts,
of the resolution give cause for concern. We urge that the
members of the
General Assembly consider carefully the implications of resolution
and work to clarify certain aspects of the resolution.
1. Terrorism undefined invites abuse.
First among our 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
what constitutes terrorism, we are extremely concerned that the
of the resolution is vulnerable to abuse.
We are particularly concerned that parts of the resolution could be
Independent actions by states, acting singly or in concert but
the direction and command of the United Nations, against alleged
perpetrators of terrorism and/or states allegedly supporting such
(Preamble para 5 and para 3 ( c ));
Serious curtailment of civil, political and human rights of citizens
persons, in particular, refugees, immigrants and other individuals
presumed to have such status or be from targeted minority groups
(para 3 (f &
2. Justice not vengeance and war
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
justice and the rule of law. The world community is poised to usher
being, for the first time in history, an International Criminal Court.
The ultimate goal of such Court is to try the perpetrators of crimes
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 security.
History has demonstrated that to meet violence with violence rather
the rule of law perpetuates the cycle of violence. By contrast, the
hope of this new millennium is that justice can substitute for
thus break that deadly cycle. To those who committed the
attack, the authorization of a violent response is precisely the
seek. By contrast, those who condemn this barbarous act must
expectations and stand for justice, and through justice, the
of peace and respect for the rule of law.
As many of our organizations represent the rights and needs of
must insist upon the fact that the most numerous victims of war
women and children. They represent the overwhelming majority of
amassed now at the borders of Afghanistan; it is the women and
who are the majority of the civilian population murdered, raped and
otherwise brutalized in time of war. The response to such threats
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
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
- 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
- it lays emphasis on states becoming parties to, implementing
the international conventions on prevention and combating of
- it 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 minorities.
While passing resolutions aimed at maintaining or restoring
international peace and security is the primary responsibility of the
Council, it is a responsibility that must be discharged with utmost
diligence ensuring that such actions do not pose a further threat to
The United Nations was founded to save succeeding generations
'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
which will truly address this heinous form of violence and those
exacerbate and perpetuate the breach of international peace and
security. The General Assembly at crucial moments in the history
of the United
Nations has taken important steps in the absence of Security
action or to clarify counsel action. We urge all member states to
above into consideration during the debates on terrorism taking
and Tuesday, October 1-2. At this critical moment, it is necessary
General Assembly carefully reflect on its own important role in the
maintenance of international peace and security.
Women's Caucus for Gender Justice, New York . International
Human Rights Law Clinic, New York . Shirkat Gah, Women's
Pakistan . Women's International League for Peace and Freedom .
for Women's Global Leadership, U.S. . Madre, New York . Women
Muslim Laws, International Solidarity Network . Women in Black,
London . Medica Mondiale, Koeln, Germany . Women's Alliance for
Peace and Human
Rights in Afghanistan . Myla Reson, Peace Activist, Los Angeles,
S.Curt, Wendy, Caitlin, Ray Schroell, Radio4Houston.org . Radhika
Balakrishnan, Marymount Manhattan College NY, NY . Jim Krivo .
Costello, Camp Meeker, California . Gary Evans, Sonoma,
California . Maria
Pakpahan, Tjoet Njak Dien Yogyakarta, Indonesia . Giancarlo
ALCEI, Electronic Frontiers Italy . Prof. Dr. Ilse Lenz, Bochum
Germany . Greg Tzeutschler, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton,
York,NY . Jessie Davidson, Canada . Reiner Holub, Germany .
Ain o Salish Kendro (ASK) . Elizabeth Provost, Chichester NY .
Brian Hall .
Amrita Chhachhi, Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands .
Koenig, People's Movement for Human Rights Education, New
York , NY . Gloria
Frankel, Chair, Irish Section, WILPF . Diane Alley, National
Convener, UNAA Status of Women Network . Svetlana Slapsak,
Slovenia . Sigrid Shreeve, Oxford for Peace . Ana Stella Borras de
Ortiz, FUNDACION CAMINO, ARGENTINA . Laura E. Asturias,
e-zine, Guatemala . Lisa Tonarelli . Shanthi Dairiam, International
Rights Action Watch-Asia Pacific . Mta. Teresa C. Ulloa Ziaurriz,
Defenders, C.A. . Collective Struggling for Women in Jail, Mexico .
Killian, Brooklyn . Phyllis Eckhaus, New York, USA . Carolyn
Westmoreland Waller, Strathmore, CA . Jessi Roemer, NY, USA .
Green, Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights . Iraqi Al-
Association, Iraq . Jan Slakov, President, Enviro-Clare . The
National Commitee on Refugee Women (ANCORW) . Istvan
Editor Emeritus, Radio Free Europe . Irm Balogh, M.A.,
Sociologist . Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor of
Hunter College of the City University of New York . Uma Narayan,
College Madeline D. Garcia . Paul Swann, Global Peace Campaign
Macias, Equipo Nizkor . Eva Shaderowfsky, New York, USA .
Clare Nolan, NGO
Representative, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good
Shepherd, Brooklyn, NY . Penny Gray, The Oxford Stop the War
Meredith Tax, President, Women's World Organization for Rights,
Literature and Development . Keiko Spade . Kelly Askin, U.S. .
Mischowski, Germany . Yifat Susshind, MADRE,
Index page on Response to attacks in