A Letter to UNSG on Peace and the Illegality of War

Posted on 27th June 2015 in Peace, Peace Pedagogy, Practice, Theory
by h. Gibrain

Dear Mr Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

I write to you as a brother in humanity and to implore you to exploit your privileged position as Secretary General of the United Nations to promote and extend the principles and practices of peace as a formal discipline for civil societies at large – beyond the normal scope of the traditional means and mechanisms of the United Nations. During this time of intensifying global conflict and violence there is an equally pressing need for a more coherent and broader reaching education in conflict transformation, the prevention of armed international conflict and the illegality of war. To satisfy those needs there needs to be a corresponding transformation in some of structures, principles and practices of those entities which serves as stewards and enforcers of peace – the United Nations being the preeminent body established towards that end.

When the function of a body and its collective organs do not properly carry out their function it is time to evaluate the structural flaws that lead to that dysfunctionality. While there are numerous reforms to consider regarding potential structural changes of the UN and its organizations, I wish to offer the following change and addition to the United Nations which I believe would have a profound impact on global political affairs and the level of violence perpetrated around the world by governments for purposes beyond that of self defense.

The basis for this change comes, in fact, from the very name of the United Nations. Nations are, essentially, ethnic communities and the United Nations is in fact not a collective of nations but a collective of states. Thus, the very name itself suggests that their should be a representation of nations at the United Nations – a collective of organizations made up of the world’s ethnic communities and civil societies that can express and exercise their will and intentions through a voice at the United Nations. Some of the impediments to the United Nations carrying out its mandate may be countered by these voices.

Perhaps the first international treaty to incorporate an extensive consensus on the fact that war was not the answer to international conflict was the Kellogg-Briand Pact – essentially outlawing war as recourse to settle international disputes. It was this very principle from which the United Nations eventually emerged – as espoused in Article I of the UN Charter. These principles have been violated by parties to these contracts. That those parties who are the perpetrators of great violence have a voice at the United Nations and the nations who are affected in the gravest of ways have no voice at the United Nations needs to change.

The United Nations, and particularly the role of the Secretary General, can play a crucial role in the promotion of the principles and practices of peace by advocating for, and exercising the full extent of its authority, the implementation of new structures at the UN which will give a voice to the nations of the world – the respective civil societies of the United Nations. Representation – having a voice at the UN, however, is not enough. These voices must be educated in the principles and practices of peace. The United Nations can expand its role as an educational vehicle to inform nations of what I will characterize, for the sake of brevity, as a brutal history necessitating the formulation of what is, essentially, international law. Additionally, the principles and practices of conflict transformation which transcend the traditional role to the United Nations as peace keeper and peace maker can be incorporated into the practices of UN and be disseminated through an expanded UN education system.

The creation of representation for true nations, “member nations” at the United Nations, along with the respective expanded role of education in Peace Studies is one of the many steps that can be taken to further promote international peace and support the main goal of the United Nations to uphold what, essentially, so many states have agreed upon but themselves do not adhere to: war as a means to settle international disputes is illegal. The United Nations is the entity which should create this body so that it stands on an equal footing with the member states and, therefore, has its legitimacy as a true representation of the will of the nations of Earth.

You, Mr. Secretary General, hold the highest political office representing the international collective of human life on Earth and have the power and authority to promote and support the implementation of these additions which will have a profound effect on transforming the increasing level of violence throughout the world into something moving the geopolitical landscape towards a more just and equitable enforcement of the principles of peace based on the illegality of war.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing your reflections and interest in such a reformation.


In Solidarity,


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