Kofi Annan is speaking now. He says that terrorism is a direct attack on human rights and the rule of law. If we destroy human rights and rule of law in the response to terrorism, they have won. Many responses to terrorism, even by those among members of the UN damage human rights. Upholding human rights is not merely compatible with fighting terrorism, it is essential. He is going to work on UN guidelines to responding to terrorism while following International human rights guidelines.

UPDATE: full text of speech. via Alvy

12 Comments

We do not need to argue whether States can be guilty of terrorism, because deliberate use of armed force by States against civilians is already clearly prohibited under international law. As for the right to resist occupation, it must be understood in its true meaning. It cannot include the right to deliberately kill or maim civilians.

Interesting. It almost sounds like he's giving some legitimacy to the actions of Iraqi resisters who only target military hard targets (the secular and nationalist resistance).

Now if only GWBush were listening... But of course, he's probably not listening. Along with the entire US legislature. This is exactly the type of thing that the US government needs to hear, but instead they are overly concerned with their religion.

He could start by ending UN recognition of the PA until they renounce terrorism; maybe some action instead of this meaningless blather would show resulst

Too bad Annan's UN doesn't consider 300,000 dead and 2 million displaced in Darfur, Sudan neither genocide nor terrorism. They have called it a crime against humanity, but have failed to do anything to help the people there.

I guess some people's human rights are more worthwhile to hold up than others.

And, inversely, not respecting human rights in the first place, breeds "terrorists".
("terrorists" are people who share their terror with those who inflict it upon them in the first place... "push comes to shove" as they say. action/reaction, cause/effect...)

Scott, are YOU listening?

How in the world can we trust Kofi Annan after the Oil for Food scam?

On top of that, this coming from an organization that really has no teeth.

Lastly, when will others realize that dealing with terrorism is not a law enforcement matter.

Obviously Mr. Annan hasn't seen some of the head chopping occuring in Iraq.

Once I had a private conversation with a head of a NGO. He told me that 70% of the UN's costs are administrative! Also when I was in high school, I represented Saudi Arabia and Madagascar in mock debates. After the Model United Nations conference in NYC and meeting ambassadors, I felt very dissapointed and jaded with diplomacy.

I met americans here, like a guy in a bar, who loves to bash the U.N. Like a reader commented, how can the UN have authority if the country that seats it has no respect and recognition of it's authority, mandates, or resolutions?

[Chomper](7) : "How in the world can we trust Kofi Annan after the Oil for Food scam?"

Are you implying that nothing Mr.Annan has to say will ever hold any relevance or meaning henceforth? If it bothers you a lot, why not block out the fact that Annan said it and concentrate on WHAT it is that he said. Attack the *substance* of his speech instead of blindly refusing to pay heed to it simply because Annan or the UN was the source?

"Lastly, when will others realize that dealing with terrorism is not a law enforcement matter."

Now that you've emphatically stated what it is NOT, why not take the next step and tell us what you think it IS about?

The UN has a dismal record when it comes to enforcing or trying to enforce its own haphazard resolutions.

The shame of a scandal much bigger than Enron and Worldcom combined is insignificant next to the UN's bloodier failures.

It really is too bad how much the scandal has undermined the weight of Kofi Annan's statements. However, the speech was excellent and as Nev points out, it's an incredibly important message and one that I think resonated with everyone there. The substance of the speech was great.

Andi wrote @10:
The shame of a scandal much bigger than Enron and Worldcom combined is insignificant next to the UN's bloodier failures.
Enron once had a US$ 80 Billion market capitalization, which kind of vanished, with "some" negative impact on the pension plans of a lot of people, including Enron employees. Enron's auditor, Arthur Andersen, is also now history. Worldcom's market cap collapsed form $190 Bn to about $7 Bn. Combine Enron and Worldcom, and we're presumably talking about a pretty sizable financial event.

Anyway, Andi, I'm intrigued about what kind of scandal took place within the UN, with its annual operating budget of about US$ 2 Bn. Would you care to elaborate ?

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