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UNSC Asked To Ensure Force Is The Last Resort

Iraq: Secretary General asks UN Security Council to ensure that force is the last resort

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

24 September 2002 MDE 14/010/2002

As the Security Council debates a new resolution on Iraq, Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International has today written to all members of the Security Council urging them to ensure that every effort is made to resolve the present situation through peaceful means.

The full text of the letter follows:

To all members of the SC

As the Security Council debates a new resolution on Iraq I am writing to urge you to put the protection of human rights and humanitarian concerns for the life and safety of the Iraqi population at the forefront of your deliberations.

Among the measures some Council members are discussing is resort to armed force. Chapter VII of the UN Charter provides the framework for measures to be employed by the Council to give effect to its decisions. It includes provision for resort to armed force as a last resort after all measures to resolve the situation through peaceful means have been explored and found to be inadequate. Resort to military force is likely to lead to further devastating consequences for large numbers of the Iraqi population already crippled by severe violations by their government and the effect of economic sanctions. I urge the Security Council to carefully consider such consequences in its deliberations on any resort to force to ensure that every effort is made to resolve the situation through peaceful means.

Furthermore, in Amnesty International's experience, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law invariably accompany resort to military force. The UN Charter gives the promotion and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms central place as one of the purposes of the United Nations. IT must be never forgotten that UN was created to preserve peace and promote human rights.

Yours sincerely

Irene Khan Secretary General Amnesty International


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