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Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 22:22:00 -0500 (CDT)
From: rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Human rights must outweigh sovereignty, says Annan
Article: 77247
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.7802.19990922091615@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

/** reg.easttimor: 3090.0 **/
** Topic: Human rights must outweigh sovereignty, says Annan **
** Written 8:36 PM Sep 20, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Human rights must outweigh sovereignty, says Annan

Human rights must outweigh sovereignty, says Annan

South China Morning Post. Tuesday 21 September 1999

Citing rights beyond borders, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday the United Nations must intervene over the rights of sovereign states when necessary to protect civilians from war and mass slaughter.

Mr Annan, drawing on the lessons of Rwanda and Kosovo, told the 54th General Assembly its core challenge next century was to forge unity behind the principle that massive and systematic violations of human rights - wherever they occur - should not be allowed to stand.

He was speaking at the start of two weeks of speeches by the heads of state or government of almost 65 countries and by the foreign ministers of more than 120 others.

Mr Annan's theme was picked up by French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin but disputed by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, speaking for the Organisation of African Unity.

Mr Jospin said: The United Nations' mission . . . extends to defending human dignity within each state and where necessary - as the [UN] Charter permits - against states.

The French Prime Minister said the UN Security Council must retain prime authority over all intervention, even if humanitarian emergencies occasionally required an exception, as in Kosovo.

Mr Bouteflika challenged the trend towards intervention in internal conflicts in the name of human rights, saying it often ignored the economic and social roots of such crises.

He said intervention should occur only with the consent of the state in question not only because sovereignty is our final defence against the rules of an unequal world but because we are not taking part in the decision-making process by the Security Council.

Mr Annan contrasted the concepts of state and individual sovereignty.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, he said, will define for our generation the consequences of inaction in the face of mass murder.

The dilemma for the international community was what to do in cases such as Kosovo, where there had been no consensus for intervention.

Mr Annan's reply was that strictly traditional notions of sovereignty can no longer do justice to the aspirations of peoples everywhere to attain their fundamental freedoms.

There was nothing in the UN Charter to preclude a recognition that there are rights beyond borders.

He emphasised that intervention did not necessarily mean the use of military force, which is itself a result of the failure of prevention.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia urged that humanitarian intervention be equally applied.

He contrasted the response of the Security Council in East Timor with its inaction in Angola, where war has resumed.