Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 31, 2002
Rebuild the United Nations, says Roche
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Just as the United Nations was constructed during the dark days of the Second World War, so too must the rebuilding of the UN be started during the Iraq war.
This is what Senator Douglas Roche told the WCR, in a March 24 telephone interview.
"There is no time to lose. We want to have a world in which we can be confident that the processes of international law that are embedded in the UN charter will be respected," Roche stressed.
This war in Iraq is not a just war and those who bring spiritual value to the struggle for peace, development and justice in the world need to stand up now and be counted, said the senator from Edmonton, who was the founding editor of the WCR.
Canada must take a leading role in restoring the authority of the UN, in the development of international law and in making the multilateral system work.
Canadians need also to help in the alleviation of humanitarian disaster, the senator said. "I congratulate the Canadian government for staying out of the war. They made a correct and a courageous decision to stay out of the war."
But Roche is convinced "that it's not good enough just to stay out" of it.
"We must be proactive, first in helping the people affected by the war; second, in helping the UN to restore its credibility and authority."
Roche thinks the peace marches held March 22 in 2,000 cities, attended by an estimated 10 million people, are good manifestations of public opinion.
"I think that is a development of a civil society, taking a stand and determining that it wants to have a peaceful resolution of conflict and not resort to war."
"I see this as a beginning of a turn in public mind against war."
During the first and second world wars and the Korean War, people went to war and society didn't think much of it, noted Roche, Canada's former disarmament ambassador.
"It was the thing to do. But now it was not the thing to do. Now we have the apparatus (to avert war) - the UN."
The people have to put confidence in the multilateral institutions and make them work, so the world will be able to withstand the pressure of governments unilaterally withdrawing from them.
"We're not there yet, we have a long way to go in our journey through history."
Roche has a forthcoming book, The Human Right to Peace.