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Annan urges States to unite in support of international law

Annan urges States to unite in support of international law

The world's States must unite and strengthen their commitment to upholding international law and defending the principles of the United Nations Charter, or risk giving "the enemies of order and human rights" a victory, Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned today.

In a message delivered by his aide to the Third Forum for Debate on the "The Role of the UN in the 21st Century and the Primacy of International Law," held in Salamanca, Spain, Mr. Annan urged nations to make the UN a more effective vehicle for responding to global threats.

Last year Mr. Annan appointed a High-Level Panel of eminent persons to examine the biggest threats and challenges facing the world, and to suggest what reforms of the UN are necessary to better respond to the threats.

Mr. Annan said that over the past 10 years, while the international community has become less willing to tolerate large-scale human rights abuses, it has been divided on how to deal with such global threats as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

If such divisions continue, the Secretary-General warned, this "could result in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force, with or without justification."

Mr. Annan said it was vital to strengthen the institutions in place to enforce international law, citing the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an example and urging countries that have not ratified its Statute to do so.

"To weaken our commitment to international law would be to hand the enemies of order and human rights a victory that they cannot achieve on their own," he cautioned.

The message to the Salamanca forum was delivered on his behalf by Alvaro de Soto, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Western Sahara.