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From wftu@login.cz Tue Oct 2 18:14:09 2001
From: WFTU <wftu@login.cz>
Subject: WFTU press release 32
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 14:01:22 +0200

U.N. General Assembly should take effective actions to counter terrorism and also to deal with humanitarian crises as well as economic and social consequences of global recession

World Federation of Trade Unions press release No. 32, 2 October 2001

The United Nations General Assembly now in session in New York is directly concerned with the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the city and the need to adopt co-ordinated steps to deal with the new security threats facing the international community. At the same time, the UN has also to deal with the acute humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and other countries as well as the onset of a global recession that aggravates the global development crisis.

The WFTU and world public opinion have strongly condemned the terrorist attacks which took place on 11 September in the US as insane and inhuman barbaric acts. It is evident that these absolutely unjustifiable criminal acts are directed not only against the United States but also against the whole international community and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter. These forces of global destabilisation can be defeated only through concerted collective action by the United Nations and all its member States, mobilising the democratic forces in all countries and in the framework of international law. In this regard, it has to be emphasised that these forces can be fought and defeated not by military force but through collective political and other actions by the international community.

The UN Secretariat and heads of UN agencies and programmes dealing with children (UNICEF), refugees (UNHCR), human rights (UNHCHR), food security (WFP), emergency co-ordination (OCHA) and development (UNDP) have warned of the possibility of a humanitarian crisis of stunning proportions in Afghanistan. They have appealed to the international community to provide assistance to this country and to keep in mind basic tenets of international law in addressing the problem of terrorism. It was pointed out that the 20 years of brutal conflict, 3 years of severe drought, large-scale human rights abuses and significant population movements spurred most recently by the present geo-political crisis have left more than 5 million civilians 96 the vast majority of them women and children 96 with a fragile grip on survival. The UN agencies stated: We urge a world wounded by the horrific and deplorable terrorist attacks of 11 September to be mindful of the principles of international humanitarian law and to take all measures to protect the civilian populations, especially the millions of children and women.

In the United States, the Student Peace Action Network, other student groups, several trade union groups and other organisations and community leaders have launched campaigns for mass anti-war rallies (a) to mourn the victims; (b) to stand together with our brothers and sisters who are victims of violence and scapegoating; and (c) defend our civil liberties and stop the drive towards war in the Middle East 96 under the banner: War and Racism are not the Answer.

The WFTU also urges the UN General Assembly to examine the economic and social consequences of the global recession and other related aspects including the recent worsening of the global social situation and the rise in unemployment caused by mass dismissals from jobs. The airline industry is in deep crisis. As the trade unions have pointed out, the affected employees are not getting social protection, even when financial assistance is given to the industry by various governments. Every effort has to be made to revive economic growth, create more jobs and create adequate resources for economic and social development.

The WFTU welcomes the action taken for lifting the sanctions imposed against Sudan, India and Pakistan and urges that all arbitrary sanctions and blockades that remain be lifted immediately. It has to be noted, however, that Israeli terrorism against the Palestinian people continues and Israel continues its stubborn stand against the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions for the withdrawal of all its troops from occupied Arab territories.

The WFTU appeals to trade unions in all countries to urge all Member States of the UN to uphold the principles of the UN Charter and ensure that the preservation of peace, respect of international law, security and human rights of the peoples remain the supreme priority tasks of the United Nations and the international community.